Friday, February 26, 2016

Steerage passengers

Steerage passengers, surely a rich hunting ground for ancestors, were unfortunately often not named, this privilege being reserved for the 'cabin' and 'second class' passengers.

In this Cape newspaper shipping column of April 1837 4 people are travelling steerage on the Conch (Capt Bell's ship) but we are left guessing as far as their names are concerned.

In later years, when settlers were arriving in numbers, it is sometimes possible to find a separate passenger list for steerage or 'government immigrants' as in the one below in March 1862 from an original register in Natal. Occasionally a separate list of steerage passengers would be published in the local press.

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