Polish Emigration

Where to Start

PGS-MN member, John Kowles, wrote an article in the Summer 2004 issue of the PGS-MN Newsletter (page 1), which is a great overview of issues involved with Polish Emigration.

Some of the resources below were compiled by Jay Biedny in the Spring 2016 issue (page 4) of the PGS-MN newsletter.


TItleAuthorDate PublishedComments
They Came in ShipsJohn Philip CollettaThird edition (2002)
Ships of Our AncestorsMichael J. AnutaJanuary 1, 1983

Polish Immigration to America – When, Why, How and Where
Steven Szabados 2017
Germans to America – Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. PortsIra A. Glazier and William P. Filby1988-2002This is a series of 67 books, each of which are expensive – it is best to check libraries. The series covers the years from 1850-1897 and includes ships that left from German ports.

The link here is an online index to the Germans to America series.
A link to an article that explains the Germans to America series can be found here.

PGS-MN Newsletter Articles

Newsletter IssuePageTitle/Author
Winter 20111From Plotzk to Boston
by Mary Antin
Winter 20121Six Ships to America
by Jay Biedny
Winter 201217The Emigrant Ship
by Francis A Durivage.
Fall 201312Extensive Book Review (written by John Rys):
Round-Trip to America – The Immigrants Return to Europe (1880-1930)
by Mark Wyman, Cornell University Press, 1993

Other Articles


Ship index.org
This site is a portal index to ships mentioned in other publications. An excellent tool for that small, odd ship on your list.
Red Star LineIn 2013, a non-profit organization renovated the Red Star Lines departure areas in Antwerp into a museum that exhibits the actual immigrant experience. The Line brought some 2 million passengers to America. The site does not contain searchable records of passage.
FamilySearch Hamburg Passenger ListsThe Hamburg Passenger Lists (1850-1934), the ones created on the German side before passengers left Europe, still exist and have been loaded into a great data base accessible through Ancestry.com. This site explains the materials and their organization.
Ballinstadt MuseumThe great emigration exhibition is the core of the BallinStadt or “Port of Dreams”. This multi-building museum in Hamburg, explores the minds and backgrounds of the 4 million emigrants who used the North German Lloyd Line (HAPAG) to come to America.
Bremerhaven MuseumThis organization has a physical museum and is working on an immigration super data base of all immigration departures from all German ports. Currently the data base is only accessible at the museum.
Steve MorseThis site will help you search many different passenger lists in one step. Also great for non-immigration information.
Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island passenger listsOver 50 million passenger records for New York harbor from 1892-1954 searchable by name for free.
Castle GardenOver 10 million passenger records for New York harbor from 1855- 1890 searchable by name for free.
Baltimore PortThis site gives a general overview of the Locust Point immigration station in Baltimore, MD.
Immigrant Ships.netHas excellent information on ships manifests back to 1820. Volunteers transcribe and post entire ships manifests.
The Ships ListThis is a very helpful site with lots of British and European information including ship pictures of the larger lines.
Polish Immigrants to CanadaThis website provides information about Polish immigrants to Quebec, Canada. Some relatives of these immigrants continued on to Minnesota.

Grosse Île was a Quarantine location downstream from Quebec to handle immigrants with infectious diseases. Information about Grosse Île can be found here.

Arrival in the United States