They Came In Ships
Castle Garden and Ellis Island
The history of immigration spans American history. This movement of people ultimately brought 42 million immigrants into this country. The government passed no immigration laws until 1819 and even then they only covered the standard for steerage conditions on sailing vessels and made provisions that limited immigration records must be kept. Not until 1882 were immigration regulations made at all uniform. During the peak years of immigration, from about 1900 to 1914, as many as 5,000 people a day were processed through Ellis Island.
Castle Garden about 1880
But before Ellis Island, Castle Garden, an old fort on the lower tip of Manhattan (now Battery Park), was designated in 1855 as an immigrant station under state supervision. When the new federal law was passed in 1882, Castle Garden continued to operate under contract to the U. S. Government, but by 1890, it's facilities had long since proved to be inadequate for the ever increasing number of immigrant arrivals.
After a government survey of potential locations, a 27 acres parcel of land called Ellis Island was the site chosen to establish an entirely new U. S. immigration station. The history of Ellis Island tells us that the Dutch had originally purchased the land from the Indians and established the colony of New Amsterdam. It had a succession of owners before the American revolution when Samuel Ellis bought and linked his name to it. New York purchased Ellis Island in 1808 and in turn sold it to the federal government who wanted to build a fort on it. Fort Gibson was fortified just before the War of 1812 but it saw little action during the war. It was used primarily as a munition depot until it was transformed in 1892 into an immigration center. Construction began in 1890 and hundreds of workers labored at a large three-story reception center, hospital for the ill and quarantined immigrants, laundry facility, a boiler-house and an electric generating plant. Smaller buildings included a dormitory, restaurant and baggage station. Over the years, ballast from ships dumped near Ellis Island built it up, and the landfill and completion of sea walls brought it to it's present size. When it was completed and dedicated on Jan 1, 1892, it was a self-contained city. Annie Moore from County Cork was the first person processed at Ellis Island from the SS NEVADA and she was presented with a ten-dollar gold piece. The ships CITY OF PARIS and the VICTORIA were also processed that day. Passenger lists for these and hundreds of other vessels, which entered New York and other American ports, have been preserved on microfilm and are available for those who wish to trace their ancestor's passage to America.
The life of the first station at Ellis Island was short. All the pine-frame buildings burned to the ground in a disastrous fire on June 15, 1897. Construction began immediately to replace the structures with fireproof buildings of brick, ironwork and limestone trimmings. It took 2-1/2 years to complete and the station reopened again in Dec 1900.
Emigration became a topic of conversation in communities all over Europe. The United States promised fulfillment of grand dreams, which could no longer be kept alive in their native lands. For some, it meant religious or political freedom; for others, freedom from conscription. For the majority, it meant opportunity and the chance to improve their economic conditions. However, rumors had circulated about those who were denied entry because they looked suspicious or did not promptly answer the questions of immigration inspectors. The joy and excitement of reaching the "promised land" was mingled with the terrible dread of being rejected. Most had sold all their possessions and property, often going into debt to finance their journey. Yet, they came by the millions.
Passengers of "means" escaped the rigors of the Ellis Island ordeal by being processed aboard the vessel itself, then delivered directly to Manhattan. The poorer classes sat sometimes three to four days in the crowded harbor waiting their ship's turn to disembark passengers. Once on the island, Inspectors who looked for the ill closely observed them and infirm, empty stares indicating feebleminded and shortness of breath of those who climbed the stairs to the registry hall. The room looked like a stockyard with its metal pipe partitions, which were later exchanged for benches.
The Registry Hall was frequently referred to as the "Hall of Tears". It was filled to the walls with would-be Americans wearing numbered tags pinned to their clothes awaiting the battery of legal and medical examinations and hoping to be allowed to stay. Some family members might be accepted and theirs rejected. The painful decision to stay or return with a loved one had to be made on the spot. Some could not face the disgrace or ruin of deportation and it is estimated that as many as 3000 immigrants committed suicide. To enter the U. S. the immigrants knew that one must be disease-free and create the impression that they could make a living. The first doctors they saw made a quick examination and noted any suspicions with a chalk mark on the right shoulder of the immigrant. People thus marked were held back for further examinations by a second group of doctors. Trachoma, a potentially blinding and highly contagious eye disease, was the most common reason for detaining an immigrant. Most though got a clean bill of health and only about two percent were turned back. Once the doctors had passed an immigrant, they then proceeded to the registration clerks where names were always a problem. This is where names were twisted as most immigrants could not spell their name so clerks jotted down names as they sounded. Some name changes were deliberate when immigrants took new names for themselves knowing they had a better chance of getting a job. Once they were passed through here, they went to the baggage room to claim their belongings. Then they went to the money exchange desk where they exchanged their money for American dollars. Next they went to the railroad agent where they purchased a ticket to their destination. If they were bound for other than New York, they traveled by barge to New Jersey rail stations and from there they entered the mainstream of America.
At the end of WWI, many Americans were eager to see immigration restricted. The Immigration Act of 1917 carried a demand for a literacy test and reduced significantly the number of arrivals but only for a short time. The number of arrivals in New York soon climbed again and 500,000 immigrants entered through the Port in 1921. The government then enacted newer and more powerful methods of exclusion in 1921 and again in 1924. Soon the traffic through Ellis Island subsided to a trickle. A final revision of the "National origins" quota system went into effect in 1929 and the maximum number of all admissions was reduced to 150,000. As a result, in Nov 1954, the last immigrant and the last detainee left Ellis Island and the General Services Administration (GSA) declared the immigration center as surplus property.
Ship arrival records had to be filed with the local Custom House. It is estimated that only about 40 percent of those records have survived and was turned over to the National Archives. All ship passenger lists, which have survived, have been microfilmed. Those microfilm copies for the Port of New York between 1846 and 1907 are not indexed. All other ports are indexed. Many immigrants before 1891-92 entered through cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, New Orleans and cities on the west coast of the U.S.A.
Restoration of Ellis Island began in 1982 with the renovation of the Great Hall. A genealogy exhibit where visitors will be able to search for immigrant information is planned. A computer will retrieve data on individuals including the name of the vessel on which they arrived, port of origin, arrival date in New York and other relevant details. It is expected that the number of tourists visiting the reborn Ellis Island will be the same each day as the average number of immigrants who passed through its days of operation as a receiving station.
In your search for your immigrant ancestor, look for Certificates of Citizenship issued to individuals who had completed all the requirements of entry. They were often saved and passed down in families. This certificate may show no more than the name of the immigrant, the country from which he relinquished citizenship, the date of the event and the name of the court where naturalization was finalized. The location of the court is the key to finding additional papers, which may provide more detail. Not all aliens were naturalized but if they were, the documents in court records will provide information necessary to trace your ancestor's Americanization. You may find additional information including port of arrival and name of the vessel. Naturalization laws were not made uniform until 1906. Prior to this time, aliens could naturalize in any court but information varied from court to court.
The National Archives and its eleven branches are natural starting places for obtaining naturalization information. It should be noted that it was usually required that an alien be a resident of this country for at least five years. The Declaration of Intention or "first papers" were completed and filed with a court soon after the immigrant arrived in this country. You might find these in port cities. After the five years stay in America, the immigrant was required to go to court once more and file his "final papers". It was not necessary to do this in the same court as the "first papers". Certain groups of people were naturalized without filing a Declaration of Intention. Wives and children of naturalized males generally became citizens automatically. Those who served in the U. S. military forces also became citizens after an honorable discharge. Military records then become another source of information.
Passenger Lists are available at the National
Archives and at some of its branches. They consist of custom passenger lists,
transcripts and abstracts of customs passenger lists, immigration passenger
lists and indexes to these lists. The records were created by captains, or
masters of vessels, collectors of customs and immigration officials at the port
of entry. They document a high percentage of the immigrations between 1815 and
1914 when most immigrants came to the U.S. Most came through the port of New
York and Ellis Island and there is an Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels
Arriving at New York 1897-1902 however there is no index for New York arrivals
for the period 1847-1896. An alphabetical index of passenger lists for 1902-1943
has been microfilmed. Unless an exact date of arrival is known, it may take many
hours of searching the lists of ship arrivals. For more specific information on
passenger lists, naturalization records, military records and other collections,
consult the Guide to Genealogical R esearch in the National Archives.
Over a million immigrants came to the colonies before 1820 but few were recorded on passenger lists. Most of the known lists have been published and many have been indexed in Filby's Passenger and Immigration List Index and Supplements (11 volumes) but you must know the full name, approximate age and date of arrival, also their nationality. To search the U. S. Customs Passenger Lists in the National Archives after 1820, you must know the full name, age, approximate date of arrival and port of entry. You may find in these records the name, age, sex, occupation, country of origin, port of departure, destination, date of arrival, name of the vessel. Immigration lists or "ship manifests" which began being used in 1883 give more detailed information.
The genealogical treasure house of the world, the Genealogical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)is engaged in the most active and comprehensive genealogical program known to the world. Microfilming is the center of this genealogical operation. Trained specialists throughout the word are micro filming documents; land grants, deeds, probate, marriage, cemetery, parish registers and have accumulated over a millions rolls thus far. They are available in Salt Lake City and through branch libraries across the country. Now there is an extraction program being worked on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where the subject is the records of Ellis Island from 1892-1924. The finished product will become part of Family Search which is the program that includes the IGI, Ancestral File etc. held at Family History Centers. The LDS extraction statistics for 1997 show Ellis Island had 3,553,067 individual entries. Approximately 28% of the Ellis Island project have been completed. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of county naturalization before 1930 for many states and it has most federal court naturalization records before 1930.
Major Ports of Departure from Europe
England: Liverpool, Southampton
France: Le Havre, Marseilles, Cherbourg
Germany: Bremen, Hamburg
Gibraltar: A British colony
Greece: Patras, Piraeus
Ireland: Cobh, Dublin, Galway, Queenstown
Italy: Naples, Genoa, Palermo, Trieste
Northern Ireland: Belfast, Derry, Londonderry
Norway: Bergen, Stavanger, Oslo
Poland: Gdynia, Memel/Klaipeda, Gdansk
Russia: Odessa, St. Petersburg/Leningrad, Riga, Libau/Liepaja, Memel/Klaipeda
Yugoslavia: Rijeka, Fiume
Ports of Arrival into the United
Not all immigrants arrived in the United States. There are ports of entry all up along the East Coast, a few on the West Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Canadian border. Below is a list of U.S. ports for which the National Archives has passenger arrival records.
Beaufort, North Carolina
Boca Grande, Florida
Bridgetown, New Jersey
Bristol/Warren, Rhode Island
Cape May, New Jersey
Charleston, South Carolina
East River, Virginia
Edenton, North Carolina
Fall River, Massachusetts
Frenchman's Bay, Maine
Georgetown, District of Columbia
Georgetown, South Carolina
Havre de Grace, Maine
Key West, Florida
Knights Key, Florida
Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey
Los Angeles, California
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Burn, North Carolina
New Haven, Connecticut
New London, Connecticut
New Orleans, Louisiana
New York, New York
Newark, New Jersey
Newport, Rhode Island
Oswegatchie, New York
Panama City, Florida
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Plymouth, North Carolina
Port Everglades, Florida
Port Inglis, Florida
Port Royal, South Carolina
Port St. Joe, Florida
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Providence, Rhode Island
Rochester, New York
Sag Harbor, New York
St. Albans, Vermont
St. Andrews, Florida
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Johns, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
San Francisco, California
Warren/Bristol, Rhode Island
Washington, North Carolina
West Palm Beach, Florida
Questions and Answers about Naturalization Records
Naturalization records are papers of a court procedure granting US citizenship to non-citizens. They typically include three documents -- a Declaration of Intention to become a citizen, Petition for Naturalization and Naturalization Certificate. Until 1983, the County Clerk, as Clerk of the Court, kept records pertaining to all individuals who applied for and were granted United States citizenship. The records are a valuable source of information about our ancestors. These unique documents are found only in the County Clerk's office and are an irreplaceable treasure.
The long term protection and computerization
of records has been one of my major goals since being elected County Clerk and
with the assistance of the Italian Genealogy Federation of Long Island we
completed a volunteer based computer indexing of all Nassau County
naturalization records. By creating a computer database of these important
records, we are better able to assist residents in learning about their family
The index covers the 420 volumes of
Declarations of Intention and Petitions and includes data on over 100,000
people. Those with an interest in genealogy will find this historical
information of great value.
What are Naturalization records?
Naturalization records are papers of a court procedure granting U.S. citizenship to non-citizens. They typically include three documents -- a Declaration of Intention to become a citizen, Petition for Naturalization and Naturalization Certificate.
What is the difference between a Declaration
of Intention and Petition for Naturalization and a Certificate of
Prior to 1952, a two-step process was
required before an immigrant could become a U.S. citizen. Filing a Declaration
of Intention was the first step. The Declaration is sometimes referred to as the
"first papers." The Declaration could be filed anytime after the immigrant
arrived. Generally, the law required that the immigrant reside in the U.S. 5
years before the Petition for Naturalization, or "second papers" could be filed.
After the formal proceedings by the court, when the immigrant signed the oath of
allegiance, a Certificate of Naturalization was given to the immigrant as proof
of citizenship. The Declaration and Petition remained on file at the court.
Note: After 1952, a Declaration was no longer mandatory although some immigrants
What is a Certificate of Arrival?
In an act of Congress passed on June 29, 1906 which became effective September 27, 1906, documentation was required to be submitted by the immigrant at the time he/she filed a Petition, showing the name under which they arrived, the date of arrival, port of entry and the name of the vessel. This Certificate of Arrival for Naturalization Purpose was issued by the Department of Labor, Immigration Service and is attached to Petitions filed after this date.
What kind of information is included on the Declaration of Intention?
Declarations of Intention usually include: name, address, occupation, physical description, age, birth date, birth place, date/port of arrival, port of departure from which the person left for the U.S., last foreign residence (usually city and Country) signature and date filed.
What information is included in the Petition for Naturalization?
The Petitions after 1906 included all the information required in the Declaration plus information on the applicant's spouse and children. This document also included the names, addresses and occupations of two witnesses provided by the applicant. Data included sometimes differs from and is sometimes more accurate than the data on the Declaration.
Does Certificate of Naturalization include all the above information?
No. The Certificate does have the name of the court, and the Petition number, which can speed your search for the Petition. In addition, the Certificate includes a personal description (age, color, complexion, color of eyes, hair, height, marital status), signature, address, and date naturalized. A photo was included beginning in 1929.
What is the history of this process?
In 1795, Congress enacted a statue requiring a Declaration of Intention to be filed 3 years before admission as a citizen, residence of 5 years in the U.S. and residence of one year in the state naturalized. An oath of allegiance, good moral character, renunciation of any title of nobility and the forswearing of allegiance to the reigning foreign sovereign were required. Before 1906, local, State and federal courts each had their own procedures and required forms for Petitions.
It was not until the law enacted on June 29, 1906 that biographical data of the applicant and the applicant's spouse and children were required. The immigrant's Declaration of Intention and Certificate of Arrival were required to be attached to the Petition for Naturalization because of this law.
Our Ancestors Ships
SS LA GASCOGNE
Ship Andrew Fehrenbach
took from Le Havre, France to New York, New York arriving October 26, 1891
The steamship LA GASCOGNE, built by Forges & Chantiers de la M'editerran'ee, La Seyne, for the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT, or the French Line). Laid down as L'ATLANTIQUE. 7,395 tons; 150,99 meters (495.4 feet) long x 15,91 meters (52.2 feet) beam; straight bow, 2 funnels, 4 masts; iron and steel construction, screw propulsion, service speed 17 knots; accommodation for 390 1st-, 65 2nd-, and 600 3rd-class passengers. 5 January 1886, launched as LA GASCOGNE. 18 September 1886, maiden voyage, Havre-New York. 1894, quadruple-expansion engines by CGT, St. Nazaire; masts reduced to 2; 3rd-class accommodation increased to 1,500. 4 March 1911, last voyage, Havre-New York. 1912, acquired by the Compagnie de Navigation Sud Atlantique; name retained. 2 November 1912, first voyage, Bordeaux-South America. August 1914, French auxiliary cruiser, but soon returned to Company. 26 February 1915, first voyage under charter to CGT, Bordeaux-New York. 16 July 1915, last voyage, Bordeaux-New York (3 roundtrip voyages). 1915, again requisitioned; depot ship at Salonica, Greece. 1919, laid up at Bordeaux. 1 July 1919, arrived Geona to be scrapped.
SS LA CHAMPAGNE
Ship Lawrence A.
Allenbrand took from Le Havre, France to New York, New York arriving September
The ship LA CHAMPAGNE was a 7,087 gross ton vessel, length 493.4ft x beam 51.8ft, two funnels, four masts, single screw and a speed of 17 knots. Accommodation for 390-1st, 65-2nd and 600-3rd class passengers. Built by CGT, St Nazaire, she was launched for Compagnie Generale Transatlantique (CGT) the French Line on 15th May 1885. Her maiden voyage started on 22nd May 1886 when she left Havre for New York. On 7th Aug.1887 she collided with and sank the French ship VILLE DE RIO JANEIRO, sustaining serious damage herself. Rebuilt in 1896 with two masts, new engines and her 3rd class accommodation increased to 1,500. On 17th Feb.1898 she fractured her propeller shaft and drifted until 23rd Feb, when she was sighted by the Warren Liner ROMAN who towed her to Halifax. Her last Havre - New York sailing started on 21st Jan.1905 and she was then transferred to the Mexican service. She resumed Havre - New York for two round voyages in Mar/Apr.1906 and then returned to the Mexico service. In 1913 she was transferred to St Nazaire - Panama sailings and on 28th May 1915 stranded at St Nazaire and broke her back.
Ship Christina Mary Phelan took from Glasgow,
Scotland to New York, New York arriving August 10, 1908
The CALIFORNIA, call sign HLQJ, registration # 124230, was built for the Anchor Line in 1907 by D&W Henderson Ltd, Glasgow. 8,662 gross tons, 6,791 under deck and 5,403 net. Length 470 ft x beam 58.3 ft, 34 ft deep, two funnels, two masts, twin screw and a speed of 16 knots. The ship had a triple expansion engine with 6 cylinders of 27 1/2, 46 and 75 inches each pair; stroke 54 inches; 827 nominal horsepower; engine built by the same company as the hull. The California was a 3 deck schooner; Poop 70 feet long; Bridge 213 feet long; Forecastle 91 feet long. Water ballast; fitted with electric light and refrigerating machinery. There was passenger accommodation for 232-1st, 248-2nd and 734-3rd class. Launched on 9th Jul.1907, she started her maiden voyage on 10th Oct.1907 when she left Glasgow for Moville (Ireland) and New York. On 28th Jun 1914 she stranded on Tory Island, North Ireland; was refloated on 20th Aug, and repaired in Glasgow. She resumed Glasgow - Liverpool - New York sailings for the Cunard - Anchor joint service in Oct.1915 and commenced her last Glasgow - New York voyage on 12th Jan.1917. On 7th Feb.1917 when homeward bound, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine while 38 miles W by S of Fastnet Island, Ireland with the loss of 43 lives. The shipís master was Captain J. Blaikie. Itís port of registry was Glasgow, Scotland and sailed under the British flag.
4 years after Christina sailed, California sent Titanic an ice warning.
Perhaps we are too busy, or we donít want to be disturbed. At 11:00 P.M., shortly before the Titanic hit the iceberg, the wireless operator, John Phillips, was busy sending messages for the passengers. He was suddenly interrupted by a loud signal from the nearby S.S.California, announcing, "We are stopped and surrounded by ice." It was the sixth warning of icebergs in the path of the Titanic.
Angry at the intrusion, Phillips retorted, "Shut up! Youíre jamming my signal. Iím busy." Shortly thereafter, facing death he was heard to cry out, "God forgive me! God forgive me!" So, too, God has given us ample warning; yet we ignore Him.Ē
SS LA TOURAINE
Ship Brother Edward Gabel, SM took from Le Havre, France to New York, New York arriving December 9, 1907
on his way to St. Boniface, Manitoba, Canada
The "La Touraine" was built in 1890 by Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, St Nazaire, for the same company (CGT), she was an 8,893 gross ton ship, length 520.2ft x beam 56ft, two funnels, three masts, twin screw and a speed of 19 knots. There was accommodation for 392-1st, 98-2nd and 600-3rd class passengers. Launched on 21/3/1890, she sailed from Havre on her maiden voyage to New York on 20/6/1891. Between November 1900 and January 1902 she was refitted at St Nazaire, bilge keels fitted, engines overhauled, masts reduced to two, her tonnage increased to 8,429, and her 3rd class accommodation increased to 1,000. On 21/1/1903 she was damaged by fire at Havre - grand staircase, dining saloon and de luxe cabins rebuilt and resumed Havre - New York sailings. In 1910 she was again refitted to carry 69-1st, 263-2nd and 686-3rd class passengers. She commenced sailings from Havre to Quebec and Montreal with 2nd and 3rd class only, in May 1913 and made her last voyage on this service in June 1914 (5 round voyages). On 13/3/1915 she commenced her last Havre - New York crossing and on 13/4/1915 started Bordeaux - New York sailings. She resumed Havre - New York voyages with cabin and 3rd class passengers on 9/2/1919 and commenced her final voyage on this service on 26/9/1922. She was scrapped at Dunkirk in October 1923.
Ship Emma Louise Gabel and Anna Marie Linck took from Le Havre, France to New York, New York arriving March 10, 1873
NO PICTURE FOUND FOR THIS YEAR OLD SHIP
Built in 1872 by T.R. Oswald & Co in Sunderland. Owned by the Baltic Lloyd Steamship Company, Stettin, Germany.
2,600 gross tons. 319 feet long by 38 feet wide.
Wrecked at sea. Lost on return trip from New York to Germany on 4 Apr 1873. This was the return trip from delivering Emma and Anna to the US.
Ship Freddy Van Rest took from Melbourne, Australia to San Francisco, California arriving May 3, 1942
The Mariposa was a 18,017 gross ton ship, length 632 feet x beam 79.4 feet, two funnels, two masts, twin screw, speed 22 knots. Yard number was 1440. Accommodation for 475 first class and 229 cabin class passengers. Built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Quincy, she was launched for the Matson Navigation Company in Los Angeles on 18th July 1931. The Mariposa was used on the San Francisco - Honolulu - Sydney service and in 1941 entered service as a US Navy transport.
After wartime service, the Mariposa was laid up at Alameda in 1946 and in 1953 was sold to Home Lines, Panama and renamed the SS Homeric the following year. The Homeric was completely refitted with accommodation for 147 first class and 1,096 tourist class passengers. The Homeric started regularly scheduled Southampton - New York sailings in 1955 and Le Havre - Montreal sailings in 1957. From 1963 she was used for cruising only and after a serious fire in 1973, it was found uneconomic to repair her and she was sold for scrapping at Taiwan.
Ship Joseph Edward Lisson took from Bremen, Germany to New York, New York arriving July 8, 1867 traveling with his mother under her maiden name of Zimbrodt
The steamship HANSA--the first of three of this name built for Norddeutscher Lloyd--was built by Caird & Co, Greenock (ship #92, contract price 65,000 pounds sterling), and launched on 23 August 1861. 2,992 tons; 96,92 x 12,19 meters (length x breadth); clipper bow, 1 funnel, 3 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion (low-pressure tandem engine with surface condensers; 750-1500 hp), service speed 11.5 knots; accommodation for 76 passengers in 1st class, 107 in 2nd class, and 480 in steerage; crew of 102. 24 November 1861, maiden voyage, Bremen-Southampton-New York. 1864, given Krupp steel shaft and air preheating. 13 June 1868, boarded 630 Mormons in Copenhagen for Hull (and New York). 28 November 1871, sailed Southampton for New York; engine failure; arrived St. John 18 December under sail; after minimal repairs continued 23 December for New York. 12 November 1878, last voyage, Bremen-New York. Fall 1879, sold to Oswald, Mordaunt & Co, Southampton, in partial payment for the HANSA (II); resold to shipbroker E. Bates, Liverpool. 1880, registered to T. R. Oswald & R. Gebbs, Liverpool. 1881, registered to T. R. Gebbs, Liverpool. 1881, compound engines by J. Howden & Co, Glasgow. May 1881-March 1882, 6 roundtrip voyages, London-Boston, chartered to Adamson & Ronaldson. 1883, purchased by the White Cross Line, Antwerp, and renamed LUDWIG; 3,087 tons. 2 July 1883, sailed from Antwerp for Montreal with 27 passengers, 43 crew, and 433 head of cattle; went missing after making contact on 3 July with Prawle Point, 20 miles southeast of Plymouth
SS BERENGARIA (SS IMPERATOR)
Ship Douglas Scott Fletcher took from South Hampton, England to New York, New York arriving February 3, 1934
She began life in the service of the Hamburg-Amerika Line. Laid down at the A. G. Vulcan Works shipyard in June of 1910 as Hull No. 314, she was launched on May 23, 1912 as the Imperator, a tribute by HAPAG Director Albert Ballin to his friend Kaiser Wilhelm II. She was the largest moving object in the world on that day, just a month after the loss of White Star's Titanic.
She had an overall length of 909 feet (hull), 918 feet 8 inches (including eagle, 1913). She was 98 feet 1 inch wide. Had a draught of 35 feet 6 inches and a gross tonnage of 52,117 (1913) and 52,226 as Berengaria. She displaced 51,700 tons at 35 feet 4 inches.
She was officially delivered to HAPAG exactly one year after her launch, May 23, 1913, and began her maiden voyage on June 10, delayed by a grounding incident and a boiler explosion. She was the most luxurious ship in the world, a "first-rate hotel," but suffering notable deficiencies desired in an Atlantic liner. She quickly became notorious as a drunken roller on the high seas, and after her first season in service, drastic measures were taken to increase her stability.
When the Great War started in August of 1914, she was in Germany, and remained laid up throughout the war, safely sheltered from the dangers presented to other liners of the day. When the war ended, she was at first taken over by the United States as the U.S.S. Imperator to aid in the repatriation of American troops. Then she was taken over by the Cunard Line, offered for sale to them as reparations for their lost Lusitania.
Initially, they ran her as the R.M.S. Imperator. She sailed for Cunard under this name for the first time -- from New York to Liverpool -- on December 11, 1919. She continued under that name for just over a year, but in early 1921, she was given the new name R.M.S. Berengaria, named after the wife of King Richard I of England. For nearly sixteen years, she remained in service with Cunard, earning the nickname, "The Happy Ship."
During the mid-1930's, when White Star and Cunard merged, she was re-paired for a short period with her old intended sister, White Star's Majestic.
However, the Berengaria began to succumb to the effects of old age and bad electrical wiring, suffering from a spate of fires. Eventually, in March of 1938, Cunard-White Star announced her retirement. She was purchased for scrapping on November 7 of that year. Although demolition started before the Second World War, it was interrupted by the conflict. The last remnants of the ship were not disposed of until July of 1946, some thirty-three years after her maiden voyage.