Passenger lists – a useful resource

A boarding pass from the Titanic Experience, Cobh, Eire

A boarding pass from the Titanic Experience, Cobh, Eire

This week’s guest blog is from Family Detective researcher, Kassie Foran:

Over the summer I visited the Titanic Experience in Cobh, near Cork, Eire. This was the final embarkation point for the ship, before its fateful journey across the Atlantic. One of the many interesting features of the museum was that they gave you a boarding card as your entrance ticket, displaying the name of a real passenger who boarded from that port.

The final installation in the museum was an area where you looked up the name printed on your ticket, and read about their fate. There was information available about each of the passengers, including their purpose of journey, and information about their travelling companions. Our tickets were for poor Dennis Lennon, a third class steerage passenger who was heading to New York, and his sister Mary. Sadly neither Dennis nor Mary survived.

Titanic Passenger List

When researching your own family history, passenger lists are a useful tool to help fill in more of your family’s story. Passenger lists provide plenty of useful information including name, age, travel dates, ports of departure and arrival. Some included hometown and nationality. Family groups travelling together were typically recorded alongside one another, and occasionally ‘missing children’ can appear if they were born and died between censuses.

For one Family Detective project we were researching the story of a husband and wife, but were unable to find their marriage, and they only appeared on one census. By widening our search to include passenger lists, we found the record of the wife travelling under her maiden name to Burma. Further research turned up a marriage record for the couple in Rangoon, and then subsequent passenger lists showed the married couple travelling together. Later travel records gave further insight into family life, as we discovered the wife and children leaving Burma during the hot summer season and returning to the UK. And later, the wife coming to the UK with the children and then returning by herself to her husband in Burma after leaving the children at boarding school.

Passenger lists can also be found on the following websites:

Find My Past

Family Search

Olive Tree Genealogy

National Archives USA

National Archives UK

And don’t forget, you could win a year’s subscription to either Ancestry or Find My Past in our free competition – for details click here.

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