Canton Ticino (TI)

Ticino Migration Worldwide

Contents -

Conditions in Switzerland
Transmigration from States in Europe to Overseas
The Ports from which they left
Finding your forebears leaving
Obtaining a "Familienschein" Certificate
Their Descendants' Locations Today  

Conditions in Switzerland - The valley Leventina had belonged to the Urians from 1440 who had enjoyed considerable freedom until 1775 when an insurrection occurred.  Bellenz, Riviera, and Bollenz (Blegno-Valley) were, in 1503, common bailiffs of Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden.  Canton Ticino had been helping the Italian freedom fighters across the border when the Governor of the Austrian Kingdom of Lombardo-Veneto decided to close the frontier and expel all Swiss subjects from his territory at very few days notice.  So back they went to their native valleys and their very small plots of land. An economic crisis, poor harvests and many mouths to feed threatened real famine until the idea of emigration beyond the seas could be launched and enough credit could be secured.

Transmigration From the States in Europe Overseas - Chris Tolley's website will not give answers but rather information about the possible route migrants took from Western European ports (sometimes across the UK) and overseas. This wonderful site - The Great Central (UK) Railway at (very heavy in graphics).

The Ports From Which They Left - Migrants from Germany leaving Europe BEFORE 1830, commonly, left from Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.  The Ticino migrants left Europe from Antwerp, Hamburg and Liverpool mostly (however, Swiss migrants from other cantons used Le Havre, Bordeaux and Genoa). Ticinesi migrants traveled on foot or by coach up through the St Gotthard Pass in the northwest of Switzerland to Basel or Zurich (or Paris) and then made their way to London, or took a train to Hamburg (or the port of Le Havre).

Once in a port city a migrant's name was entered on a Passenger List:

Be aware that there are two basic Hamburg lists - Direct Lists (from a German port sailing direct to the port of arrival); and the Indirect Lists (going via some other port such as one in the UK en route). Within the Direct Lists are two15 Year card index systems for 1850-1871.

One is held within the LDS system, and the other by the Staatsarchiv Hamburg (follow the links on German Emigration to America for specific details).

Between 1841 and 1846 some 115,000 European migrants left through Bremen but only 11,000 through Hamburg which soon saw that it was big business and started catering for the migrants with accommodation barracks in the suburb of Veddel, and providing shops.

Between1836 and 1900 some four million people left the Continent from Hamburg. Overall, Bremen saw some 41% of the European migrants leaving Europe through its waters while Hamburg only about 31%.

Crew and passengers of CARGO ships are available for 1750-1886 - check FHL Location section under Le Havre, Business records and Commerce. The lists for LONDON and LIVERPOOL are available, generally, in the repository in the port of arrival (e.g. the Public Records Office, City Office, in Melbourne, Australia).

Finding your forebears leaving

For details on the creation of the Hamburg Departure Lists - see

For details on what the actual Hamburg Passenger Lists comprise - see

For details on the Hamburg Departure Calendars used rather than Departure Lists - see

For details as to why Hamburg became an emigration port - see

For details of which 1854-1934 Hamburg Passenger Lists are actually available - follow the links on German Emigration to America.

Obtaining a "Familienschein" Certificate - This is an official Swiss document containing 3 generations of a family available from - Al Direttore Egregio, Signor Direttore, Archivio Cantonale del Ticino Via C. Salvioni, 6500 Bellinzona, SWITZERLAND.

Please be sure to read the Swissgen Introduction page.

Their Descendants' Locations Today - To obtain more detail on emigration to various countries click on:

Australia/New Zealand
North America
South America
United Kingdom

Much of the credit for the information on these pages goes to Doctor Joseph Gentilli, the publication GEOWEST and the Department of Geography at the University of Western Australia under Professor John Dodson and is most gratefully acknowledged.

Top of Page

Back to Canton Ticino

Topic Selection | Themenauswahl | Choix de Thèmes | Argomento

This page is maintained by A. John Parker. / Last updated: 20 November 2001(wws).
Please forward any comments and/or additions to this webpage to :