Thursday, 26 September 2013

Brunel Institute offers SS Great Britain look-ups

Blast from the past! I used to live in Bristol (met my wife there!), so know this boat very well...!

Did your ancestor travel on the SS Great Britain?

SS Great Britain. (Wikimedia Commons)
Get in touch with the Brunel Institute and check an ancestor’s name against our historic passenger lists; you might be amazed at what you find. Climb your family tree and connect with your past.

Part of Brunel’s vision, when he watched the SS Great Britain launch into Bristol docks in 1843, was to connect people and families from around the world. 170 years on his magnificent ship is still achieving that goal, but with a modern twist.

The maritime curators at the Brunel Institute are able to very quickly establish whether somebody travelled on the ship, which voyage they were on and what happened while they were at sea. Already they have been able to help many people, from as far away as Australia, track down their relatives.

Joanna Thomas, maritime curator at the Brunel Institute said: “People can get in contact with the curatorial team at the Brunel Institute with just a name to start the process; then we can search our archives and compile information. You just never know where it might lead, or what might be uncovered.”

People can unveil all sorts of information about their family history with a visit to the Brunel Institute; come and unravel your own mystery!

The Brunel Institute, accessible for free, is situated next to the ss Great Britain on the Great Western Dockyard and is home to an extensive archive of documents and artefacts relating to the ship and her history, including passenger and crew lists; which can be used to track ancestors.

For further details visit

(With thanks to Dominic Rowe)


My latest book, Discover Scottish Civil Registration Records, is now available from (print) and (ebook), whilst Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet is available at My next Pharos Scottish course, Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs, starts Nov 13th - see

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