In the late 19th and early 20th century, millions of Italians packed their bags and left for the Americas, hoping to make their fortune overseas. The Centro Internazionale Studi Emigrazione Italiana CISEI, founded in 2005, is hoping to remember Italy's expatriates by publishing on-line the results of their ongoing work compiling a massive database with names and information regarding especially passengers departing from the Port of Genoa.
Established as a Research Centre on Italian Emigration, CISEI's aim is to reconstruct the biographies of Italian citizens who left their homes for the United States or South America. The centre is endeavouring to make the history of Italian emigration, at least those passengers who departed from the Port of Genoa, available on-line.
Recreating passengers’ embarkation lists from the Port of Genoa from 1876 to 1925 was no small task. Between 1876 and 1901, nearly 2 million people departed through the Port of Genoa, with another 1.7 million embarking between 1902 and 1925.
Much of the research was also based on data from Ellis Island, the American National Archives and the Emigrant Savings Bank but Italian investigators are also relying upon primary sources. Researchers are using passenger logs, maritime health records, passport lists, but also private letters and photographs provided by descendants of migrants.
The archive is the first of its kind in Italy and is expected on-line in a few months. For more information, progress updates or to contribute with your family records, visit the CISEI website.