Monday, January 15, 2007

Passengers from British Isles - Ancestors On Board site

A new web site,, now offers transcripts and images for passengers aboard ships leaving the British Isles. Currently, they have only 1890 to 1899, but plan to extend it to the years 1890 to 1960. From their email to me:
You can now search BT27 UK Outbound Passenger Lists, which are brought to you by in association with The National Archives. Our dedicated team have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make these valuable records available online for the very first time.

Records now available online cover people leaving the UK on long-distance voyages between 1890 and 1899. Passengers include not only permanent emigrants, but also businessmen, workers, diplomats and tourists. You might find anyone from people fleeing persecution in Russia to cowboys returning home to America.

Records vary, but transcriptions usually tell you name, age,
occupation, destination, travel and ship details as well as other people of the same name travelling on the ship.

The information about costs at the Ancestors on Board site say:
It costs just 5 units to view each transcription and only 30 units to view high resolution colour images. Images have been scanned using the latest technology to produce superb quality images from original documents, which in some cases are more than 100 years old.

To purchase units you must register with, or log in if you are already registered, then simply click on the 'buy units' link on the left hand side of the screen. Units are available from just £5 for 50 units.

If you buy more units, the price per unit comes down somewhat to around 8 pence per unit for the package with the most units.

So, the index of available records is free, the transcription for each record costs 5 units (or 50 pence, or about $0.90 US), and the color image costs 30 units (or 3 pounds, or about $5.40 US).

Is this worth it? It really depends on your research needs. If you are looking for passenger records in this time frame, and the information is critical to your search, it is definitely worth it, since the alternative is to go to England and find the microfilm at an office of some sort and probably pay for any transcripts or images you might want to copy.

Note that this Ancestors on Board site is part of the web site which has a lot of British Isles data, including census, civil registration, military records, migration, and more.

I inserted my Seaver surname in the Ancestors on Board search engine, and it found 30 passengers leaving from British Isles ports in the 1890 to 1899 time frame. The index provides limited information (surname, given name, year, departure port, destination country and port). You can view a sample transcription for free, but the sample image requires a download to view it.

I doubt if I will use this resource very much, since I do very little British Isles research, but if I need to use it for client research then I know that it is available at a reasonable cost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Randy -
I continue to enjoy your posts! Quick note on this...I've had the chance to work with this offering for much of the last year while it was under development and am so excited that I can finally talk about it. This was (is) a HUGE undertaking by FindMyPast working with TNA. The scans are, by far, the best I've seen for any record type on the web!! Although the initial site has just the 1890-1899 decade, others will follow throughout 2007 and by years end the entire 1890-1960 will be online. Important Note: Don't dismiss this collection thinking that it's just for those with British roots. ANY ship that originated from or passed through a U.K. port was required to file departure lists, so you may well find plenty of other ethnic groups here.

Also - if you have found a U.S. or Canadian arrival from a U.K. port, you really should find the corresponding departure record. I've seen some great examples of lists that had different information and will try to post a few online somewhere to show the importance of having BOTH the departure and arrival record for your ancestors.

Happy Hunting - -
Dan Lynch
Trumbull CT