Australia is famous for its convict beginnings, but it has never really stopped being a nation of immigrants. Since October 1945, more than 7.2 million people have migrated to the country.
Australians can search 275 databases and more than 200 million records dating from 1606 to 1974 to unlock clues about how their ancestors came to live in Australia.
With almost one-third (29 per cent)[iii] of Australians not knowing the details of their ancestors’ arrival in this country, these databases could assist millions of Aussies in uncovering information about how and when their family came to land on these shores.
One in four of Australia’s 22 million people was born outside Australia. It’s no surprise to find that people born in the United Kingdom account for the largest group of overseas-born residents, totalling 1.2 million people. The second largest influx were born in New Zealand, numbering 544,000 people, followed by China (380,000), India (341,000), and Italy (216,000).
Immigration records contain information on migrant ancestors who came from around the globe to build a new life in a new land. These records include citizenship and naturalisation records, convict transportation records, border crossings and passports, and passenger and crew lists from countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, Europe, United States, Canada and several others. This extensive database allows people to track the routes their ancestors took in order to understand how and when they arrived where they did.
Australia has become a melting pot of nationalities, with most residents originally coming from somewhere else.
An example of Ancestry members who demonstrate this include:
Margaret Hardwick from Lismore, NSW, has a family that personifies modern-day Australia. Margaret is a mixture of English, Welsh, and Irish and married a man who had English, Irish, Scottish, French, and Viking blood and is a descendant of a First Fleeter. Their children have broadened the mixture of cultures, and she has five great-grandchildren with a mix of Chinese, Malay, Spanish, Chilean, and Mapuche ancestry.
Ryan D’Lima from Sydney is a first-generation Australian who was born in Mumbai and grew up in Australia. While his ethnicity is part Indian and part Portuguese, his accent and attitude are completely Australian. He loves the Aussie ‘never say die’ culture and feels that this nation is home to a vibrant, multicultural approach that embraces every culture and creates greater understanding among people.
Australians arrived from all over the world for a multitude of different reasons. This collection offers a wealth of knowledge about our ancestors and perhaps into why we are the way we are today.”
To access the collections, please visit http://www.ancestry.com.au/immigration.