Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.
This database contains passenger lists recording the names of people leaving from UK and Irish ports for destinations outside of Europe. While outbound passenger lists before 1890 have not survived, this collection still covers decades of peak emigration. It includes not only British citizens but also others who traveled through the UK on their way to other destinations.
What You May Find in the Records
There is not a standard form among the lists, so details included will vary. But you may find the following information:
- age at departure
- last address in the UK
- last country of permanent residence
- country of intended permanent residence
- port of departure
- country of departure
- date of departure
- port of destination
- country of destination
- ship name
- shipping line
- ship master’s name
The National Archives website provides these interesting details:
Between 1890 and 1920, among the highest tonnage of ships were leaving British ports bound for North America. Many passengers were emigrants from Britain, Ireland and Europe. European emigrants bound for America entered the United Kingdom because travelling steerage was less expensive from a British port than from a port in Europe. The shipping companies imposed restrictions on passengers registering; passengers had to have British residency of six weeks to qualify. Many passengers too impatient to qualify for residency changed their names to avoid detection.
July 2021: We have improved the coverage of records across all years. Included in this update are entries for ‘War Brides’, women who married Allied servicemen during WWII and later travelled to be with their husbands at the end of the war.