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Returns of Aliens (Immigration)

Nature of Source

Lists of people born overseas and residing in England during the 16th and 17th centuries. Aliens are listed in the State Papers in the 16th and 17th centuries and many of these were Protestant Huguenots escaping persecution from the largely Catholic Low Countries and France. Many of these names have been indexed and published by the Huguenot Society or calendared. Lay Subsidy Rolls provide lists of aliens as they were liable to a special tax on aliens charged at double the rate.

Where Found

The National Archives (SP 10, The State Papers, Domestic, Edward VI; SP 11, State Papers Domestic, Mary I; SP 12 and SP 13, State Papers Domestic, Elizabeth I; SP 14, State Papers Domestic, James I; SP 15, State Papers Domestic, Edward VI-James I; SP 16, State Papers Domestic, Charles I; SP 18; State Papers Domestic, Civil War and Interregnum; SP 29 and SP 30, State Papers Domestic, Charles II. [These series includes surveys and registers of strangers or aliens mainly in London but also the regions]; SP 44/67, returns of foreign residents in London, 1678)

Period Covered

1529 - 1639

Genealogical Value

Names, ages, addresses, occupations, family relationships country and place of origin.

Further References

Cooper, William Durrant (ed). List of Foreign Protestants and Aliens Resident in England, 1618–1688: From Returns in the State Paper Office: Camden Society, 1862

Goose, Nigel & Luu, Lien (eds). Immigrants in Tudor and Early Stuart England: Sussex Academic Press, 2005

Kershaw, Roger & Pearsall, Mark. Immigrants And Aliens: A Guide to Sources On UK Immigration and Citizenship: PRO Publications, 2000

Kirk, Richard Edward Gent & Kirk, Ernest (eds). Returns of Aliens Dwelling in the City and Suburbs of London from the Reign of Henry VIII to that of James I: Aberdeen, 1908 (Names extracted from State Papers and include Returns of Aliens, members of French and Dutch churches and lists of refugees settled in other parts of the country. The contents is included in the Quarto Series published by the Huguenot Society)

Knighton, Charles Stephen. Calendar of State Papers Domestic Series of the Reign of Edward VI 1547-1553: London, 1992

Lemon, Robert & Green, Mary Anne Everett (eds). Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reigns of Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth and James I: Longman (Vols I to V indexed)

Scouloudi, Irene. Returns of Strangers in the Metropolis, 1593, 1627, 1635, 1639: A Study of an Active Minority, Huguenot Society of London, 1985 (The contents is included in the Quarto Series published by the Huguenot Society)

Worman, Ernest James. Alien Members of The Book-Trade During the Tudor Period: Being an Index to Those Whose Names Occur in the Returns of Aliens, Letters of Denization, and other Documents Published by the Huguenot Society: London 1906 (available to download or read online at the Internet Archive)

TNA Research Guide: Immigration
TNA Research Guide: Naturalisation and British citizenship

Search the Internet Archive and Google Books for non-copyright editions of Calendars of State Papers or subscribe to British History Online for many searchable editions of Calendars.

Websites (Aliens, returns of: Immigrants in Tudor and Early Stuart England) (Histories of immigrant communities including Jewish, Caribbean, Irish and South Asian. Collections include digitised documents and photos) (Tracing Your Roots; Immigration) (Acts of Parliament; Migration and Naturalisation) (TNA Research Guide: Immigrants) (TNA Guide: Looking for records of an immigrant) (Links to sources relevant to immigration) (Museum of London Exploring 20th century London: Migration and Citizenship) (Museum of London Exploring 20th century London: Aliens Acts 1905 and 1919) (FamilySearch Research Wiki; Aliens and Immigrants in England and Wales) (Black Presence: Asian and Black History in Britain, 1500-1850) (Every Generation Media: Guide to researching African, Caribbean and Black British family history) (Links to online genealogy records including passenger lists) (Anglo-German Family History Society) (Anglo-Italian Family History Society)

Online Databases (Alien Arrivals, 1810-1811, 1826-1869; Lists of aliens, non-British citizens, arriving in England between 1810 and 1869 extracted from series FO 83/21-22, HO 2, HO 3 and CUST 102/393-396) (SoG Data Online: Polish Refugee subsistence and genealogical data. Members of the Society of Genealogists are able to view these records for free via their existing membership. Non-members can carry out free surname searches but will need to join the society to view the full record details) (Aliens Registers Index: Index to the Aliens Registers held at Edinburgh City Archives)

CD Roms

Huguenot Society (Quarto Series: CD-ROM 3: Denization & Naturalisation)