Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland

A guide to researching your ancestors in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, using resources at State Library Victoria.

Immigration records - 1924 onwards

Records of migration to and from Victoria after 1923 are held by the National Archives of Australia (Melbourne & other offices). Some earlier records are also held by the Archives.

Passenger lists

Inwards passenger lists for the port of Melbourne for 1924–64 are available on microfilm at the National Archives. For inwards lists later than 1964 and outwards passenger lists, you will need to search the original records. From the 1960s, cards filled in by the passengers increasingly replaced lists, especially for those arriving by air. Contact the National Archives of Australia for more information about accessing these records.

Migrant selection documents

Migrant selection documents are the documents completed by or for migrants applying to migrate to Australia under one of the many assisted passage schemes that came into place after World War II, including those for resettlement of refugees and displaced persons. Records for assisted migrants who arrived in Australia before World War II may be held by the State Government archives for the state of arrival. Post WWII records are held at the National Archives of Australia.

Migrant selection documents vary in the amount of detail they provide, but they usually include name, address, place and date of birth, gender, marital status and nationality. Other details may include physical description, occupation, education, proposed employment and names of other family members, as well as health checks and photographs.

To find records:

  •     Go to the NAA RecordSearch page and select the NameSearch option
  •     Type in the surname and given name
  •     In ‘Category of records’, select ‘Immigration and naturalisation records’

Records over 30 years of age are available for public access and can be ordered from the NAA. If you cannot locate the relevant record please contact the NAA.

Destination Australia lists features more than 20,000 photographs of migrants who arrived in Australia from all over the world after World War II. You, or someone you know, could be among them.

Resources at the State Library of Victoria

Listing of ships carrying passengers to Victoria 1924-1962
Lists ships arrivals in chronological order, referring to microfilm copies of passenger lists held at the National Archives (Melbourne office).

How did they get here? Arrivals after 1924
This book provides step by step advice for finding passenger records, both for arrivals in Australia, and departures from overseas. It refers to both free and pay-per-view online sources, and to original records.