Ten Pound Poms

March 31, 2008

The phrase ‘Ten Pound Poms’ derived from the Britons who emigrated to Australia following World War Two on the Australian government’s assisted passage scheme.

The purpose of this scheme was to enlarge Australia’s population whilst supplying workers for the country’s growing economy and industry.

Britons were offered a way out of the rationing and deprivation of post-war life, shown visions of glorious sunshine and boundless possibility by a government desperate for an influx of labour.

They were offered the dramatically reduced fee for their passage only on the condition that they stay in Australia for a minimum of two years, or pay the full £120 fare back. This fee was prohibitively expensive for most.

The scale of the migration was such that some former troop ships were converted and dedicated to carrying Britons to their new home, such as the S S New Australia, formerly the Monarch of Bermuda.

As well as searching by name, it is possible to search the Passenger Lists by ship

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Search the Passenger Lists by ship name

One of the most high-profile participants in the scheme was Albert Grassby, who emigrated in 1960 and went on to serve as Australian Minister for Immigration.

Grassby can be found in the new decade of the now completed Passenger Lists;

Passenger Lists - Albert Grassby

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One family that took advantage of the scheme was the Gibb family, from Didsbury, Manchester. The brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin would go on to find fame as The Bee Gees.

Passenger Lists - Gibb family

Another notable emigrant to Australia in the new decade was Carol Jones, formerly of Glamorgan in Wales. She married Ron Minogue and in 1968 gave birth to a daughter, Kylie, who would go on to become one of modern Australia’s most successful entertainers.

Passenger Lists - Jones family

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Carol Jones and her family can be found in the last decade of the Passenger Lists on ancestorsonboard.

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Passenger Lists statistics and graphs

March 25, 2008

Now that the Passenger Lists are a complete set we’ve been looking at trends and patterns in the long-distance movement of people by ship from the UK.

The overall number of passengers travelling for each 5-year period from 1890-1960 can be viewed below. Please note that the last bar is actually a six- rather than a five-year period (i.e. 1955-1960 inclusive).

Passenger Lists - total number of passengers travelling by decade

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The number of passengers travelling to the five most popular destinations, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, on the Passenger Lists can be seen here:

Passenger Lists - passengers travelling to the big 5 destinations

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Below is a graph showing the movement of passengers from the UK to the United States of America. It is worth noting that after WW1 and the Russian Revolution the USA looked to restrict immigration – the 1921 Quota Act restricted it to 3% of its foreign-born population of 1903 and the 1924 Quota Act to 2% of its 1890 population. This reduced its availablility as a destination for UK emigrants.

Passenger Lists - passengers travelling to USA

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This graph is for passengers travelling to Canada:

Passenger Lists - passengers travelling to Canada

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Passengers travelling to Australia:

Passenger Lists - passengers travelling to Australia

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Passengers travelling to South Africa:

Passenger Lists - passengers travelling to South Africa

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Passengers travelling to New Zealand:

Passenger Lists - passengers travelling to New Zealand

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Passenger Lists now complete with launch of the final decade

March 18, 2008

Search for ancestors from 1890-1960

The last decade of the Passenger Lists has now been added, allowing you to search from 1890 all the way up to 1960, for ancestors leaving the UK. There are now more than 24 million passengers, across 164,000 exclusive passenger lists.

The 1950s – Elvis, Egypt and Emigration

The 1950s is often seen as a conservative period, in relation to the more radical 60s. Despite this it saw the birth of the teenager, with Rock ‘n’ Roll music emerging from America, the ‘Beat’ writers and the seeds of the Civil Rights movement. The intensifying Cold War between the USA and the USSR was played out in a race for Space: by the decade’s end Sputnik I had been launched.

Britain’s prestige was dealt a blow with the Suez Crisis, in 1956. Rationing was slowly ending, National Service was in place, wide-scale rebuilding after the devastations of World War Two were bearing fruit and thousands of ‘Ten Pound Poms’ took the opportunity to start afresh in Australia. Commercial sea travel was in its last days, with air travel becoming more affordable and prevalent from the 1960s on.

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Notable passengers on board in the 1950s

There are lots of famous faces and notable names in the final decade of the Passenger Lists. One of Hollywood’s greatest stars, Gregory Peck, can be seen aboard the Queen Elizabeth in 1950:

Passenger Lists - Gregory Peck

Matt Busby, the manager of Manchester United for many years can be found travelling with his team in May 1950, where Manchester United undertook their first tour of the States. Busby, whose tragic ‘Busby Babes’ died in the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, led the club to success in the European Cup in 1968.

Passenger Lists - Matt Busby

Other notable passengers in the 1950s include Max Factor, Gloria Swanson, Cecil Beaton, Jack Buchanan and Bill Haley.

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Find your ancestors in the Passenger Lists

Search by person or by ship name alone. You can now also narrow your search with the name of a travelling companion. A comprehensive guide to searching the passenger lists can be viewed here

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Our premium Explorer Subscription offers you unlimited access to over 500 million records on findmypast, including the passenger lists, and costs £89.95 for 12 months – the equivalent of just £7.50 a month. The Voyager Subscription gives you 30 days’ unlimited searching of all the Passenger Lists for only £14.95. You can also view the Passenger Lists on a pay-per-view basis. It costs 10 units to view a transcription and 30 units to view, print and save the full-colour digital images.

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Jewish refugees

February 11, 2008

As the Nazi Party’s anti-Semitic agenda became clearer and more brutal, thousands of Jews fled Germany and its neighbouring countries. Following Kristallnacht in November 1938, the need to emigrate in order to avoid persecution became more urgent.

The 1940s Passenger Lists contain many Jewish individuals fleeing Europe for America and Australia. One example is a voyage made by the Brittanic on 3 May 1940 to New York. The ‘alien’ section of the Passenger List reveals a large number of Jewish passengers, many of them merchants. Most are from Germany and Austria.

Passenger Lists - Jewish refugees

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Some of the passengers are described as having their last UK address as the Council for German Jewry’s Kitchener Camp, in Richborough, Kent:

Passenger Lists - Kitchener Camp

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The Kitchener Camp provided accommodation for almost 15,000 Jewish men, despite it having been designed to house only a fifth of that number. The camp was disbanded in June 1940 as, following the evacuation of Dunkirk, German and Austrian nationals were viewed as ‘enemy aliens’ and were subject to internment.

8,000 of the ‘enemy aliens’ were deported to Australia and Canada as the threat of German invasion increased, to ensure that they couldn’t pose any threat to national security.


New decade added to the Passenger Lists 1940 to 1949

January 31, 2008

Findmypast.com has added another decade of records to the UK Outbound Passenger Lists currently available. Records now include 20 million names within 137,000 passenger lists spanning 1890 to 1949.

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1940s – Horrors, Hitler and the aftermath

The first half of the 1940s was one of the darkest periods in history, with global war causing millions of casualties and the horrors of the Holocaust. Buoyed by the USA’s entry following the attack at Pearl Harbor, the Allies eventually secured victory in Europe. Victory in Japan came only after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Following Armistice the world looked once again to rebuild: the ‘Iron Curtain’ descended in the East leading to the beginnings of the Cold War. Thousands of women left their families and homes to start a new life in Canada, America and Australia with the soldiers they had met and married. ‘Home Children’ were sent away to Canada for a better life, with mixed results. Commercial travel increased, as did the possibility of travelling for business, to compete in sports and other events.

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Notable passengers on board in the 1940s

One man whose influence on the decade cannot be overestimated appears in the passenger lists, travelling to America in 1946. Winston Churchill M P, following defeat in the 1945 election as the nation looked toward the social reforms of Attlee’s Labour Party, can be seen with his wife, valet and maid on board the Queen Elizabeth:

Passenger Lists - Churchill

The American film star Spencer Tracy may be seen on the Queen Mary:

Passenger Lists - Spencer Tracy

Whilst the famous sculptor Henry Moore can be found travelling to New York:

Passenger Lists - Henry Moore

Other notable names include Walt Disney, Elia Kazan, Benjamin Britten and Joan Fontaine.

Search the Passenger Lists now

Find your ancestors in the Passenger Lists

Search by person or by ship name alone. You can now also narrow your search with the name of a travelling companion. A comprehensive guide to searching the passenger lists can be viewed here.

Start Searching Now

Our premium Explorer Subscription offers you unlimited access to over 500 million records on findmypast, including the passenger lists, and costs £89.95 for 12 months – the equivalent of just £7.50 a month. The Voyager Subscription gives you 30 days’ unlimited searching of all the Passenger Lists for only £14.95.
You can also view the Passenger Lists on a pay-per-view basis. It costs 10 units to view a transcription and 30 units to view, print and save the full-colour digital images.

Search the Passenger Lists now


Domestics in the Passenger Lists

October 23, 2007

The Passenger Lists on ancestorsonboard.com allow you exclusive access to records which help to fill in the blanks in your family tree, to trace ancestors emigrating to start a new life and moving around for work.

Just as importantly, the Passenger Lists can also provide a fascinating insight into the way that your ancestors lived their day to day lives.

One trend, particularly in the Passenger Lists from 1890 – 1910 is the presence of domestic servants, valets and maids travelling with individuals or families.

These domestics were often noted down simply as, for example, ‘Mrs Cooper’s servant’ or tagged on to the end of a list of the family e.g. ‘and maid’.

Passenger Lists - servants

Passenger Lists - Rawson servant

Passenger Lists - valet

The anonymity of the servant classes did have some benefits however.

Whilst their being noted on the Passenger Lists as simply someone’s valet or manservant doesn’t help their descendants looking for their records, they were often able to travel first class, a luxury they would never have been afforded on their own steam.

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John McCormack – a long way from Tipperary

September 20, 2007

John McCormack was one of the most highly acclaimed singers of his generation, recording and releasing hundreds of classical, traditional and popular songs.

Born in Athlone, Ireland, McCormack won the gold medal for tenors at the Irish National Music Festival (Feis Ceoil) in 1903, at the age of 19. Following this he travelled to Italy to be trained by Vincenzo Sabatini, a noted singing coach.

Success and accolades followed; McCormack was soon singing with the Royal Opera, their youngest ever principal tenor at that time, and releasing records which sold in great numbers.

His repertoire included traditional and nationalist Irish songs such as ‘The Wearing of the Green’, ‘The Rose of Tralee’ and ‘Macushla’; he was a keen supporter of Home Rule for Ireland.  McCormack was the first singer to record ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ which was the biggest hit of 1915 and a popular marching song with soldiers on the Western Front.

McCormack travelled extensively to perform, visiting America, Australia and even Japan, becoming an American citizen in 1917.

He can be seen in the new decade of the Passenger Lists, travelling with his wife to the States in 1934. He is listed as Count John McCormack and she as Countess. The ‘Count’ appendage refers to a Papal title given to him by Pope Pius XI to recognise his generosity towards Catholic charities.

John McCormack

It is worth noting that, although Irish born, the McCormacks are both noted as being citizens of the U.S.A. in the Passenger List entry, due to their naturalisation there.

Visit the website of the John McCormack Society here.