Map of Australia with Victoria highlightedThere’s no doubt that passenger lists are one record that genealogsts’ crave. Being able to find out then when and where of your ancestors arrival, helps us learn more about them.

Thanks to a deal that findmypast has with the Public Record Office Victoria, and their volunteer transcribers,  we now get online access to over 3.8 million Victorian passenger lists from your own home. These cover passengers inbound 1839-1923 (2,125,578 records) as well as outbound from Victoria 1852-1915 (1,753,919).

Thousands of British and Irish immigrants flocked to Victoria in response to the gold rush of the 1850s. The English had already comprised the largest group to migrate to Australia since the establishment of the first penal colony in New South Wales in 1788, and immigration policies and assistance schemes helped to maintain a steady flow of immigration from both Britain and Ireland to Australia.


FMP - Victoria Passenger Lists
These inbound and outbound passenger lists usually contain the names, estimated birth years, nationalities, native places, month and year of arrival, ship name, destination port and departure port, so they contain a heap of information that can be key to filling in blanks that you may have in your research. As you can imagine, passenger lists vary widely in size, length, and level of detail, because there was no standardised format. As a result some record only a minimum of information about the passengers, while others are quite detailed. Some passengers were listed only under their surname, or their first name initial, or as part of a family group (for example, ‘Mr Jones and family’). Also, women, children, servants and passengers who travelled in steerage were not always recorded on passenger lists.

FMP - Victorian Passenger Index imageCovering both Assisted and Unassisted passenger lists, these records are largely transcripts, though there are some actual images which you are able to view. Images for the rest of the passenger lists will continue to be added in due course.

Assisted passengers or migrants were those who migrated under sponsorship schemes, meaning their voyage was subsidised either fully or partially by the colonial government. Unassisted passengers or migrants were those who paid their own fare or were privately sponsored. And prior to 1852, it was not required for the names of unassisted passengers to be recorded, making it difficult to assess how complete the existing passenger lists are.

If you have a findmypast Australia or findmypast World subscription you will be able to access these records. If not, you can check them, as these and the millions of other records that findmypast Australia has to offer for just $9.95 for a one month subscription.
Click here for the inward passenger lists
Click here for the outward passenger lists

The travel and migration section on findmypast Australia now totals over 24 million records. These, along with over 100 million other records from Australia and New Zealand, can help you dig deeper than ever into your family history.