Hero photograph
Troopship Magazine

Back to Your Roots: Genealogy Update

Lorraine Johnston, Heritage Librarian —

Troopship Magazines are a largely untapped genealogy resource.

Did you know that troops on board ships, bound to, and returning from, the theatres of war, often produced on-board publications? These can be a rich source of contextual information for genealogy and sometimes include embarkation lists and/or signatures collected from the troops on board. They contain a wide range of material. The stories, cartoons, poems and skits recorded attitudes and feelings about places left behind and speculation about the places they were heading toward, as well as the life and military disciplines on board ship. The Dunedin Public Libraries’ collection of World War 1 troop ship magazines has 105 publications from outward bound and 18 from return draft voyages. The publications range from mimeographed hand-written, hand-illustrated sheets, through typescript sheets to typeset multi-page publications.

You can see the full range of these publications on the library’s “Scattered Seeds: He Purapura Marara” website.