Monday, June 2, 2008

New records on Ancestry Library

You can now search NSW Assisted Immigration Passenger Lists 1828-1896 and NSW Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists 1826-1922 on Ancestry Library. While it makes searching a lot easier, just using a name search, there is still not a lot of information there, especially in the Unassisted Immigrant Passenger lists, where first names can be hard to come by.

Early immigration records can be challenging at the best of times. Convicts are reasonably easy – there are plenty of records for them – after all it was somebody’s job to keep a watch on them - but free settlers are a different kettle of fish. Because free passengers paid their own way, the authorities weren’t terribly interested in them and during the 1850s with the influx of people during the gold rushes, they actually stopped collecting names and just counted heads.

Assisted immigrants fared better in terms of records. They had to meet specific qualifications in terms of health, age and occupation, which in turn required record keeping. Another category is ‘Crew’ – the marines/soldiers and crew needed to manage prisoners, or man ships on the journey here. Assuming they didn’t jump ship, change their name or give false information about themselves, records exist for ship’s crew.

Don’t forget your local archives authority – in NSW indexes can be found on-line at

There are also British Army WWI Service Records; England and Wales Births, Deaths, Marriages to 1983 uploaded onto Ancestry library.

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