Clayton Library has a number of resources that can be used in tracing immigrant ancestors to their country of origin. Ship passenger lists, naturalization record indexes, and census records are among the most common sources used in researching immigrants at Clayton.
The best place to start in researching your immigrant ancestor is with the US Census. Beginning in 1900, the census records identify the year of immigration and the naturalization status of all persons born outside the US. Earlier census records can also be used to identify the country of origin and approximate date of arrival, which can help in the search for passenger lists and naturalization records.
Clayton Library has a complete collection of National Archives passenger lists on microfilm for most eastern U.S. ports from 1820 through the end of the 19th century. Indexes are available for most ports through the mid-20th century, both on microfilm and in book form. Printed indexes such as Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index are available to research passenger arrivals for colonial and later time periods.
To search Clayton Library's holdings of passenger records, check the Houston Public Library Catalog (for printed books) and the Clayton Microprint finding aids.
Naturalization records and indexes are available at Clayton for many areas, including Harris and Galveston counties in Texas. Numerous other sources are available in print and on microfilm to locate immigrant information. The reference staff at Clayton can assist you to identify and use possible sources.
The reference librarians at Clayton have developed a bibliography on passenger and immigration sources. This helpful finding aid lists books, periodical articles, and microprint sources available at Clayton. The bibliography is available in the Ready Reference section of the library:
- Passengers and Immigrants to America: A Bibliography