Having mentioned the difficulties inherent in published passenger lists, we come to original handwritten lists.
Firstly, these are not complete or cover all arrivals/departures, certainly as far as Natal records are concerned.
The page at left shows arrivals during 1845, early for Natal, and gives an idea of the lack of legibility - though the writing itself is not bad. Trawling through an entire register of similar entries would be time-consuming and hard on the eyes. There was no consistency in the way passengers were listed and seldom are any initials offered.
We do get the date of arrival and name of ship, sometimes the tonnage, and the captain's name. Occasionally we learn when the ship departed the port again and what her destination would be.