Surviving the journey

This guide was last updated in 2009

The accommodation on voyages overseas was frequently overcrowded and with poor ventilation, diseases such as cholera and typhus reached epidemic proportions and many emigrants died as a result.

The National Archives houses records of passengers who died from 1854 to 1972. These were created following the Merchant Shipping Act 1854, which allowed for the compilation of births, marriages and deaths of passengers at sea from ships’ official logs.

These records are in TNA series BT 158, BT 159 and BT 334. Copies of some are available to search and download at the commercial site findmypast.com.

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