26 October 2006

From the U.K. to the world

Genealogists around the world should be delighted to learn of a new resource, AncestorsOnBoard.com.

Some 30 million passengers - among them immigrant Jewish relatives of mine - sailed from various U.K. ports, such as Southampton, Liverpool and others, on their way to America, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, South America and Asia.

Many of our ancestors arrived in the U.K. in transit from Eastern Europe and later took passage to their final destinations.

Previously, the only way to see these documents was to hire a researcher or take a trip to the U.K.’s National Records office at Kew (in London) and look for yourself. This record group - BT27 Outward Passenger Lists - has never been available online or on microfilm.

The records are being scanned and transcribed, says the AncestorsOnBoard Web site, by experienced teams. Manifest images will be available to download, view, save and print. When digitization and transcription is complete, family history researchers around the world will have a valuable resource.

The Web site indicates that the lists cover long-distance voyages made from all British ports from 1890-1960 and, according to researchers who have used the English records, they are more detailed than the New York records.

The site says some passengers in the 1890s-1900s are listed as going to an inland destination such as Chicago or Detroit, indicating that these passengers had purchased all-inclusive tickets covering both sea and rail. Indeed, in examples online, 1890 passengers to Montreal are shown going to Spokane, Washington and Calgary, Alberta via the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The Web site is commercial, but no fee information is listed yet. Stay tuned.

I can’t wait to look for my great-grandfather!

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