Immigration records

Some of your ancestors may have come from countries other than the UK. It is important to have an idea of where your ancestors came from in order to learn more about your family history.

What records are available?

There are a number of immigration records available, both digital and physical. Below is a list of immigration records available:

Records of the Chancery:

  • These are records relating to alien clergy and foreign merchants.
  • Records are available from the period of Henry III to Henry VIII.

Records of the Exchequer:

  • These are records relating to the possessions of foreign laymen.
  • Also contain records of fines imposed on the alien clergy.
  • Records are available from the period of Edward I to Edward IV.

Exchequer Accounts Various:

  • These accounts contain records of the transactions of foreign merchants in London.
  • Records are available from the period of Henry III to Charles I.

Exchequer Subsidy Rolls:

  • The rolls contain the names of foreigners living in the city and suburbs of London.

State Papers:

  • These are records that contain information about the return of strangers into London and other areas of the UK.
  • Gives names of people driven out of their country by persecutions and set up new homes in England.

Non-parochial Register:

  • These are records kept by churches in France, Holland, Germany and Switzerland.
  • The records contain information about refugees from these countries that came to the UK.

Certificates of Aliens:

  • Records of the arrivals of individuals in England and Scotland.
  • The certificates show information such as:
    • Nationality
    • Profession
    • Date of arrival
    • Last country visited
    • Signature of immigrant
  • The records are part of the Alien Act, 1836

Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=243 for further information about immigration records.

Where can I find them?

The Public Record Office of England and, Wales and the UK joined forces with the Historical Manuscripts Commission in 2003 to form The National Archives. It is here where the most useful records regarding immigration are held.

Contact The National Archives: