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Thursday, November 12, 2009

From Canada to Australia - Finding a Ships Passenger List

Fred's Question:
I am trying to find how my Gfather Charles Hayes came to Australia form Canada in 1906 ,we have been told a lot different stories,it appears he married in Newcastle sometime in 1906.His death papers stated that in 1915 when he died he had been in Australia 9 years,he had 3 children in Australia as my gmother was born Newcastle area. my Gfathers date of birth according to his death papers was 1880 and born in Toronto, papers stated that his father was William Hayes and mother May A Cleary. Any help or direction would be greatly appreceated by all 11 of us and our offspring.

Olive Tree Answer: Dear Fred - It seems you have some good clues to go on, although you have to remember that the death papers may not be accurate. The information in them was not given by your grandfather (the deceased) and depending who the informant was, and how much they knew about your grandfather, will indicate how valid the details might be.

Having said that, you will want to use the 1906 year as a starting point for your search for immigration records. Allow a few years either side to be safe. Of course if you could find his marriage to your grandmother, you could narrow the timeframe! Have you searched the Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths for New South Wales for marriages resources? You didn't provide me with Charles' wife's name so I can't say if any of the 3 hits I got are for your grandfather.

I should also point out that it is easy to forget that the person you are asking for help may not be familiar with the local geography, but it's very important to provided all location details. For example I have no idea where Newcastle Australia is, but I needed to know to direct you to the correct area for BDM. I wasn't going to go hunting but decided this was a good opportunity to give readers a little reminder that you should never make the person helping you work harder than necessary! A search online provided me with the fact that Newcastle is in New South Wales District but it would have saved me time if that information were provided to me.

But back to finding a ships passenger list - you will either need to find a ship outbound from Canada or inbound to Australia from 1904-1908. The online UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 on Ancestry also show ship arrivals in Australia so they may be worth a search. There is also the New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922 I also like Cora's Web for finding what is available in online ships passenger lists to Australia.

There are also the online Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1954 which might help indicate when your grandfather arrived in Australia.

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