A database of millions of immigrants to Australia (1826-1922) will be made accessible online this week to researchers.
Although most free settlers in Australia were British, migrants of all religions and ethnicities arrived from all around the world, including the United States, Russia, India and China.
The database, with 8.9 million names of passengers and crew arriving in New South Walves as free settlers goes online Wednesday, June 4, at Ancestry.com.au. Last year, the site posted the records of 160,000 convicts who were the first arrivals.
For millions of people, Australia was a dream, a hope, a promise - a chance to escape poverty and overcrowding.
According to a company spokesman, the average Australian has a one-in-three chance of having a free-settler ancestor and that some 7 million contemporary Australians were related to early settlers.
Australia is often thought of as being founded by convicts, but most of the early population arrived as free people to either join relatives, own homes, land, or to find gold. And many prominent Australians are descendants of these settlers.
Let me know when you've used this database and what you were able to find. I look forward to reading your comments.