Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Immigration and emigration

This site hold a substantial amount of information useful to the family historian.

Between 1815 and 1929, 11.4 million people left Britain for overseas destinations, part of a European wide phenomenon. Emigration was related to the growth of the international economy and emigrants invariably moved to places where they would expect to find an increase in their incomes. The main destinations for British and Irish emigrants were America and Canada, and later, Australia.

Liverpool was the primary port for emigration, some 60% of emigrants set out from there. The years 1847-1851 saw 2,769 passenger ships sail from Liverpool, carrying 765,159 passengers to ports worldwide. In The 100 years between 1830 and 1930, over a million emigrants passed through Liverpool to start new lives abroad.

Journey conditions
In the early days emigration was an option only for the desperate or very tough. There was little chance of returning home and postal communication was of a poor standard. The trip could take 35 to 40 days on average but up to twice as long in bad weather. Conditions on board were often horrific; especially travelling ‘steerage’ (the cheapest quarters), where malnutrition and disease were rife. In the earliest years emigrants literally camped between decks, sleeping on narrow wooden bunks. They provided and cooked their own food and took their own utensils and bedding. Washing and toilet facilities were minimal. There was almost no privacy and ventilation below deck was negligible. Regulations were gradually passed, however, to improve conditions. For example, in 1842 each passenger had to have at least 10 square feet of space between decks. In 1849 the food ration was to increase and in 1852 sickbays were to be provided. Unfortunately, government regulations for the inspection of emigrant ships were barely enforced because of the lack of officers, so the emigrant’s journey often remained an extremely uncomfortable experience.

For more information go to-
Information Services
Lloyd’s Register
71 Fenchurch Street, London EC3M 4BS, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7423 2531
Fax: +44 (0)20 7423 2039

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