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Most family historians are keen to find their ancestor's name on a passenger list, particularly when the voyage signified the start of a new life a long way from home. It is not always possible to locate passengers for a variety of reasons; some passenger lists, especially early ones, have not survived; not all passengers were listed, particularly if they travelled steerage class; and crew members and the military were often not included. Sometimes, passengers are listed but are difficult to identify. For example, it is quite common to see entries such as Mr Smith or Mr and Mrs Brown and children.
- Use the Library catalogue to find material relating to passenger lists. For example, the Library holds some published lists for specific ships. Search under the name of ships, countries or ports with keywords such as emigration, immigration, immigrants, passenger lists. Examples of keyword searches include: Darwin passenger lists, Scotland emigration
- National Archives of Australia - holds immigration and naturalisation records, including passenger lists, from the late 1800s onwards. Some material has been digitised and is available through their website. This site includes a Passenger arrivals index for ships arriving in Western Australia 1921-1950 and aircraft arriving at Perth airport 1944-1950.
- Passenger lists leaving UK 1890–1960 (BT 27) - trace people sailing from Britain to non-European ports from 1890 to 1960. This database is available on both Findmypast (accessible onsite at the State Library) and Ancestry Library Edition. This is an extremely useful source for finding ancestors’ voyages to destinations such as New Zealand, South Africa, the United States, Canada and, of course, Australia.
- UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878–1960 (BT 26) - this database, available on Ancestry Library Edition, records those sailing into Britain from ports outside Europe and is useful for ancestors who may have travelled backwards and forwards between Britain and other countries. The library edition of this subscription database is available to use within the State Library building, as well as in most public libraries.
- Australian shipping arrivals and departures, 1788 to 1968 - this site has an alphabetical list of over 92,000 passengers and crew. There are also lists of arrivals and departures arranged chronologically giving the name of the ship with date and port of arrival or departure. Some shipping for New Zealand is also included.