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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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.

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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.

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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Prince Aly Khan – divorce and diplomacy

October 5, 2007

Prince Ali Solomone Khan, known popularly as Prince Aly Khan, was the son of Aga Khan III and is perhaps best known for his association with the sport of horse-racing and his playboy lifestyle.

Khan’s first wife was Joan Guinness, nee Yarde-Buller, whom he married in May 1936, just days after her divorce from Loel Guinness. 

Khan and Guinness’ relationship had begun during her first marriage, with the pair reportedly having ‘occupied a hotel room together from 17 May until 20 May 1935’. Khan was named in the proceedings of the divorce.

A list of divorce and matrimonial causes for 1858-1903 can be searched on findmypast.com. 

The pair can be found travelling together aboard the Colombia in the new decade of the Passenger Lists on ancestorsonboard.com, prior to Guinness’ divorce. Click on the image to enlarge.

Aly Khan Joan Guiness

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Khan and Guinness divorced in 1949, with Khan going on to marry the Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth in the same year.

The early hedonism of Aly Khan’s life meant that his appointment, in 1957, as the permanent spokesman for Pakistan to the United Nations came as a great surprise to many. Equally surprising was the aptitude for the role that he displayed.

Khan was elected to the post of vice president of the United Nations General Assembly in 1958. Tragically, only two years later, he died following a car accident.


Passenger lists to Argentina

September 28, 2007

Contrary to the impression sometimes given, Britain’s relationship with Argentina is as complex and multi-faceted as that with any other country. Military conflicts in 1806/07 and, more importantly for the modern memory, in 1982, and a football match in 1986, colour the picture but, when the bigger view is taken, it is clear that mutual enmity has not been the predominant emotion.

Britain was quick to recognise the newly independent Argentina in 1825. It did so because it recognised its own interests, both the opportunities for trade and the strategic need to pre-empt the United States in South America. British capital and goods flooded in and British communities developed, for instance in Buenos Aires (which was already 3,000-strong in the 1820s). Throughout the nineteenth century, Britain’s so-called informal empire – the regions where the country held economic sway – was at least as important as its actual empire.

British directors and investors effectively ran, and engineers and other technicians built, most of the large enterprises in Argentina, such as the railway, in the mid-19th Century. At the same time, Argentinean beef, mutton and grain were exported to Britain. The result was that by 1880 the Argentine Republic was “more important to the British economy than Egypt or China, or even Canada” (Ronald Hyam, Britain’s Imperial Century, 1815-1914).

Passenger Lists - British Officers to Argentina

This began to tail off in the Edwardian era but even as late as the eve of the First World War in 1914 British investment in Argentina (£319 million) was the same as that in South Africa, not far short of that in Australia (£350 million) and very significantly more than in New Zealand (£62 million) (Nigel Dalziel, Historical Atlas of the British Empire).

When World War One came in 1914, significant numbers of British in Argentina volunteered. The attached page of the passenger list of the Royal Steam Packet Co’s Meteor’s voyage to Argentina in July 1919 shows British officers and families repatriated at British government expense.

The BT27 passenger lists show a wide range of people travelling to and from Argentina. Many of the occupations given are related to the exploitation of the pampas – sheep farmer, ranch owner, wool buyer, estanciero – or to technical expertise – Cable & Wireless, railway official, civil engineer, accountant.

Some of the forenames of people travelling out to Argentina indicate earlier connections with the country – for instance, Carlos, Eduardo, Florencia, Orlando, Santiago. This is particularly true of the Welsh – see the Welsh in Patagonia blog for more information on the Welsh community. But don’t be surprised if, when looking at passenger lists for ships bound for Argentina, your search picks up a Francisco Smith, a Carlos Evans, a Juan MacDonald or a Catalina Murphy.

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New decade added to the Passenger lists – 1930-1939

September 18, 2007

Findmypast.com has added another decade of records to the UK Outbound Passenger Lists currently available. Records now include 18.4 million names within 125,000 passenger lists spanning 1890 to 1939.

The 1930s – an era of depression and despots

The 1930s were a decade that began with the Great Depression, in the wake of the Wall Street Crash, and ended in war. The global economic crisis saw the rise of extreme politics, the birth of fascism and the end of the prosperity and liberalism of the previous decade.

People were still travelling for work, and pleasure, but from 1933 the rise to power of Hitler saw thousands of people beginning to flee the Nazi regime. These migrants weren’t offered a great deal of help; Canada, for example, claimed that it could offer entry only to “certain classes of agriculturalists’, whilst Australia proclaimed that it would be unfair to give one class of non-British subjects preferential treatment.

Notable passengers on board in the 1930s

A great many recognisable figures from sport, entertainment and the arts can be found in the 1930s passenger lists.
Arthur “Harpo” Marx can be seen travelling to New York in 1931

Harpo

Whilst the British tennis legend Fred Perry is found aboard the Queen Mary in 1937

Perry

Other notable passengers include Laurel and Hardy, Somerset Maugham, Bob Hope, Cecil Beaton and Helen Keller.
A key figure in the 1930s was the American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose New Deal helped to pull the States out of Depression. His son, Franklin Delano Jr. can also be found

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.