The following announcement was written by Ancestorsonboard.com:
From today U.S. and Canadian citizens can carry out a full online search of all ship passenger records for vessels leaving British ports (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) on voyages to North America and the rest of the world. The easily-searchable, user-friendly database covers journeys taken between 1890 and 1960 and can be accessed at www.ancestorsonboard.com.
The website, developed in association with The National Archives of England, Wales and the United Kingdom will be an invaluable resource for U.S. and Canadian citizens interested in tracing their British and Irish ancestors who immigrated to North America up to 120 years ago.
Ancestorsonboard.com will open up easy, online access to new avenues of research for family historians, demographers and migration specialists alike. Of particular interest will be the ability to trace family who entered the U.S. via Canada and therefore didn't register at Ellis Island or other U.S. ports - if they departed a UK port anywhere en route to the U.S., they will be on this new website.
In addition, visitors to the site can also trace relatives who migrated from Germany, Italy, Russia, France and other European countries via the United Kingdom. Many European emigrants traveled to Britain to take advantage of cheaper and easier ship journeys to the United States and Canada and the ship records will help people to trace the journeys of their forefathers.
Ancestorsonboard.com will provide access to records of passengers on all ships leaving England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, beginning with records from between 1890 and 1899. The high quality, digitized, ship passenger records in full color digital images contain over 1.5 million pages, listing the 30 million passengers who traveled on these long-distance journeys from UK ports. They include passenger records from the period of mass migration to the United States between 1900 and 1914 when an estimated average of almost 900,000 people arrived into the United States from across the globe every year*.
Every ship passenger record contains the names of each passenger, the name of the ship, the date and UK port of departure as well as the destination port. The records may also include the address, date of birth, marital status, occupation and nationality of each passenger, providing key details of information that could help uncover more branches of your family tree and further insights to your family's history. The passenger lists also include records of the first transatlantic tourists, businessmen on long-distance trips and diplomats.
Ancestorsonboard.com will also prove useful to general historians and celebrity spotters. Some of the passengers listed on the ship records include Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini and Matt Busby and the Manchester United football team, David Beckham's former club, heading to the U.S. for a friendly soccer match, to name a few.
For family history enthusiasts, the records also provide a new link to the past for those who previously haven't been able to search further back than U.S. or Canadian records, enabling them to browse the records by an ancestor's name or by the name of the ship they may have traveled on. The site also includes those who left for destinations all over the world, including South America, Africa, Asia and Australasia.
Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com, says: "The availability of the passenger lists from ships that left British ports in this period is an invaluable tool for people tracing relatives they believe may have left the UK during this period. The passenger records may very well provide a missing link for many genealogists who have hit a brick wall in their research, as well as helping those outside of the UK to trace back to their British and European heritage.
"Previously these records were only accessible from The National Archives in London but now everyone can easily research their British ancestors' voyages over the Internet from the comfort of their own home, from anywhere in the world."
Dan Jones, Head of Business Development at The National Archives, says: "The launch of this service will unlock a hugely valuable and rich resource for genealogists and social historians around the world, and further demonstrates The National Archives' commitment to working with key partners in the private sector to promote online access to its most popular records."