Virginia Immigration

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny and Gareth L. Mark for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Virginia Family History Research series.
History of Virginia
Virginia Vital Records
Census Records for Virginia
Background Sources for Virginia
Virginia Maps
Virginia Land Records
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Virginia Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Virginia Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Virginia Immigration
African Americans of Virginia
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Virginia City Resources
Map of Virginia


The best compilations of immigrants to colonial Virginia have been compiled by Peter Wilson Coldham. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607–1660 (1988; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1998) lists emigrants from England taken from Chancery records, records of the Exchequer, the 1624 and 1625 census of Virginia, records of licenses and examination of persons wishing to “pass beyond the seas.” The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1661–1699 (1990; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002) adds 30,000 names to the list of emigrants leaving England for the various colonies. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1700–1750 (1992; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993), in addition to various English court records, includes entries from Plantation Apprenticeship Bindings, Port Books, and Convict Parson on Condition of Transportation. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1751–1776 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993) concludes the series and brings the total number of emigrants to approximately 100,000.

Also from Peter Wilson Coldham, The Bristol Registers of Servants Sent to Foreign Plantations, 1654–1686 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988) naming 10,000 servants from the West County, the West Midlands, or Wales, most entries give the servant, the master, and the ship (after 1670); The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614–1775 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988) and Supplement to the Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614–1775 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992) list more than 50,000 English men, women, and children sentenced by judicial process to be sent to the American colonies for a variety of crimes; Emigrants from England to the American Colonies, 1773–1776 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988) taken from reports compiled for the Treasury at each port in England and Wales. See also Meyer and Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person (cited under Census Records for Virginia), which includes detailed studies of the families of Ancient Planters.

NARA microfilm publication M575, “Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports on the Great Lakes, 1820–1875,” includes arrivals at Alexandria, East River, Hampton, Norfolk, Petersburg, Portsmouth, and Richmond.

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