My ancestor was born in the Isle of Man, England in1839. He came out to Australia by unknown means and married at Menangle, NSW in 1863. He died in Grenfell, NSW in 1920 by drowning in a dam, aged 80years. Have tried to locate a ship he may have travelled here on but with no luck.Can you help me?

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Hello Jean

The National Archives of Australia is the archive of Commonwealth government records, and most of our records date from Federation (1901) when government functions transferred from the States to the Commonwealth. The shipping function didn't transfer to the Commonwealth until 1923, and therefore, our passenger lists date primarily from 1924 - which is too late for your research.

As you do not know any information about your ancestor's arrival in Australia, but it is most likely he came to NSW as that is where he was married and where he died, I think your best starting point is to start going through the passenger lists from when you think he may have arrived in Australia.  State Records New South Wales have digitised their passenger lists from 1838 to 1896, which you can view online at

For information, the UK National Archives lists of passengers who sailed to Australia as ordinary emigrants start in 1890, which is too late for your ancestor. For more information on passenger lists held in the UK see

Best of luck


(NAA staff)

Hi Jean,

Not all passenger lists have survived and if they paid their own way then often they are not recorded by name.  Records for the 1860's in Queensland and South Australia have a particularly poor survival rate. I see that his surname was misspelt as HAMPSTON when he married so he is possibly hiding behind a transcription error.  A handwritten upper case "H" can also look like "FL", so that is another one you can try.  He may have arrived in any state and travelled overland to NSW - many did after trying their luck on the goldfields in Victoria.




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