The departure of many Scottish families from the Highlands and Islands in the 1850s can be traced in fascinating records released on ScotlandsPeople in February 2019.

Almost 5,000 people who left Scotland to make a new life in Australia between 1852 and 1857 are recorded in the archive of the Highland and Island Emigration Society in National Records of Scotland.

The Society assisted would-be emigrants in taking passage on ships sailing to Australia from British ports. Their journeys to a better life were often dangerous and sometimes fatal. Among the thousands who left Scotland were the McKinnon family from Snizort on Skye and the McQueen family from St Kilda.

The HIES offered to emigrants the opportunity of a new life in Australia. This new resource offers people across the world who are interested in the Scottish diaspora the opportunity to search the enhanced database of the emigrants and to see images of the original documents. The all-new database supersedes the transcript that has been available through the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) website. The entries and images are all free to search and view.