Five top resources for Scottish emigration and immigration records


23 May 2022
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Find ancestors who emigrated from Scotland with this round-up of five top resources from FamilySearch.

Did your ancestors emigrate from Scotland to start a new life in a different country?

Wherever in the world they ended up, you can start to find out more about their life in Scotland, why they might have decided to emigrate, how they travelled to their new homeland and where they settled.

The below five resources, from FamilySearch's 'emigration and immigration guide' here has plenty of ideas to get you started.

n.b. most of the below resources require you to have a FamilySearch account, and you can sign-up free of charge at FamilySearch.

1 E-book: record of emigrants from England & Scotland to North Carolina, 1774-75 at FamilySearch. Edited by A.R. Newsome, the text is reprinted from the 1934 North Carolina Historical Review. A useful introduction explains the context of this emigration and then moves onto a list of emigrants with their:

  • name
  • age
  • occupation
  • home town

2 New York passenger arrival lists, Ellis Island (1892-1924) - passenger lists, particularly before 1880, can be rare but this useful list covers a good span of decades. You can search the 245 pages of results with name, place or year. If you do find an ancestor listed, you can discover the port they sailed from, date of the journey, name of the ship and more. Explore here.

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3 The Immigrant Ancestors Project is a useful website run by the Center for Family History and Genealogy. At this ongoing database, student interns gather emigrant records from repositories throughout Europe, then bring them back to the project team at Brigham Young University (BYU). The contents are then extracted and verified by BYU student researchers before being added to the database. You can search by name, year, keyword or archive.

4 UK maritime births, marriages and deaths (1787-1933) is a FamilySearch collection that will help you identify an ancestor who sadly didn't reach the end of their journey to a new homeland. The information is taken from various different sources and you can search by name, place or year.

5 Lyttelton shipping lists 1850-79 is a list of assisted emigrants who came to New Zealand in 1866 aboard the ship "Bombay", list of assisted and free passengers on the ship "Blue Jacke", lists of persons whom the Canterbury Association authorized to embark for Canterbury, New Zealand. Passengers came to New Zealand principally from England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany.