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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Finding an Outbound Ships Passenger List from America or Canada

B.G. Asked:
During the mass emigration to America (1880-1930), hundreds of my relatives passed through Ellis Island and other ports. Many made multiple trips of longer or shorter duration back home, as evidenced by marriages and births in the old country and subsequent re-arrivals in the USA or Canada. Available databases focus on the outward trip.

What are missing are the manifests of the return trip to Europe, which would define the duration of visits. These would also help find people who seem to have dropped from the records, leaving me wondering which continent to look on.

Can you tell me what resources might be available for departures from USA and Canada and where they would be accessible? Outward-bound, my relatives used many different ports, so returns (arrivals in Europe) would be similarly diverse.

Olive Tree Answer: Hi B.G. Neither America nor Canada kept their outbound ships passenger lists. However all ships carrying passengers in or out of any British port were required by law to deposit an official passenger list with the relevant port authorities

The records for all these ship passengers travelling between 1890 and 1960 survives within the collection of original British Board of Trade passenger lists. Until recently the only place they could be searched (there was no index) was in person at the Public Record Office in Kew, England. The good news is that brought these lists (and more) online and indexed them.

Search for an ancestor in the UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 These new passenger lists include OUTBOUND lists from Canada and America as well as other countries such as Australia. There are some problems with these passenger lists and you can read about the problems and how to work around them at Caveat Part 1: re the new Inbound UK and Inbound Canada Ships Passenger Lists and Caveat Part 2: re the new Inbound UK and Inbound Canada Ships Passenger Lists posted on my Olive Tree Genealogy Blog in October.

You could also try Outbound Ships Passenger Lists, an ongoing Project at The Genealogy Spot

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the answer. 1) What percentage of ships used a UK port as a stop between initial and final destination? 2) Only 3 European ports are listed in the database description (Bremen, Bremerhaven & Cherbourg) and Mediterranean ports are specifically excluded. Any comments regarding Hamburg, Trieste, Fiume, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Boulogne, Le Havre, etc.