· Australia - Victoria · Immigration & Travel

Working with Victoria, Australia passenger lists at ancestry

In reviewing the new and updated collections at ancestry for my Ancestry updates post this week, I noticed that the Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839–1923 collection had been updated.

I then tried to find out exactly what information had been updated, but the “About this collection” didn’t really provide me with any details about how the collection had been updated, just which records were used to create the collection.

Although I have used the indexes at the Public Record Office Victoria website, this index is just a basic index, while the collection at ancestry has additional information, as well as images of the original records.

In 1992, when I first started researching at my local library, I had viewed the Assisted Immigration Index, which was on microfiche, which had provided details about my 2x great grandfather Joseph Whimpey, his wife Margaret, and Joseph’s brother John and John’s wife Caroline, who had travelled to Melbourne in 1841 on the “Ward Chipman”.  I was later sent a printout of this record by a cousin in 1995, as well as an additional immigration record for the family.  I had therefore never bothered to look for the family on the collection at ancestry.

Today, I decided to see if the collection on ancestry had the images for the immigration record for Joseph and John (and which one), and noticed a curious thing.

The original record I had looked at listed John and Caroline with the surname Whimpey, while Joseph and Margaret’s surname was listed as Whimple.  When I typed in John Whimpey in the search form at ancestry, no records came up.  “Well, that’s strange”, I thought.  So I decided to leave the surname blank, and just search for a John who came to Victoria in 1841 on the “Ward Chipman”.  John had been incorrectly indexed at ancestry with the surname Whimping.

My tip therefore is to use the free index at the Public Record Office Victoria website, to find out the name of the ship your ancestor came on, as well as the year they arrived.  Then you can use the collection at ancestry to see if the image for the original record is available.  If the surname has been indexed incorrectly at ancestry, you will then be able to do what I did, and just use the first name, year and ship on the search form.