As you may know, we launched our new Australian Immigration Collection last week. These records document the names and journeys of more than 14.5 million people who travelled to Australia between 1788 and 1923 in search of a new life.
But how do you get the most out of this collection? It all comes down to effective searching.
- Search for your ancestors by name and try to narrow the search with their age, dates of arrival, ports of departure or arrival, or country of origin.
- If you’re unsure of the spelling of your ancestors’ name, you can use wildcards to help return possible results.
- Think about how a name might be spelt phonetically; Gallagher and Callachor are the same name, just spelt differently depending upon the accent of the speaker and the ‘ear’ of the transcriber.
- Bear in mind that your immigrant ancestor may not have used the English version of his or her given name and that the surname may also have ethnic variants. This is most likely to be the case in records created when he first immigrated (e.g. passenger arrivals). Learn the ethnic equivalents and try searches in the immigrant’s native language
- Our ancestors didn’t always arrive in Australia in the same place that they settled so think a little laterally about their port of arrival – many people arrived in NSW only to take a costal ship to Brisbane or Melbourne at a later date (or travelled overland) so it always helps to broaden your search if you can’t find someone where you think they should be.
- When you find an immigration document, it’s important to look at the original image, which may contain additional information such as the name and address of your ancestor’s nearest relative, their intended destination in Australia, or names of other relatives travelling with them. If you find a record in an index collection or a transcription that is not linked to the actual record, follow the link to “Learn more about this database” to find out how to order the original record.
- Be sure to note and research the names of witnesses and fellow passengers from the same place in immigration records. They were often relatives, employers, or friends from the immigrant’s previous home. Tracing these individuals in census, directory, or immigration records may help you learn about your ancestor’s life before and after they arrived in Australia.
- Once you find a matching immigration record, save it to your family tree – that way you can provide evidence to back up the info in your family tree, easily share your discover with your family, and quickly find the historical record again later.
These records have already helped many people find ‘loose ends’ in their family tree. Hopefully they’ll do the same for you!
Search the Australian Immigration Collection today.