Irish Passenger Lists
Official passenger lists from Ireland only exist from 1890 and they are held in the Board of Trade records (reference BT27) in the National Archives, Kew, Surrey, England (www.nationalarchives.gov.uk). These lists are arranged monthly by port of departure. Findmypast.com, in association with the National Archives, have now digitised and indexed 164,000 original passenger lists which name 24 million long-haul passengers who left from 35 ports in the British Isles (which includes the Republic of Ireland until partition in 1921) between 1890 and 1960. The indexes to these passenger lists are searchable online, for free, at www.ancestorsonboard.com. These passenger lists (which record UK addresses from 1922) are searchable by name, port, ship and date.
As a general rule, prior to 1890, you are more likely to identify passengers at the port of arrival as opposed to the port of departure. You should, therefore, check the website of the appropriate National Archives: National Archives and Records Administration in the USA at www.archives.gov; Library and Archives Canada at www.collectionscanada.gc.ca; National Archives of Australia at www.naa.gov.au; and Archives New Zealand at www.archives.govt.nz.
In the USA, official arrival records of immigrants were kept from 1820. Ancestry.com’s ‘US Immigration Collection’ (www.ancestry.com) contains indexes to passenger lists of ships arriving from foreign ports to Boston from 1820 to 1943 (3.8 million immigrants), Philadelphia, 1800 to 1945 (1.6 million), and New York, 1820 to 1957 (83 million). Information contained in the index includes: given name, surname, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or last country of permanent residence, destination, arrival date, port of arrival, port of departure and ship name. Furthermore, the names found in the index are linked to actual images of the passenger lists. The ‘US Immigration Collection’ also names 16.3 million passengers arriving in the UK (from foreign ports outside of Europe) between 1878 and 1960; 8.4 million ‘unassisted’ immigrants to New South Wales, Australia from 1826 to 1922 and 450,000 ‘assisted’ immigrants to New South Wales from 1828-1896; and 7.3 million passengers arriving at Canadian ports between 1865 and 1935. All library members in Northern Ireland have free access to this database of passenger lists, through ‘Ancestry Library Edition’, at their local library.
A database of published arrival records to North America in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries has been compiled in the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. This index to 4.5 million immigrants who arrived in United States and Canadian ports from the 1500s can be accessed in the ‘US Immigration Collection’.
The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild has transcribed over 11,000 passenger lists on their website www.immigrantships.net. By the mid-19th century, 70% of Irish emigrants entered the US through New York. The bulk of these passengers to New York are recorded on two websites; www.castlegarden.org for arrivals prior to 1892 and www.ellisisland.org for the time period 1892 to 1924.
Passenger departure lists naming Derry emigrants have been extracted from four different sources for the years 1803-1806, 1833-1839 and 1847-1871, and published in three books by the Genealogical Publishing Company. The details are:
- Irish Passenger Lists, 1803 – 1806: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Ireland to America Extracted from the Hardwicke Papers.
- Irish Emigration Lists, 1833 – 1839: Lists of Emigrants Extracted from the Ordnance Survey Memoirs for Counties Londonderry and Antrim.
- Irish Passenger Lists, 1847 – 1871: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of the J. & J. Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line.
A site developed based on the NARA data: www.famineships.info contains almost 400,000 records of individuals from Ireland who passed through various ports such as New York, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans, etc. It is similar to data found on Ancestry.com, etc .. however .. this site is free, no charge for full access to records.
Derry Emigration Lists
· Irish Passenger Lists 1847-1871: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of the J & J Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line
Brian Mitchell (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1988)
This book, with index, records the names and addresses of 22,199 emigrants who sailed on J & J Cooke ships, between 1847 and 1867, from Derry to Canada (Saint John, New Brunswick and Quebec) and USA (Philadelphia); and of 5,184 emigrants who sailed on ships of William McCorkell & Co., between 1864 and 1871, from Derry to Philadelphia and New York. On the return voyage J & J Cooke ships were usually loaded with a cargo of timber and McCorkell ships with grain.
· Irish Emigration lists 1833-1839: Lists of Emigrants Extracted from the Ordnance Survey Memoirs for Counties Londonderry and Antrim
Brian Mitchell (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1989)
This book identifies, by townland and parish, the names and destinations of 1,922 emigrants and of 270 seasonal migrants (travelling to harvest work in England or Scotland) who departed County Derry in the years 1833 to 1835.
· Irish Passenger Lists 1803-1806: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Ireland to America Extracted from the Hardwicke Papers
Brian Mitchell (Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1995)
This book identifies 4,500 emigrants in 109 sailings from Irish ports to USA between March 1803 and March 1806. The top four departure ports were Dublin, with 28 sailings, then Derry with 26, Belfast 22 and Newry 19.
All emigrants who departed from Derry, via Moville, for USA and Canada, between 1890 and 1939 on the ships of the Allan Line, Anchor Line and Anchor-Donaldson Line are recorded in the database of passenger manifests at www.ancestorsonboard.com . An examination of this website reveals that 4,364 passengers with the surname Doherty (the most common surname in Derry city today) sailed direct from Derry to North America in the fifty-year period 1890 to 1939 inclusive. The top four destinations were: 3403 (78%) to New York, 749 (17%) to Boston, 76 to Quebec and 73 to Halifax.
By the mid-19th century, 70% of Irish emigrants entered the US through New York. The bulk of these passengers to New York are recorded on two websites; www.castlegarden.org for arrivals prior to 1892 and www.ellisisland.org for the time period 1892 to 1924. Over 20 million emigrants arrived at New York’s Ellis Island Immigration station between 1892 and 1924.
For those wishing to research the family history of emigrant ancestors from the city and county of Derry a useful starting point is the database of Derry Genealogy Centre which can be examined at derry.rootsireland.ie.