Push & pull factors

This guide was last updated in 2009

Once you have a good idea of where your ancestor went and when, it is time to investigate why.

What might have encouraged them to go abroad? Was there a better chance of employment? Had friends or family gone before? Were they engaged in administering the empire or in missionary work? Or perhaps they were fleeing something – the law, persecution, or some kind of dissatisfaction at home.

Perhaps they were merely seeking opportunity and adventure. It may be that from piecing together information from passenger lists and the other recommended sources in the UK and abroad, you can discover or at least make intelligent guesses about your ancestor’s motives. You might even compare their success and standard of living to that of relations who were left behind.

Overseas records
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