Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1887 Passenger List

I have always wanted to know more about Albert and Lydia's voyage to the United States. I had been searching for the passenger list that brought them to America for a long time. So I was very excited when I finally found it in September of this year.

It's a very delicate looking document. It looks like it had been folded up and forgotten! But now that it has been found, anyone with ancestors that came to America on this ship will be happy to see it!

Here is what this passenger list tells us: Albert, Lydia, and Fred set sail from Rotterdam, Netherlands. They arrived at the Port of New York on March 1, 1887. The captain's name was Vis and the ship's name was the SS Rotterdam.  They are listed on lines 36, 37, and 38 as Albert (age 31), Ludia (age 30), and Fritz (age 1 1/2) Elssner.  Albert's occupation is laborer, their country of origin was Germany and their destination was U.S of America.  They had 2 trunks and 2 beds with them.

The column with 'f compartment' in it refers to what section of steerage they were in. At the time of this voyage, steerage passengers were divided into 3 different categories and accommodated 3 separate compartments. The front compartment was usually reserved for single men, the middle for married couples and families, while the single women were in a compartment further aft (as far away from the single men as possible). On this list, I only see 'm' and 'f' so I'm not sure exactly what it means. I'm assuming that 'm' was for single males and 'f' may be for families and females? (I'll keep looking into this and let you know what I find later.)

This list did not give the date that the ship sailed from Rotterdam and I was curious to know how long this voyage took.  New York newspapers used to give details about the ship arrivals and departures so I decided to see what I could find in the newspaper. Since they arrived on March 1, 1887, I started with that date. The Shipping news in the New York Daily Tribune, dated Tuesday, March 1, 1887 lists the Incoming Steamers for that day and the Rotterdam, from Rotterdam, is listed as one of the ships expected to arrive. And on Wednesday, March 2, 1887 the shipping news listed the ships that arrived at the Port of New York on March 1, 1887 and the Rotterdam is of course listed. Here is what it says: "Steamer Rotterdam (Dtch) , Vis, Rotterdam 14 days, with mdse, 48 cabin and 332 steerage passengers to Funch, Edye & Co. Arrived at the Bay at 6:30 a.m."
So they must have departed about February 15th from Rotterdam.

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