Treasure Chest Thursday: Auckland Area Passenger Arrivals (Part 2)

As mentioned in my 18 December blog about searching for passenger lists, particularly for those of us with ancestors who arrived through the port of Auckland, things are looking up!

Landing passengers, c.1910.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19100721-3-1 
There is another online source which might help. The free website offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints now includes NZ passenger lists digitised from microfilms held by Archives New Zealand. An online name index is gradually being built up by volunteers (they still want help if you feel like joining in) and is worth checking. If you don't get a hit on the family name, there is an alternative, but be warned it is not a quick fix.

It is possible to browse through the more than 350,000 images of ship passenger lists for the period approximately 1855 to 1973. Now, I am not suggesting this for someone who hasn’t a clue on what ship or in which year their ancestor came into Auckland. However, if you have got a hit in either the Auckland Area Passenger Arrivals Index, or the online newspapers' shipping news, which means you have a ship name and date of arrival, then the task, although onerous, is possible!

The images of passenger lists are arranged by port and year, with different sequences for Auckland. For instance there is 'Auckland',  'Auckland (inwards)',  'Auckland (other ports also listed)', 'Auckland and Hawkes Bay' and so on. Each of these categories needs to be checked in turn to see if they cover the year in which you are interested. Where that year is listed you need to check through the listings of that year to see if your ship name appears. Where it does, scrolling through the images will reveal the original record and date of the passenger list(s). But be warned. Some vessels, particularly Trans-Tasman ones, made multiple trips into Auckland in the same calendar year so care is needed to check you get the right date of arrival.

So what do you get as the reward for all this effort, I hear you wondering?

Image from NZ, Immigration Passenger Lists,

Well, the results are variable. Some passenger lists are hardly more useful than the brief stuff in the papers, but others yield details such as ages of passengers and ethnicity. Some include occupation and (at least by the 20th century) some give a basic address from their place of origin.

The results may be rewarding or disappointing, but that is the essence of all family history research, is it not?

Good luck!


Oh, and I should add, these search strategies and techniques work for other ports as well. For a discussion about finding passenger lists and some of the online sources that exist for other NZ ports, see my blog post from 25 May 2011.

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