Ukraine Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

German Immigrants to Russia and Ukraine Records[edit | edit source]

Finding the Town of Origin in Ukraine[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Ukraine, see Ukraine Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Ukraine Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Immigration to Ukraine[edit | edit source]

Immigration into Ukraine (postindependence (1991)) has been mainly ethnic Ukrainians already living in nearby countries; other immigrants were mostly Crimean Tatars and people fleeing wars in Azerbaijan, Transnistria and Chechnya (a region in Russia). After the start of the War in Donbas in 2014 several hundreds foreigners (mostly Russians and Belarusians) migrated to Ukraine to join its territorial defense battalions and army.[1]Immigration: Countries of Origin

  • Russia 3,613,240
  • Belarus 270,751
  • Kazakhstan 245,072
  • Uzbekistan 242,390
  • Moldova 165,126
  • Poland 145,106
  • Azerbaijan 90,753
  • Georgia 71,015
  • Germany 64,015
  • Armenia 52,168
  • Tajikistan 32,386
  • Kyrgyzstan 29,476
  • Turkmenistan 24,926
  • Latvia 19,095
  • Lithuania 16,012
  • Hungary 11,235
  • Estonia 10,964

Volga Germans[edit | edit source]

Click to enlarge.
  • The Volga Germans are ethnic Germans who settled and historically lived along the Volga River in the region of southeastern European Russia around Saratov and to the south.
  • Recruited as immigrants to Russia in the 18th century, they were allowed to maintain their German culture, language, traditions and churches (Lutheran, Reformed, Catholics, Moravians and Mennonites).
  • In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Volga Germans emigrated to Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, the Dakotas, California, Washington and other states across the western United States, as well as to Canada and South America (mainly Argentina and Brazil).
  • After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 during World War II, the Soviet government considered the Volga Germans potential collaborators, and deported many of them eastward, where thousands died. After the war, the Soviet Union expelled a moderate number of ethnic Germans to the West. In the late 1980s and 1990s, many of the remaining ethnic Germans moved from the Soviet Union to Germany.[2]

Black Sea Germans (Moldova and Ukraine)[edit | edit source]

  • The Black Sea Germans - including the Bessarabian Germans and the Dobrujan Germans - settled the territories of the northern bank of the Black Sea in present-day Ukraine in the late 18th and the 19th century.
  • Catherine the Great had gained this land for Russia through her two wars with the Ottoman Empire (1768–1774) and from the annexation of the Crimean Khanates (1783).
  • The area of settlement did not develop as compact as that of the Volga territory, and a chain of ethnic German colonies resulted. The first German settlers arrived in 1787, first from West Prussia, followed by immigrants from Western and Southwestern Germany (including Roman Catholics), and from the Warsaw area. Also many Germans, beginning in 1803, immigrated from the northeastern area of Alsace west of the Rhine River. They settled roughly 30 miles northeast of Odessa (city) in Ukraine, forming several enclaves that quickly expanded, resulting in daughter colonies springing up nearby.[2]

Crimea[edit | edit source]

  • From 1783 onward the Crown initiated a systematic settlement of Russians, Ukrainians, and Germans in the Crimean Peninsula in order to dilute the native population of the Crimean Tatars.
  • In 1939, around 60,000 of the 1.1 million inhabitants of Crimea were ethnic German.
  • Two years later, following the end of the alliance and the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, the government deported ethnic Germans from the Crimea to Central Asia in the Soviet Union's program of population transfers. Conditions were harsh and many of the deportees died. It was not until the period of Perestroika in the late 1980s that the government granted surviving ethnic Germans and their descendants the right to return from Central Asia to the peninsula.[2]

Volhynian Germans (Poland and Ukraine)[edit | edit source]

  • The migration of Germans into Volhynia (as of 2013 covering northwestern Ukraine from a short distance west of Kiev to the border with Poland) occurred under significantly different conditions than those described above.
  • By the end of the 19th century, Volhynia had more than 200,000 German settlers. Their migration began as encouraged by local noblemen, often Polish landlords, who wanted to develop their significant land-holdings in the area for agricultural use. Although the noblemen offered certain incentives for the relocations, the Germans of Volhynia received none of the government's special tax and military service freedoms granted to Germans in other areas.
  • Probably 75% or more of the Germans came from Congress Poland, with the balance coming directly from other regions such as East and West Prussia, Pomerania, Posen, Württemberg, and Galicia, among others.
  • Shortly after 1800, the first German families started moving into the area. A surge occurred after the first Polish rebellion of 1831 but by 1850, Germans still numbered only about 5000. The largest migration came after the second Polish rebellion of 1863, and Germans began to flood into the area by the thousands. By 1900 they numbered about 200,000.
  • The vast majority of these Germans were Protestant Lutherans (in Europe they were referred to as Evangelicals). Limited numbers of Mennonites from the lower Vistula River region settled in the south part of Volhynia. Baptists and Moravian Brethren settled mostly northwest of Zhitomir.
  • Another major difference between the Germans here and in other parts of Russia is that the other Germans tended to settle in larger communities. The Germans in Volhynia were scattered about in over 1400 villages. Though the population peaked in 1900, many Germans had already begun leaving Volhynia in the late 1880s for North and South America.
  • Between 1911 and 1915, a small group of Volhynian German farmers (36 families - more than 200 people) chose to move to Eastern Siberia, making use of the resettlement subsidies of the government's Stolypin reform of 1906–1911. They settled in three villages (Pikhtinsk, Sredne-Pikhtinsk, and Dagnik) in what is today Zalarinsky District of Irkutsk Oblast, where they became known as the "Bug Hollanders". Their descendants, many with German surnames, continue to live in the district into the 21st century.[2]

Emigration From Ukraine[3][edit | edit source]

Regions With Significant Populations"

  • Russia 3,269,992
  • Canada 1,359,655
  • Poland 1,200,000
  • United States 1,028,492
  • Brazil 600,000
  • Kazakhstan 338,022
  • Argentina 305,000
  • Germany 272,000
  • Italy 234,354
  • Moldova 181,035
  • Belarus 159,656
  • Czech Republic 131,709
  • Uzbekistan 124,602
  • Spain 112,728
  • France 106,697
  • Romania 50,920
  • Latvia 50,699
  • Portugal 45,051
  • Australia 38,791
  • Greece 32,000
  • Israel 30,000–90,000
  • United Kingdom 23,414
  • Estonia 23,183
  • Georgia 22,263
  • Azerbaijan 21,509
  • Turkey 20,000–35,000
  • Kyrgyzstan 12,691
  • Lithuania 12,248
  • Denmark 12,144
  • Paraguay 12,000–40,000
  • Austria 12,000

History[edit | edit source]

  • In 1709, some political emigrants, primarily Cossacks, settled in Turkey and in Western Europe. In 1775, some more Cossacks emigrated to Dobruja in the Ottoman Empire (now in Romania).
  • In the second half of the 18th century, Ukrainians from the Transcarpathian Region formed agricultural settlements in the Kingdom of Hungary, primarily in the Bačka and Syrmia regions (now in Serbia).
  • In time, Ukrainian settlements emerged in the major European capitals, including Vienna, Budapest, Rome and Warsaw.
  • In 1880, the Ukrainian diaspora consisted of approximately 1.2 million people, which represented approximately 4.6% of all Ukrainians, and was distributed as follows:
    • 0.7 million in the European part of the Russian Empire
    • 0.2 million in Austro-Hungary
    • 0.1 million in the Asian part of the Russian Empire
    • 0.1 million in the United States
  • In the last quarter of the 19th century, a massive emigration of Ukrainians from Austro-Hungary to the Americas and from the Russian Empire to the Urals and Asia (Siberia and Kazakhstan) occurred.
  • A secondary movement was the emigration under the auspices of the Austro-Hungarian government of 10,000 Ukrainians from Galicia to Bosnia.
  • Furthermore, due to Russian agitation, 15,000 Ukrainians left Galicia and Bukovina and settled in Russia. Most of these settlers later returned.
  • Finally in the Russian Empire, some Ukrainians from the Chełm and Podlaskie regions, as well as most of the Jews, emigrated to the Americas.
  • In the 1890s, Ukrainian agricultural settlers emigrated first to Brazil and Argentina.
  • However, the writings of Galician professor and nationalist Dr. Joseph Oleskiw were influential in redirecting that flow to Canada. He praised the United States as a place for wage labour, but stated that Canada was the best place for agricultural settlers to obtain free land. B
  • Before the start of the First World War, almost 500,000 Ukrainians emigrated to the Americas. This can be broken down by country as follows:
    • to the United States of America: almost 350,000
    • to Canada: almost 100,000
      • to Brazil and Argentina: almost 50,000
  • Most of the emigrants to the Americas belonged to the Greek Catholic Church.
  • The First World War and the Russian Civil War led to the first massive political emigration, which strengthened the existing Ukrainian communities. Furthermore, some of these new emigrants formed Ukrainian communities in Western and Central Europe. Thus, new communities were created in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Poland, France, Belgium, Austria, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The largest communities were in Prague,Lviv, and Kraków.
  • In 1920–1921, Ukrainians left Western Ukraine to settle in the Americas and Western Europe. Most of the emigrates settled in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, France, the UK and Belgium. T
  • The Ukrainian diaspora increased after 1945 due to a second wave of political emigrants. The 250,000 Ukrainians at first settled in Germany and Austria. In the latter half of the 1940s and early 1950s, these Ukrainians were resettled in many different countries creating new Ukrainian settlements in Australia, Venezuela, and for a time being in Tunisia, as well as re-enforcing previous settlements in the United States of America, Canada (primarily Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec), Brazil (specially in the South and Southeast regions), Argentina and Paraguay.
  • In Europe, there remained between 50,000 and 100,000 Ukrainians that settled in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
  • During the latter Soviet time, most of the Ukrainian contingent that was leaving the Ukrainian SSR for other areas of the Union settled in places with other migrants.
    • In Eastern Europe, the Ukrainian diaspora can be divided as follows:
    • In Poland: 200-300 thousand Ukrainians
    • In Czechoslovakia: 120-150 thousand Ukrainians
    • In Romania: 100-150 thousand Ukrainians
    • In Yugoslavia: 45-50 thousand Ukrainians.
  • After the independence of Ukraine, many Ukrainians have emigrated to Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Italy due to the uncertain economic and political situation at home.
  • Many Ukrainians live in Russia either along the Ukrainian border or in Siberia.[4]

Records of Ukraine Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination, the country they immigrated into. See links to Wiki articles about immigration records for major destination countries below. Additional Wiki articles for other destinations can be found at Category:Emigration and Immigration Records.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Immigration to Ukraine," in Wikipedia,, accessed 12 Juuly 2021.
  2. "History of Germans in Russia, Ukraine and the Soviet Union", in Wikipedia,,_Ukraine_and_the_Soviet_Union, accessed 12 July 2021.
  3. "Ukrainians", in Wikipedia,, accessed 12 July 2021.
  4. "Ukrainian diaspora", in Wikipedia,, accessed 12 July 2021.