New decade added to the Passenger Lists 1940 to 1949

January 31, 2008 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.

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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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Children of the Empire

July 4, 2007

Find the Empire’s Children in your family tree

Starting on Monday 2 July at 9pm a new six-part Channel 4 television programme called Empire’s Children will be examining the Imperial backgrounds of six British celebrities, including Dame Diana Rigg, David Steel, Jenny Eclair, Chris Bisson, Shobna Gulati and Adrian Lester. The programme will be looking at the last days of the British Empire and the impact that it had upon modern Britain.

Imperial records on

With you can investigate your own connections to the Empire and discover ones that you didn’t even know existed. The exclusive Passenger Lists on currently cover every long-haul journey leaving the UK from 1890-1929 and include nearly 16 million names, detailing journeys to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South America, West Indies, Africa and many more besides. These full-colour, digital images make it easier than ever before to trace ancestors who left the UK for a life abroad or to serve the Empire for a few years. Search the Passenger Lists now.

Migration records

As well as the Passenger Lists, also contains a great number of other resources for tracing Children of the Empire. Search the Register of passport applications 1851-1903 as a perfect companion to the earlier passenger lists. Findmypast also holds a number of lists and registers for the East India Company, the India Office and the Bengal Civil Service. Search them now.

Overseas Birth, Marriage and Death records

Aside from Migration records, also hold extensive Consular and Overseas records. Find ancestors who were born, married or died abroad including our BMD’s at sea indexes.

Visit the website of Empire’s Children here

The Quarrier Children

December 6, 2006

Everyone here in UK knows the name of Dr Barnardo’s but there were several other Victorian and Edwardian era charities with similar philosophies and aims. One was the Orphan Homes of Scotland, which had been set up in Glasgow by one William Quarrier in the 1870s and became known simply as “Quarriers”. One of the first BT27 passenger lists from 1891 to be transcribed included an appended three-page list made up entirely of boys, given in order of descending age from 18 to 6 years old.

At the top of the first page “Quarriers party” was written in large letters and in such a way as to make it clear that the name would be familiar to anyone reading the document at that time. The boys were travelling together from Glasgow to Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, one of many such parties of impoverished or orphaned boys sent by the charity to start a new life in Canada.

From Halifax they would have been dispersed across Canada in farms and homesteads. To find out more about the Quarriers, go to their website at or to the family history society created by descendants of the original children