03 December 2007
A Long Voyage To Somewhere
My ships aren't nearly as well decorated as the S. S. Manic Monday, but they are much more important to my life. It wasn't all that long ago, that Pan American World Airways inaugurated the first transpacific passenger service. If you wanted to go overseas before 1936, the only way to travel was by ship.
S. S. Letitia
The Letitia carried my grandmother, father, and two uncles to the United States. The Cameronia came ahead of them by a year carrying my grandfather. A third ship, The Algeria, came even earlier bearing three great uncles.
I've written about the wonderful free on line service offered by Ellis Island to help you locate an ancestor's arrival in the U.S. As always, I will be supporting the Ellis Island Foundation by purchasing their annual Lady Liberty Christmas decoration. It is only $20 (unless you purchase all the back years to 2003) and a good cause. They also have some inexpensive posters, books, and keepsakes from $10 and up in the gift shop.
This year they are offering something much more remarkable if expensive that you might want to consider. It is the Legacy Keepsake (shown below). During the operation of Ellis Island, The New York Times would record daily Ship arrivals. If you have done the free research at Ellis Island and know the ship that carried your ancestor, they will provide a framed certificate with a picture of the ship, the page of the ship manifest with your ancestor's name, and the record of ship arrival page from the New York Times and the name and date. While it is possible to get all the elements and make your own for less, it's much faster to take advantage of their staff and records to do it for you.