Where can I find Windrush records for family history research?


17 June 2020
After the Windrush scandal that has caused so much anguish for the families affected, concerns have been raised

After the Windrush scandal that has caused so much anguish for the families affected, concerns have been raised over the future preservation of historical paperwork. Read on to find out how and where you can access documents relating to Windrush passengers.

The Windrush scandal

The Windrush scandal, which has seen British citizens of African-Caribbean descent who arrived with their families to help rebuild the UK after World War II wrongly accused of being illegal immigrants, has – in addition to the personal trauma caused – raised fears over the preservation of historical records.

The long-running scandal looks set to continue but in the meantime, it is possible to trace your Windrush ancestors via the below resources. Thousands of landing card slips recording the arrival of the Windrush generation were destroyed by the Home Office in 2010 under the 1998 Data Protection Act, making the below records even more valuable as historic documentation.

Windrush family history resources

The National Archives, Kew

Certain migration records from the ‘Windrush' era have been preserved, held in safe storage in The National Archives, Kew, in the British Transport collections. Principally the UK inbound passenger lists, which cover up to 1960, and include the Windrush passenger list, recording those arrivals at Tilbury in June 1948.

UK outbound passenger lists are also held at Kew. Both inbound and outbound passenger lists have been digitised, covering many decades of history, and are available online as shown below.

Ancestry has UK inbound passenger lists 1878-1960 (ie including the Windrush itself); UK outbound 1890-1960

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Findmypast offers records for UK outbound 1890-1960

TheGenealogist has UK outbound 1896-1909

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Image: photograph FL 9448 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums and in the public domain.