Welcome to the Ancestry Academy…

September is here and children all over the country are heading back to school. It’s the perfect time to dig out your pencil case and do some learning of your own – in the Ancestry Academy! Whether you’re a new starter or a top set whiz kid, this week’s lessons will help you develop your family history skills and make brand new discoveries.

Wednesday, Third Period, Geography

Immigration records:
Charting your family’s progress

Family history doesn’t just take you back in time – it carries you all over the world as well! Whether your ancestors arrived in Britain from overseas or left our shores for a new life abroad, mapping their journeys will reveal some remarkable and emotional stories.

Teacher’s note: Our UK immigration records are available to Premium and Worldwide members, while our overseas immigration records are exclusive to Worldwide members. You may need to upgrade your membership to complete these lessons.

Too easy? Join the Top Set
Take the advanced lesson

Top set

If your ancestors left our shores it can be difficult to track them down, as their records are probably kept in the country they made their new home. That’s where our Worldwide membership is so useful, as it lets you search records from all over the globe without leaving your sofa!

Let’s say we’ve lost track of our great-grandfather, Albert Henry Heath. We know he was in England in 1901, aged 8. But there’s no sign of him, or his family, after that. Perhaps we can find him abroad?

  1. Too easy?

    1Use the main Immigration & Travel search page. Enter Albert’s name, and we also know he was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 1893. Remember to untick the box ‘Only records from the UK and Ireland’. There are a few entries that look promising. The first result is best of all, as it specifically mentions his birthplace – this is a 1920 naturalisation record from the USA.

  2. Too easy?

    2View the image, and you’ll find an incredible wealth of information, such as his height, hair and eye colours and last foreign address. We can use all this to confirm we’ve found the right person. You can also see Albert’s new address in Tacoma, Washington and his wife’s name, La Eta. Keep scrolling down, and you’ll discover that he sailed from Liverpool to New York on SS Luciana, arriving on 15th November 1904.

  3. Too easy?

    3We can use this detailed description of Albert’s voyage to find a record of his arrival. This time we’ll narrow our search to Passenger Lists. Enter all the information we now know – you can even use ‘Luciana’ as a keyword. You’ll see one match that’s obviously right. View the image and scan through the names to find Albert, aged 11, leaving Liverpool for a new home in the United States.

  4. Too easy?

    4But Albert isn’t the only Heath on the passenger list. Indeed, he isn’t the only Albert Heath! You can see Albert senior, his father, together with his mother Mary and brothers John and Conrad, all bound for New York. We could now look for their naturalisation records, or keep scouring the passenger lists to see what became of the whole family.

  5. Too easy?

    5Instead though, let’s keep tracking Albert in America. We know he settled in Tacoma, Washington with his wife La Eta. So we should be able to find him on the 1920 United States Federal Census. Use his name, birth details, Tacoma for ‘lived in’ and his wife’s name under ‘Family Member’, and you’ll get one clear match. View this image to see a clear picture of Albert’s new life, including his address and occupation (cashier).

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Too easy? See how you do in the Top Set
Take the advanced lesson

Are you finished? Start the next lesson


Emigrant ancestors often return to visit relatives at home – and you can continue to follow their travels in our passenger lists. Albert came back to England years later with a new wife, Catherine. Can you find his record, and tell us the name of the ship he sailed on?

Note down the answer and keep it safe until the end of the week – you’ll be tested on your responses on Friday!



Monday's free period

Prize Draw 1

Family Tree Maker

Win 1 of 10 copies of our latest software

Be one of the first people to get your hands
on the new and improved version of our award-winning family history software. It comes complete with improved integration with your Ancestry.co.uk account, advanced charts and reports, interactive timelines and maps, and many more great new features.
We have ten copies ready to be won.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September

Tuesday’s free period

Prize Draw 2

WDYTYA? magazine

10 subscriptions up for grabs

Trace your family's past and discover your roots with Who Do You Think You Are? magazine. Brought to you by the team
behind BBC History Magazine, and the
official companion to the successful TV
series, WDYTYA? magazine's features
range from military to social history, telling
the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people and how they used to live. We have ten subscriptions to give away.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September

Wednesday’s free period

Prize Draw 3

Worldwide Memberships

Win 1 of 5 annual memberships

Our worldwide membership provides everything you need to trace your family history around the world. Scour the globe
with unlimited access to our entire library
of over 7 billion records, plus guaranteed access to all our new releases. We have
five annual memberships to give away.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September

Thursday’s free period

Prize Draw 4

National Trust passes

Win 1 of 50 pairs of tickets

We’re working with the National Trust to preserve our nation’s history, and help you uncover your family’s place in it. To
celebrate our partnership, we’re giving away 50 pairs of day passes to the National Trust property of your choice. Don’t miss the
chance to experience the history of Uppark, see the beauty of Fountains Abbey, or visit another of the Trust’s 350 properties.

Enter the prize draw

Closing date 30th September