Genes Reunited, the family history website, has announced that people will now be able to view passenger lists online. The lists include people onboard ships departing British ports for long-distance voyages across the world from 1890 to 1960.
The passenger records offer a range of information from simply the passenger’s name and age, to much more detailed information; the departure and destination ports, the ship’s name, date of travel as well as actual descriptions of the passengers themselves, such as, UK address, year of birth, marital status, occupation and nationality. Through these records it is possible to find some truly unique information about ancestors who voyaged overseas.
As well as the range of detail that can be found in these records, there are also some famous names which can be discovered, in particular Hollywood royalty such as a two year old Elizabeth Taylor, a 56 year old Alfred Hitchcock, a 22 year old Audrey Hepburn and finally a four year old Olivia Newton-John who was on her way from London to Australia.
The passenger records cover the period of mass migration to Australia between 1947 and 1960 when an estimated 710,000 people travelled there from Great Britain. This ‘golden age’ of migration to Australia was prompted by the launch of the Government’s ‘Ten Pound Pom’ scheme to encourage Britons to emigrate to Australia and enhance the nation’s skilled workforce driving its economy forwards.
Similarly to today, the records reveal a high number of retirees also travelled to Australia to spend the rest of their lives in the sun, with 17,385 retirees emigrating from the UK during the 1950s. Furthermore, 140,511 housewives travelled to Australia in the same decade. The records also show that there were 58 divorcees and 215 widowers listed who may have journeyed to the country to make a fresh start.
Rhoda Breakell, head of Genes Reunited, commented: “The wealth of passenger list records now available on Genes Reunited is an invaluable resource for people tracing relatives they believe may have left the UK from 1890 onwards. The passenger records may very well provide a missing link for many family historians who have hit a brick wall in their research, as well as helping those outside of the UK to trace back to their British and European heritage.”
The easily-searchable and user-friendly database on the family history site will enable would-be genealogists and family historians alike to view digitised images of the original ship passenger records online, which contain over 1.1 million pages, listing the 24 million passengers who travelled on long-distance journeys from UK ports.