Brick Wall

What do Miss Barbara Clark (prison officer, 27, of Aylesbury), John Woodrow (rabbit catcher, 21, of Lighthorne, Warwickshire), 40-year old Glaswegian dairymaid Miss Elizabeth Barr, and Rufus Workman (33-year old fireman of London N15) all have in common? They all left Britain in 1923 to start a new life in New Zealand. We do not know whether they made a life there, or found the land not to their liking and returned home or maybe tried their luck in Australia. But these and hundreds of other Britons on this ship, and on hundreds of voyages like it, took this step and caught the boat to Auckland, Wellington or Port Chalmers in NZ, or to other ports in distant lands.

The point is that we all have brick walls on our trees. We all discover people who we can trace no further in the records in the British Isles. Many of these persons will have emigrated and, for each one between 1890 and 1960, the outward-bound passenger lists in the BT27 series on ancestorsonboard will open up a new avenue of enquiry for the family historian to consider.

The image shows the final page of the passenger list for the voyage of the New Zealand Shipping Co’s steamship RMS Remuera which took Clark, Woodrow, Barr and Workman to New Zealand. This is a typical summary page, which shows the shipping clerk’s pencil and ink workings as he reconciled the numbers of tickets sold with the passengers who boarded. You can see that 566 “souls” boarded, which converts to 500 “statute adults”. An adult is defined as a person aged 13 and over, and equates to one “statute adult”. A child is a person aged between one and 12 years and counts as half a “statute adult” when it comes to calculating the number of “statute adults”. An infant is under the age of one year and, although counted as a “soul”, is excluded from the “statute adult” tally.

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