Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Ancestors on Board

Very exciting developments for those of us who want to track any of our ancestors who emigrated from Britain to start a new life in the colonies at the turn of the last century.

Last week passenger lists became available on the website giving details of those who left by ship between 1890-1899 and I hope it won't be long before the next tranche (possibly upto 1914) is available.

To date I've only managed to trace registration of my grandfather's birth online (born London 1881) but could verify little else about him. His family had emigrated from Poland a generation or so before and he (with some siblings) emigrated in turn: to South Africa in 1902.

When further details become available online I should be able to find out (armed only with his surname) from which port he embarked, on which ship, in which class and with whom.

As the old Board of Trade records can reveal (in some cases) such details as passenger's employment, adresses, etc I may find even more sources of information available to me. Fingers crossed. This is fascinating stuff for those who are interested in tracing their forebears but also for those whose interest is in migration and even social change.

If you're lucky enough to find records about your family on this database please do let me know. And the next time you curse your computer for its many frustrations stop for a second and mull over the wonders of the world wide web.


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