Monday, 8 November 2010
Many migrants have been landing on British shores for centuries from the early invaders through to merchants, slaves, refugees and workers.
Many immigrants did so fleeing religious persecution or war such as the Jewish refugees in World War II or earlier with the Huguenots in the 17th century. The Aliens Act in 1836 forced legislation to record each migrant arrival giving the date of arrival, port of entry, name and occupation. This often meant an abundance of written records until the individual went through the “naturalisation” programme and became a citizen and entitled to more rights. Many of these records are becoming available to search online.
Ancestry.co.uk and The National Archives are popular sites to visit but there are lesser known and useful websites.
Two useful websites to search are:
The Moving Here website is searchable and original documents can be viewed and downloaded
The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild website can be searched by port of arrival or departure with over 11,000 passenger manifests