Ohio Emigration and Immigration

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Strategies[edit | edit source]

There are several important sources for finding information about immigrants. These nationwide sources include many reference to people who settled in Ohio. The Tracing Immigrant Origins page introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's original hometown.

Pre-Statehood[edit | edit source]

Pre-statehood settlers of Ohio generally came from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey. Most of the early settlements were along the Ohio River and other waterways. By 1850, immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and England traveled on Zanes's Trace, the National Road, various canals, and Indian trails. One "story map" of Ohio during the period of the American Revolution is:

  • Ohio, Trailways to Highways 1776-1976 [1]

Migration[edit | edit source]

An illustrated explanation of the migrations to Ohio based on the 1850 census is:

  • The Origin and Distribution of Settlement Groups [2]

The Western Reserve in northeast Ohio was heavily settled by New Englanders. Settlers in the Virginia Military District of southwest Ohio were mostly from Virginia and Kentucky. Scotch-Irish and Germans settled in the east and south part of Ohio, and the Irish most often settled in cities. The Germans tended to choose farms in rural areas. Many immigrants from England, France, Canada, Wales, and Scotland moved to Ohio between 1850 and 1880. In 1880, 15 percent of Ohio's people were foreign born. Until 1914, Italians, Russian Jews, Slovenes, Hungarians, and Poles were attracted to Cleveland and cities in northeastern Ohio. Today, about 10 percent of Ohio's population is African American. Norwegian Settlements were an important part of the Ohio landscape.

Welsh Influence[edit | edit source]

  • The Wales-Ohio Project goal is to digitize a selection of Welsh Heritage pertaining to the state of Ohio held at The National Library of Wales and to make it available to audiences world-wide. This collection includes a variety of manuscripts, letters, photographs and maps concerning the history of Welch Settlers.

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Railroads were in Ohio by the 1830s. Ohio's population tripled between 1820 and 1840 but only increased by about 50 percent from 1840 to 1860.

Although Ohio had ports of entry on Lake Erie, no passenger lists for ships are available. The majority of the immigrants arrived through eastern ports (New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore) and New Orleans. The library has records for each of these ports from 1820 to about 1920 or later. Philadelphia records start in 1800. Records of persons coming from Canada to the United States were not recorded until 1895. For records after 1895, see "Canadian Border Crossings, 1895-1954" in the the United States Emigration and Immigration.

Additional Research Helps[edit | edit source]

Records and books on the Irish, Germans, Blacks, and American Indians are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under


Records of small groups of Alsatians, Russians, Norwegians, and Welsh are listed under


References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ohio, Trailways to Highways 1776-1976. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. FHL film 1015821 item 2
  2. Wilhelm, Hubert G. H. The Origin and Distribution of Settlement Groups. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University, 1982. FHL fiche 6093885; book 977.1 W2o