How passenger lists can help your family research
Did your ancestors migrate from another country during the 19th or early 20th centuries? If they did, then it's likely you will find your ancestor on a passenger list. Your ancestors' journey was likely documented on a passenger manifest for the ship they sailed on.
After gathering information from living relatives, census records, obituaries, cemetery records, newspapers, birth and death certificates, you might be able to find information about when and where your ancestor departed from and where they were going. With this information, you are now ready to search passenger list indexes from those areas and timeframes.
Finding your ancestor in a passenger list can be like finding a needle in a haystack… But don't give up!
3. When you do find your ancestor on a passenger list, not only is it a fantastic discovery to see their name listed on the manifest, but you can also gain valuable information from the passenger list.
Passenger Lists can give you information like:
- The name of the passengers
- Nationality, place of birth
- The port they came from
- Final destination
- Passengers last residence
- The name of the ship
- The captain of the ship
- Deaths and births at sea
Passenger Ship - James T Foord
Finding your ancestor will take a lot of hunting but finding them will be so rewarding and add a missing piece to your family tree.
Where to find passenger lists:
Passenger lists are available on the main genealogy website's listed below… however, you can also find information available on smaller websites in various countries.
- National Archives of Australia
- National Library of Australia
- State Library of New South Wales
- State Library Victoria
1911 - Skipping to pass time while onboard a passenger ship. Photo: Library of Congress
To help you record your documents, for each ancestor, here's a FREE ancestor profile scribble sheet.
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