Can’t find your ancestor arriving?

The more I looked at the latest Emigration records out of the UK from TheGenealogist™ the more useful bits I found – not surprisingly this blog has grown considerably since it was first started but persevere and hopefully you’ll find lots of useful tips and links to help you find that elusive ancestor arriving in Victoria, or other Australian colonies, or other places.  Some are specific to the Geelong region, more are applicable to Victoria, and even more are applicable to anywhere.  And the amount of information and detail can be VERY rewarding.  I’ve added heaps of links to sites that you may find really useful for passengers to ‘here’ as well as things like EOGN – the Newsletter that EVERY researcher should subscribe to!  In some places I’ve also used bitly to create shorter URL addresses – another useful tool!

Firstly – why emigration (leaving a place) instead of immigration (arriving at a place)?  There is a lot of information on various immigration passenger lists – arriving in Victoria, arriving in New South Wales, etc. etc.  Often we just can’t find our ancestors in these lists – lumped in steerage or really bad writing or passenger list missing?  There are many reasons but you might find your ancestors by looking for their DEPARTURE (emigration) records or other obscure records.

This exercise really began with the announcement on Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (EOGN – subscribe to the free edition) about 4 million BT27 (The National Archives UK) Outbound Passenger List Records for the 1950s.

From the Blog for TheGenealogist™ it appears that this release covers the decade of the 1950s.  (Another Blog worth subscribing to / following).  These appear to be a new release of indexed records that complement the range of emigration records from the other major subscription databases.

I confess to being a fan of TheGenealogist.  A couple of reasons:

Hopefully our Public Libraries will look at a subscription for the Library Edition of TheGenealogist – similar to current access to Ancestry™ and Findmypast™.  All of these databases have Library Editions which give you most but not all options.

The Library Edition option of TheGenealogist™ for the Geelong Family History Group is out of the range of our funds however researchers might consider a trip to the Genealogical Society of Victoria.  If you’re a member, there is no charge, but as a non-member if you do your homework and prepare a Day Pass costs $20.o0 and might be a good option.  At the GSV library in Melbourne you can access Ancestry™, findmypast™, TheGenealogist™, British Newspaper Archive™, MyHeritage™ and ScotlandsPlaces™.

I haven’t been able to confirm the exact number and range records in TheGenealogist™ database however they appear to be similar to the 1890-1960 records which have also been on Ancestry™ and Findmypast™ for about six years.  NONE of these contains a complete range of emigration records – you can select a departure port and then from a couple of years that may be covered.  VERY selective!  You can also search The National Archives (TNA) where some are available for free.  And of course Family Search also has various emigration records.  The bottom line – search them all!

Here are some links worth trying:

Of course emigration records aren’t the only other source for finding out the name of the ship and the date of arrival in a new colony / country.  Try some of these:

  • NATURALISATION records show ship and date of arrival as well as date and place of birth.  Some of these are at State (Colony) level and others at Federal.  Victorian 19th & 20th century records on searchable and downloadable from the National Archives of Australia.  Check local state archives and other references for Naturalisation records.
  • Alien Registration records – search as above where you will find some entries or read the background information to follow up on these records.
  • Hospital Records – particularly 19th century records – often recorded the Ship and date of arrival.  See the Geelong Hospital records at the Geelong Heritage Centre.

And a bit closer to home!  Make sure you check the Geelong and District database which includes relevant records:

  • Geelong District: Assisted Immigrants – extracted from the PROV indexes and records
  • Geelong District: Unassisted Immigrants – extracted from the PROV indexes and records
  • Geelong District: Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society (1845-1846)
  • Geelong District: Orphan Immigrants – extracted from Barefoot and Pregnant?
  • Geelong: Assisted Immigrants Remittances 1856-1858 [VPRS 22]
  • Geelong: Geelong Advertiser – Passengers arriving on ship Travencore in 1849
  • Geelong: Immigration Depot Funerals 1853-1857 [VPRS 22]
  • Geelong: Immigration Depot Returns 1851 [VPRS 116]
  • Geelong: Register of Seamen Engaged 1856-1890 [VPRS 22] – in progress
  • Melbourne: Ineligible Immigrants on ship Joshua in 1852
  • Victoria: Exiles and others on Pentolvillain ships 1844-1849
  • Victoria: Geelong Advertiser – Ayrshire immigrants in 1854

You can read more about these Indexes in the Geelong and District database.

Don’t forget that records are added to this database so always check back regularly for your ancestors!

Happy researching.

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