07/03/2019
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Highland and Island Emigration Society records released by ScotlandsPeople

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A free to use database of Scottish families who left the Highlands and Islands in the 1850s has been released by ScotlandsPeople.

The details of more than 5,000 people who left Scotland between 1852 and 1857 are available to search. The records were made by the Highland and Island Emigration Society, a voluntary organisation whose aim was to alleviate 'destitution in the Highlands by promoting and assisting emigration'. Many of those who left the country in this period were forced from their homes during the Highland Clearances.

Thousands of families were assisted by the society, whose passenger list records are one of the few sources for emigration held by National Records of Scotland (under reference NRS reference, HD4/5). The society gave preference to assisting families as opposed to single people and had a strict eligibility criteria which you can read more about on ScotlandsPeople.

How will the database help me?

You can freely search and explore the database and see images of the original documents. All entries and images are free to search and view.

The passenger list information includes:

  • Surname
  • Forename
  • Age
  • Residence

The records are arranged by ship name, arrival port and departure port. Individuals are generally listed as part of a family group and family historians may well strike gold through details such as health, appearance and life situation, through poignant notes such as the 'very poor and destitute' McSween family who left Skeabost on Skye on 3 August 1852, sailing from Liverpool to Sydney.

     QUICK LINK: Five resources to find your Scottish ancestors for free on Ancestry

FURTHER READING

The Scottish Clearances: a History of the Dispossessed, 1600-1900 by T M Devine

With thanks to ScotlandsPeople for details of this database.

Image: Sketches from my logbook, the emigrants' farewell Gebhardt, Rottman & Co, 1855-1865

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