Before the age of digitised records, piecing together a family tree across generations and continents was an almost impossible task. Now thanks to Ancestry.com.au it’s all at your fingertips – bringing to life our ancestors’ adventures and stories that were once buried in archives across the globe.
Ancestry.com.au offers the world’s largest online collection of historical records, and this Easter long weekend, over 43 million immigration records will be free to search.
They include the newly launched Fremantle Passenger Lists, providing a crucial link that will help millions of Australian sleuths trace the pivotal turning point in their family history.
JOURNEYS TO A NEW LAND
It’s estimated that one in four of Australia’s 22 million people was born outside Australia. Before airlines offered a viable alternative, migrants arrived by ship. Fremantle Port opened in 1897 and became a major gateway for new arrivals, either those in transit to other Australian ports, New Zealand or settling in Western Australia.
The Fremantle Passenger Lists cover migration from 1897 to 1963, providing vital clues for those tracing their ancestors’ passage to Australia. The Fremantle Passenger Lists add a wealth of new information to ancestry.com.au’s existing immigration records from Australia, the UK, the US and other countries. This extensive database, created in collaboration with the National Archives of Australia, allows people to track the routes their ancestors took, providing valuable insights into how and when they arrived, as well as intriguing snippets about their past. Other immigration records included in the free access campaign including passenger arrival records, outbound passenger lists, citizenship and naturalisation records, convict transportation records, border crossings and passport applications. Twentieth century immigration records can be highly detailed, including names and addresses of other family members, in both the old country and new.
TEN POUND POMS
One of the biggest migrant waves was in the fifties and sixties, the era of the so-called ‘Ten Pound Poms’, when one million British people paid just 10 pounds to call Australia home. Some of the celebrated music talent who arrived in this wave include the Manchester-born Bee Gees brothers, Barry, Maurice and Robin, in 1958.
AC/DC’s Bon Scott, and brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, were also expats from this era. In fact, since October 1945 alone, more than 7.2 million people have migrated to Australia, and their details can be found in the unprecedented collection of immigration records available on ancestry.com.au.
UNLOCKING THE PAST
WHEN LYNNE MANNOLINI came across a collection of old photographs and documents belonging to her grandmother, it sparked a quest to discover the stories behind the photos, culminating in a family tree that now stretches back 10 generations. Using the vast resources of ancestry.com.au, Lynne discovered the background to her grandmother’s arrival in Australia in the early 1900s, aged just six. Drawing on census records, birth, death and marriage indexes, and various passenger lists, she has added convicts, policemen and gaolers to her family story. She’s uncovered immigrants from Germany, together with records of their arrival and documentation of their holidays back and forth within Australia.“Each new piece of information opens up a whole new path to follow, so the story continues,” says Lynne.
Enjoy free access to all immigration records this Easter long weekend at Ancestry.com.au. Access starts 12:01am Thursday 17 April and finishes 11.59pm Monday 21 April. You can access the records at www.ancestry.com.au/immigration2014