Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Your Family Left England and you can't find evidence of them arriving....

Finding your cousin's family...

 is the newest addiction after you master your own line.  Finding them on a Ship Manifest in the 1800s will guide you to the port where they settled.  You can check census data from that point on in the neighboring counties of the port.  Many times, families lived within the same "ward" or neighborhood.  You might see two families with the same last name on the same block.

But here is a puzzle.

   What do you do when you can't seem to locate the ship manifest showing what port?  It is possible that they arrived NOT at Ellis Island, which opened Jan 1, 1892, but Arrived in Louisiana?  Stranger things have happened!  That is what happened to me.  I kept looking on the Eastern Seaboard and came up with vague facsimiles of my family, close names, close ages, but I wasn't convinced that was them.  Since my tree is public, a distant cousin of mine had the answer.  They had landed in New Orleans on December 5, 1883.

But what if you can't find it?  Then you can follow what you DO know.  You see them embarking from London, on the RMS Atlantic, so research the SHIP, not the people


The Steam-ship "Atlantic," Wrecked on Mars Head on the Morning of April 1, 1873, a wood engraving published in Harper's Weekly, April 1873

"RMS Atlantic was a transatlantic ocean liner of the White Star Line that operated between Liverpool, United Kingdom, and New York City, United States. During the ship's 19th voyage, on 1 April 1873, it ran onto rocks and sank off the coast of Nova Scotia, killing at least 535 people. It remained the deadliest civilian maritime disaster in the Northern Atlantic until the sinking of SS La Bourgogne on 2 July 1898 and the greatest disaster for the White Star Line prior to the loss of Titanic 39 years later."
 - from Wikipedia, re RMS Atlantic

For passenger searches, pictures of ships, etc., including the items listed below, try this site for a great deal of knowledge!


  • Photoship
  • local images (formerly      KinshipsPrints)
  • TheShipsList
  • GreatOceanLiners
  • Palmer
  • GreatShips
  • OceanLiners
  • NorwayHeritage
  • Ancestry (subscription required)
for a picture of the ship named

For the "Ellis Island" site you must enter the complete name of the ship.
For the other sites, you can enter a single letter or possibly nothing at all and get a list of available ships.

Steven Morse has put a great deal of work into this research and is to be commended.

So questions to ask yourself - did those cousins end there on the rocks in Nova Scotia?  Did they settle there and now you know why?  Did a rescue ship take them to a port in New York? (Check port manifests)

I'd say you have quite a story to write about your family.  Get Busy!

To learn more about Ellis Island try this site


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