How to look for records of... Passengers

How can I view the records covered in this guide?

View online

How many are online?

  • None
  • Some
  • All

Order copies

We can either copy our records onto paper or deliver them to you digitally

Pay for research

Use our paid search service or find an independent researcher

Visit us

Visit us in Kew to see original documents or view online records for free

The majority of inward passenger lists from 1878 to 1960 and outward passenger lists from 1890 to 1960 have survived (see below). There are very few records in The National Archives of passengers before 1878.

What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • the name and year of birth of the passenger
  • the name of the ship they travelled on
  • the ports of departure and/or arrival

What records can I see online?

Incoming passenger lists (1878-1960)

Search and download lists of passengers arriving in the UK from ports outside Europe and the Mediterranean between 1878 and 1960 (BT 26) on the (£) website.

Outgoing passenger lists (1890-1960)

Search and download (£) lists of passengers leaving from UK and Irish ports and travelling to places such as America, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia between 1890 and 1960 (BT 27) on the website.

Certificates of alien arrivals and returns and papers (1810-1869)

Search and download certificates of alien arrivals (HO 2) and returns and papers (HO 3) on (£). The records can be searched by name of alien, date and port of arrival and country/place of origin.

Aliens’ entry books (1794-1921)

Browse aliens’ entry books, 1794-1921, including indexes to certificates of alien arrivals (HO 5/25-28) on (£).

Hamburg passenger lists 1850-1934

Search and browse passenger lists of ships leaving Hamburg in Germany on (£). Although most passengers travelled beyond Europe, a significant number sailed to the UK. The records are in German.

What records can I find at The National Archives at Kew?

Records of the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (1940-1959)

Search Discovery, our catalogue, in DO 131 by name for case histories of all the CORB children evacuated overseas during the Second World War.

To access these records you will either need to visit us, pay for research (£) or, where you can identify a specific record reference, order a copy (£).

What records can I find in other archives and organisations?

Passenger lists and records in overseas libraries and archives

Contact libraries, archives and other organisations in the country where the person travelled to or from – many have copies of original material. Major ones to try are the Library of Congress, Washington, the US National Archives and Records Administration, the Ellis Island Foundation, New York, Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, the National Library of Australia, Canberra, the State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, Archives New Zealand, and the National Archives of Ireland.

What other resources will help me find information?


Look at the Ships List website for information about passenger lists to Canada, USA, Australia and even some for South Africa, as well as immigration reports and newspaper records.

Did you know?

UK passenger lists do not record travel within Europe unless a ship called at more than one European port before travelling further afield.

Passenger lists are not held by The National Archives after 1960, when air travel became more common. No air passenger lists have survived.

For records of passengers after 1960 it may be worth contacting the relevant shipping line.