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Passenger Lists (Immigration) (Emigration) (including Scotland and Ireland)

Nature of Source

Lists of those scheduled to travel by ship entering or leaving the UK or entering a foreign country. The requirement to record those arriving in and departing ports arose as a measure to control and monitor emigration in the 19th century. Unfortunately passenger lists, originating from the British Passenger Act of 1823, only survive from 1890.

The records are arranged in date order by port of arrival and for outward bound passengers, the port and ship must be known. Most pre-1890 passenger lists were destroyed by the Board of Trade in 1900 apart from the years between 1878 and 1888. Those that survive are in BT 26. Look for clues of migration in census returns and birth/baptism records. Always consult immigration records and arrival lists in the country of destination. Many US states maintain their own immigration records. It is important to note that The National Archive records only deal with ships that arrived from or sailed to places outside Europe and the Mediterranean. Some local newspapers printed passenger lists.

Around 50 million people emigrated to America between 1820 and 1865, many from Britain, Ireland and Germany and later in the 19th century from Eastern and Southern Europe including Catholics, Jews and Orthodox Christians.

See also
Emigration Records (Including Scotland)
Emigration Records (Ireland)
Hamburg Passenger Lists
Immigration Records
Lists & Certificates of Aliens/Arrivals
Naturalisation Papers
Returns of Aliens

Where Found

The National Archives (Inward passenger lists: BT 26, 1890-1960; BT 26/1-5, 1878-1888; BT 32, 1906-1951. Outward passenger lists: BT 27, 1890-1960; ADM 30/35, Passengers to and from the Mediterranean, 1831-1834)

See below for details of online access to these records.

Society of Genealogists (Overseas & Emigration. Resources include Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index)
National Library of Scotland (Emigration and passenger lists)
The Mitchell Library (Lists for ships belonging to P Henderson & Co. sailing from the Clyde to New Zealand, 1871-1880; Copies of lists from Tasmania Record Office for voyages from Glasgow to Australia, 1855 and 1857)
Merseyside Maritime Museum (Maritime Archives and Library: Liverpool was one of the main gateways for emigration from the UK to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada during the 19th and 20th centuries. The library hold a number of sources for emigrant research including passenger tickets, correspondence and other ephemera, ship registers, diaries and letters and sailing information. A series of detailed information sheets dealing with emigration are available at the web site)
University libraries and archives
Overseas repositories such as:
Library and Archives Canada
The Library of Congress
U.S. National Archives
The National Archives of Australia
National Library of Australia
Archives New Zealand
National Library of New Zealand
South African repositories

Period Covered

1890 - 1960

Genealogical Value

Name, age, occupation of passenger. Intended and last residence, sometimes with addresses. Port of arrival. Later lists may include next-of-kin and place and date of birth

Further References

Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1988  
Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1607-1776, 4 vols: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1987  
Devine, Tom (ed.). Scottish Emigration and Scottish Society: John Donald, 1992  
Devine, Tom. Scotland’s Empire, 1600-1815: Allen Lane, 2003  
Dobson, David. The Original Scots Colonists of Early America, 1612-1783: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1989 (Available on CD)
[For other David Dobson titles visit the Genealogical Publishing Company]
Filby, William & Meyer, Mary. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: A Guide to Published Arrival Records, 1538-1900: Gale Research Company, 1981  
Harper, Marjory. Adventurers and Exiles: The Great Scottish Exodus: Profile Books, 2004  
Kershaw, Roger. Emigrants and Expats: A Guide to Sources on UK Emigration and Residents Overseas: The National Archives, 2002  
Kershaw, Roger. Migration Records: The National Archives, 2009  
Kershaw, Roger. Immigrants and Aliens. 2nd ed: The National Archives, 2004  
McCarthy, Angela (ed.). A Global Clan: Scottish Migrant Networks and Identities since the Eighteenth Century: Tauris, 2006  
Richards, Eric. Britannia’s Children. Emigration from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland since 1600: Hambledon, 2004  
Weaver, Jack & Lester, Deegee. Immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland: A Guide to Archival and Manuscript Sources in North America: Greenwood Press, 1986  
Wills, Simon. Voyages from the Past: A History of British Passengers at Sea: Pen & Sword Books, 2014  
Whyte, Donald. A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to the USA, 2 vols: Magna Carta Book Company, 1972 & 1986  
Whyte, Donald. A Dictionary of Scottish Emigrants to Canada Before Confederation, 2 vols: Ontario Genealogical Society, 1986 & 1995  

TNA Research Guide: Emigration

National Archives of Scotland Guides
The Emigrants: Why they left, the journey, and life in the new country
The Scots in America: Economic and social links over three centuries
The Scots in Canada: Emigration and settlement
The Scots in New Zealand: Emigrants and settlers

Websites (Ships & Passenger Lists links) (TNA Guide: Looking for records of a passenger) (TNA Guide: Looking for records of an emigrant) (Port Communities: Site dealing with those that arrived at English ports with online digitised collection resource of over 5000 items, brought to you by the National Maritime Museum and other museums, archives and libraries) (Passenger Research Guide: Passengers & Emigration) (National Maritime Museum: Passengers Guide to researching specific passengers, and images and plans of ships; Shipping companies Shipping company records held by the NMM, and guide to the East India Company) (Links to online genealogy records including passenger lists) (What Passenger Lists Are Online?: Internet Sources for Transcribed Passenger Records & Indexes)  ( Learning Center: Tips for Locating Your Ancestor's Passenger Arrival, by Juliana Smith)
(Liverpool Maritime Archives and Library Guide: Official Records of Passengers) (Mary's Genealogy Treasures: Immigration, Naturalization, Passenger Lists and Ships) (Worldwide links to passenger lists sites and useful information) (New England Historic Genealogical Society Guides: Passenger Ship Lists for the Eighteenth Century, Passenger Ship Lists for the Nineteenth Century and Passenger Ship Lists for the Seventeenth Century) (Lloyd’s Register Foundation: Information sheets: Passenger Lists) (Lloyd’s Register Foundation: Lloyd’s Register of Ships online: How to access the historical Lloyd's Register of Ships. Links to volumes of the Lloyd’s Register of Ships which are fully accessible and searchable online. Resources include the 1764 Register Book) (Guides, forums and links) (Knowledge Base guide to passenger lists and Scottish emigration) (U.S. National Archives guides to immigration records) (Southern Cross Resource Finder: Catalogue specialising in locating repositories in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe holding records and material on Australia and New Zealand)

Online Databases

UK/Ireland (UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960. This database is an index to the Board of Trade’s passenger lists of ships arriving in the United Kingdom from foreign ports outside of Europe and the Mediterranean, extracted from TNA series BT 26. Exceptions to this are vessels that originated outside of these areas but then picked up passengers in European or Mediterranean ports en route. Names found in the index are linked to the original image of the passenger list) (UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960. This database extracted from TNA series BT 27 contains passenger lists recording the names of people leaving from UK ports for destinations outside of Europe. It includes not only British citizens but also others who travelled through the UK on their way to other destinations) (Travel & Migration Records: Datasets include Outbound Passenger Lists,1890-1960. The dataset includes passenger lists in extracted from TNA series BT 27 and includes long-haul voyages to destinations outside Britain, Europe and the Mediterranean. Countries that feature strongly include Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA. Irish ports before partition in 1921 and all Northern Irish ports after partition are covered. The lists also include those travelling onwards from British ports) (Immigration, Emigration and Travel: Passenger Lists, 1896-1929: The Outbound Passenger Lists provide details of people leaving from or moving through the United Kingdom by sea as kept by the Board of Trade extracted from TNA series BT 27) (Moving Here: Inward passenger lists transcribed from TNA series BT 26 with original images, 1948-1960)
Irish Abroad (Passenger list search) (Ulster Historical Foundation: Emigration Records including passenger lists) (Irish Family History Foundation: Ship Passenger Lists. The lists are records mostly of passengers on ships from Irish and British ports to ports in North America, United States and Canada) (UK departure passenger lists, 1890-1960 to destinations outside Britain and Europe extracted from TNA series BT 27) (British Origins: British & Irish Passenger Lists 1890 & 1891) Lists (Ulster Ancestry Free Genealogy Pages. Links to Passengers Lists) (Scots Abroad databases: Includes Scots in North America, Emigrants' Guides to North America, Scots in Australasia, Emigrants' Guides to Australia and New Zealand and Emigration from Scotland: Emigrants' Correspondence)
(Highland and Island Emigration Society Passenger Lists, 1852-1857. Society assisted 4919 men, women and children to leave western Scotland for Australia. Their details were recorded in the Society's passenger lists) (University of Aberdeen: Scottish Emigration Database: Details of passengers who embarked at Glasgow and Greenock for non-European ports between 1 January and 30 April 1923, and at other Scottish ports between 1890 and 1960. The information has been extracted from passenger manifests held at TNA in series BT 27. It contains the records of 21,090 passengers) (Highlands and Islands Emigration Society Passenger Lists Index, 1852-1857. Established to promote Highland emigration to Australia)
(Irish Genealogy: Online search facility allowing users to search across a number of databases from different suppliers covering the following sources: 1901 and 1911 census returns; Griffiths Valuations; Tithe Applotment Records; Soldiers Wills; Military Archives; Ellis Island Records; Castle Garden Records; Ireland-Australia Transportation Database) (Transatlantic Migration From North America To Britain & Ireland 1858-1870. The index extracts from the passenger lists details of all the ships, their voyages, and their passengers)
Canada (Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild: Transcribed passenger lists mainly to Canada) (Passenger Lists covering arrivals to Canada, 1865-1922) (Home Children, 1869-1930: Lists of juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from Great Britain) (Immigration & Travel records including passenger lists) 
Australia/New Zealand (Transcribed passenger, convict and crew lists of vessels arriving and departing from Australia and New Zealand, 1788-1968. The site also includes details of the ships and shipping movements. Much of the site's content is available on CD) (Immigration & Travel records including passenger lists) (Australian Immigration Collection 1788-1923: Includes Convict Transportation Registers, Registers of Land Grants and Leases, Passenger Lists, Musters, Census Returns)
(1881 British Census, Crew and Passengers on Ships Arriving in New South Wales. Discover your ancestor missing from the 1881 British census in this index of crew and passengers arriving in Sydney, Australia from January to March of 1881)
(Victoria Inward Passenger Lists 1839-1923. This index contains the records of over two million passengers who arrived in Victoria between 1839 and 1923. Passenger lists vary widely in size, length, and level of detail, as there was no standardised format. Some record only a minimum of information about the passengers, while others are quite detailed) (Victoria Outward Passenger Lists 1852-1915. This index contains the records of passengers who, between 1852 and 1915, embarked on journeys departing from Victoria and arriving in ports across Australia and around the world) (South Australia, Passenger Lists 1847-1886. This is an index of South Australian passenger lists, consisting mainly of British immigrants arriving in South Australia under assisted passage schemes)
America (Immigration Center: Database of information on 11 million immigrants entering New York through Castle Garden between 1820 and 1892 extracted from original ship manifests. Castle Garden, now known as the Castle Clinton National Monument, is located in Battery Park, a waterfront park at the tip of Manhattan. The park, monuments and website is operated by the educational corporation called the Battery Conservancy. Following the closure of Castle Garden in 1890, immigrants were processed at Ellis Island. Enhanced browsing and searching of the database can be carried out at Stephen Morse's ' One Step' Search Pages) (Ellis Island Passenger Search, 1892-1924: Free access to transcripts and original images of ship's passenger lists covering some 22 million people who entered America through Ellis Island/Port of New York. Some passengers were only visitors and some failed to settle. New legislation in the 1920s reduced immigration and Ellis Island shut in 1954. Enhanced browsing and searching of the database can be carried out at Stephen Morse's ' One Step' Search Pages) (New York Passenger Lists Quick Guide 1820-1957) (One-Step Ellis Island, Castle Garden & ship's manifest Search Forms) (Irish Immigrants to New York, 1846-1851) (Migration & Naturalization: Various passenger lists including: New York Book Indexes to Passenger Lists, 1906-1942; New York Passenger Arrival Lists [Ellis Island], 1892-1924; New York Passenger Lists [Castle Garden], 1820-1891; New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957; New York, New York, Index to Passenger Lists, 1820-1846; Germans to America Index, 1850-1897; Italians to America Index, 1855-1900; Russians to America Index, 1834-1897) (Immigrant Servants Database: Details of individuals who travelled to colonial America between 1607 and 1820 as indentured servants, redemptioners [a person who worked as a servant to pay for the cost of the voyage] and transported convicts. About 50 per cent of the individuals listed do not appear in Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, which is considered one of the best sources of immigrant lists. Those only suspected of being servant are excluded. Slaves and poor orphans have been filtered out. Expect to find the name, date of birth, address and occupation of servant; the colony and date of servitude; the port of departure, place of arrival, year of immigration, name of ship and length of indenture) (Free access to the Port of Boston Passenger Manifest, 1848-1891) (Immigration & Travel Records: Records include passenger arrival records, naturalisation records, border crossings, emigration records, passports, convict transportation records) (New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. This database is an index to the passenger lists of ships arriving from foreign ports at the port of New York from 1820-1957. In addition, the names found in the index are linked to actual images of the passenger lists) (Internet Archive Genealogy: Free online access to digitised resources including: Passenger and Crew Vessel Lists for New York, NY 1897-1957; Passenger Lists of Vessels for Baltimore and Philadelphia Passengers arriving in the St. Albans, VT District) (Worldwide links to passenger lists sites and useful information) (Links to free Ships' Passenger lists);;;; (19th Century Germanic Immigrants to USA; Searchable database of records on passengers who arrived at the United States between 1850 and 1897and identified their country of origin or nationality as German or Germanic. The data can also be searched online at the U.S. National Archives website)

CD Roms

Genealogical Publishing Company (Immigration/Passenger Lists/Naturalizations. Various titles including The Complete Book of Emigrants by Peter Wilson Coldham and The Collected Works of David Dobson)
Ozships (Australian Shipping Arrivals and Departures 1788-1968: Over 100,000 arrivals and departures for Australia and New Zealand including ship's captains, crew, passengers and convicts with details of the ships and shipping movements)
Great Migration Study Project (The Great Migration Books and CD-ROM. The aim of the Great Migration Study Project is to compile comprehensive genealogical and biographical accounts of every person who settled in New England between 1620 and 1640)