Outbound records

This guide was last updated in 2009

An excellent place to start your search is at www.ancestorsonboard.com.

On this commercial website you can search indexes and view digitised images of passenger lists for outbound voyages from the UK between 1890 and 1960 for vessels travelling to destinations outside Europe and the Mediterranean.

These lists therefore include the popular emigration spots of the US and much of the British Empire. You can search these records by name, year of departure, port of departure, name of ship, destination and travelling companions.

The information contained in the records varies, but should at least include the dates of departure and arrival, the name of the ship, destination and the names of the passengers – but there may be much more.

Remember to distinguish between the origin and destination of the vessel and the section of the trip for which your ancestor was on board. They may not have embarked or disembarked at the terminus.

Many records from before this period or for vessels travelling to destinations within Europe either do not survive or can be difficult to use without knowing precise information about date and port, but it is worth having a look at The National Archives guide at www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/RdLeaflet.asp?sLeafletID=106 to see what is available that may be relevant to you.

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