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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 01:18 GMT
Historic ship records go online
The Titanic
Titanic, as seen in the film of the same name
Details of more than 30 million people who emigrated from Britain by ship are being published on a new website.

Previously family history researchers would have had to make the journey to The National Archives in London to read the lists.

But now people will be able to access the information online from their home or local library.

Details of people who left Britain by sea between 1890 and 1960 will appear at

Passengers on the Titanic, which sank in 1912, children from the Barnardo's and Quarriers' children's homes who were sent to the USA and Canada and Jewish migrants fleeing to South Africa from Russia are among those on the 1.5 million pages of lists.

The database includes records from the period of mass migration between 1890 and 1914 when around 131,000 people emigrated from Britain every year.

'Missing link'

A series of records called BT 27 has been digitised and will be put on the website, in stages, over the next six months.

BT stands for Board of Trade, and 27 refers to the shelf number at The National Archives where the originals are held.

Name, age, address, occupation, marital status, departure date and destination of each passenger are the kind of details that are likely to be on the lists.

The pay-to-view database, which took a 125-strong team nearly a year to complete, was developed by family history website and The National Archives.

Rabbit catcher John Woodrow
Fireman Rufus Workman
Prison officer Barbara Clark
Dairymaid Elizabeth Barr

Elaine Collins, commercial director at, said: "The passenger records may 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 heritage."

Dan Jones, head of business development at The National Archives, said: "These records were previously only available on site at The National Archives and we hope that digitisation will open up a hugely valuable resource for genealogists and social historians all over the world."

The list includes departures from ports in England, Scotland and Wales as well as Irish ports before 1921 and ports in Northern Ireland after 1921.

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