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Passengers, Seaports, Captains

Bridge to the Castle.


Testimonials began arriving the first month this site was launched in 1998; among the initial eMails was that of an English gentleman who had been seeking his great-great grandparents for many years and found them on The Maritime Heritage Project site. That email was followed by requests from a French student preparing a Master's thesis on the French in California during the Gold Rush.

A personal favorite is from James P. Delgado, author of "To California by Sea: A Maritime History of the California Gold Rush." He wrote that this is the only site of its kind in that it is listing all ships and passengers arriving at the port of San Francisco.

Throughout 2017

  • French, San Francisco.Hello, I greatly appreciate your Maritime Heritage Program, excellent information and design. I thought perhaps you would like to know about my books on the French in California, in particular Arcadia publishing's French San Francisco. Four of my art books are about French artists in California, and I am presently finishing up the History of San Francisco's French Hospital.
    ~ Claudine Chalmers
  • I am currently drawing a graphic novel set in Haiti between 1792 and 1804. I am trying to get some information on how the shipping ports of Le Cap Francios and Port Au Prince may have operated so I can draw them. For example would ships have docked on a pier and unloaded cargo or would they have anchored in the bay and then cargo would have been taken ashore by smaller boats? I realize that your project is based in California but I was hoping for some information, even if it is very general about how ports would have operated at this time in history. Because the focus of The Maritime Heritage Project is ships, captains, passengers in/out of San Francisco during the 1800s, I have little on Haiti, other than links such as maritimeheritage.org/ports/caribbeanHaiti.html. The Port International de Port-au-Prince, which is the seaport capital of Haiti, might have information.

Throughout 2016

  • Thank you so much for your time. There are many stories of the Captain George Thorndike Harkness (that is his correct address in SF) and his exploits in the family passed down. Looks like he's lost to written history, however, as suggested, I will check with the NARA Pacific region. ~ Landy Hardy
  • I shared your website with a fellow author and thought you'd appreciate what he wrote back: "What a wonderful website. Once I started reading I found myself going through the list of captains."
    ~Marilyn L. Darnnell, Author/Historian
  • Question about Ship Tropic Bird: You are correct. The second link (www.MaritimeHeritage.org/captains/George-Caleb.html) is the very incident I am looking into. Capt. Rogers of the City of Topeka named Jackson as "prize master" when the ship was found drifting. In W. Jackson's account, the captain -- perhaps Connor -- was ashore, drunk, and the sailors paralyzed as to what to do.
    ~ Fred Hill
  • Thanks for adding the (misspelled) names of my gr-gr-grandparents, their son (my gr-grandfather), and a brother-in-law: “L. Schuover, Mrs. Schuover and child, J. Schuover.” I appreciate your website. Don't know what kind or how much work it is to maintain a website like that, but it's such a great resource and I really appreciate it.
    ~Lori Scherr

Throughout 2015

  • Hawaii Guard by Wendell Thoene. It would be wonderful if as many with an interest in Hawaii ethnic Germans could read it as possible as none of us truly appreciated the role that our forefathers played in the Kingdom of Hawaii. We weren’t just another bunch of ha’oles in the islands. Hawaii GuardHawaii Guard by Wendell Thoene. ~ Kind Regards, Wendell Thoene, Author Hawaii Guard
  • Questions come in that open new research paths: "I am looking for any leads regarding boat building in Sierra Leone in the 1800s. Any books or people with examples, illustrations of design etc." ~ With thanks, Stephen. (Dr. S. V. Houten)
  • I have a question for San Francisco contacts: What route, with any trans-shipments, would my great-great grandfather, Frederick Emanuel Doering,) have had to take from San Francisco to any port in Australia? He obviously moved around a lot. I've found him on the Barabool Brisbane-Sydney arr 24 Oct 1884, and saloon-class on the Leura Melbourne-Sydney arr 31 Jul 1890. Not liking what he saw there, he joined the gold rush to the Rand. (That's why I'm here.)
  • On March 1, 1849, the sailing ship Sweden left Boston for San Francisco via Cape Horn, South America. The Sweden arrived in San Francisco August 3rd. My great great grandfather George W. Parker was on the Sweden for that 1849 voyage, which is why I have an interest in the ship and its passengers. I had first found a small black and white version of the poster image online. After much further looking online, I found the large, color version. I don't remember the URL of the website. ~ Larry Parker
  • From the Sonoma Valley Historial Society: The California Mission Foundation has parties interested in maritime history. Also the Italian American Club is very active in SF and Fort Mason. Perhaps either of those could be a source of interest.
  • Thank you so much for your constructively helpful response. I shall certainly follow your tips.
  • Thank you for your help. Mr. Gilbert's letter is interestingt. It´s amazing how difficult was for the ships to arrive to Mazatlán in that age, as it was supposed to be developed then. Maybe you could add links to some travel diaries to San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Library of Congress Chronicle America, gives free access and download for non-profit purposes. Hope you can find it useful. ~ Pedro Pablo.
  • I am the administrator of a Facebook group dealing with Scandinavian Genealogy and Family History. It is a page that is dedicated to posting links about other webpages which may have interest to those who are interested in Scandinavian genealogy and history The Facebook group can be found here: Scandinavian Genealogical Research Center: Professional Research. I have placed the following posting in the Facebook group: The Maritime Heritage Project: Denmark and Sweden. ~ Kim Melchior

Throughout 2014

  • Grazie M. Levy, for the starting point of my research. Persons like you are rare. ~ Best Regards, Alessandro
  • Wonderful! Very helpful information. It appears in 1909 the trip from NY to SF took about three weeks. My grandpa arrived in SF on Sept 29th according to his application for naturalization. He was eighteen years old...what a trip... Hamburg to South Africa to New York and then to San Francisco. I think he had his fill of sea and ships/boats../never was on again. Thank you for your help, you put a lot of sunshine in to my day. ~ D. C. , Family Genealogist
  • "Ah ha!!! Using your search, I found two ships arriving with window glass - one from New York, the other from Liverpool." ~ From an Author
  • "Well then, this is an absolutely stupendous and worthwhile effort and once again my sincere appreciation, you help make stepping through the minefield of maritime history a pleasure."
  • "Your letter arrived the day after I had left on a hiking trip to Sicily. Now I am back from a wonderful experience and wish to thank you for your very informative response to my inquiry. I am so pleased with all the tips and links you gave me. Now I can do more research and continue with the writing of my book. Thank you again for your great service."
  • "Thank you for the latest information - Arrivals at the Port of San Francisco 1800's - such a lot of careful effort - super!" Very much appreciated. ~ New Zealand
  • "First I want to say thanks for your site. It is useful and informative. It has helped me gain some possible insight regarding a shipwreck a friend and I have found. I'll be honest and say I don't want to reveal too much about it at this point, but I believe it is a historically significant ship."
  • "I can t tell you how much I appreciate your response which was unexpected following the auto response received yesterday.
  • I have perused the links you suggested and discovered a trove of information of which I was previously unaware. I am now satisfied and convinced that the Sacramento Transcript had it right . . . The time frame is perfect everything fits!"
  • Gold Rush.Valpara, Chile. "Reading your website, I was amazed by the amount of information you have about maritime trade of the 19th century . . . we are working very hard to start next year the first "Heritage Interpretation Center" in Valpara, Chile . . . We own an antique house c. 1865 restored in 1904, before the big earthquake that destroyed Valpara and also San Francisco . . . Would like to contact you, in order to exchange information of the maritime traffic from Valpara. As a coincidence, my great great grandfather was an Irishman and also a Captain of a Clipper that decided to to stay in Chile in 1860. Best regards from Valpara." ~ K. Pugh


  • Hi there . . . I came across your website this weekend on a search for family arriving in SF from New Zealand. I found a newspaper article for my 2nd great grand uncle, Barnet Keesing, who went to SF with his family in 1849, as I discovered in "Inchinnan". I thought you may be interested in the news list for that departure as it does give the names for some of the arriving and departing ships.
    • http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=NZ18490927.2.3&srpos=54&e=-07-1849--12-1849--100--1-byDA---2inchinnan

    New Zealand.New Zealand's Paperspast is a rich resource for shipping and passengers, quite apart from social history and good documentary accounts of the world at large. Paperspast is also a free website so may be a good resource for your users. (Editor's Note: It is. Paperspast is a superb website. Perhaps given the dramatic beginnings of Europeans into New Zealand and Australia. Both do a splendid job of locating information for families. PapersPast includes more than 3 million pages online covering 1839 to 1948.) It has a good search engine and highlights the words from your search in the body of the text which makes for speedy decision making when looking. Thank you for your wonderful website, it has been a big help to me. I am happy for you to use this information in what ever manner you see fit: ~ Cheers Pip
  • Thank you so much for your efforts. Angus has been a mystery for so long now I had nearly given up hope of finding anything remotely close to factual, but you have started with a bang. Much appreciated. ~ Bob F.
  • Great news! I found it. You were right about following the information about the arrival of books. I found it in the Consignee notices: Daily Alta California, 26 September 1853, Page 2, column 5, Consignee Notices. Mystery solved! Thanks for responding to my initial query. Joyfully . . . ~ R
  • Many thanks for your rapid reply. It is very interesting that the Ganymede was one of the hulk ships which remained stationery. I think it's easier to assume that my convict didn't actually leave English shores but stayed on the ship for the length of his sentence. That would make sense, as he goes on to marry in 1849. Thanks also for the book recommendations, I shall certainly search for them. In the meantime, well done again - the information you sent is of great importance to family researchers. ~ Cheers, Lizzie


  • A question . . . but I first wanted to thank you for the fine work you are doing in bringing back a vital piece of history to us all. ~ T. C.
  • Your website made great reading at: Captain James H. Blethen. Thank you.

November 2, 2011

  • Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful resource. Regardless of whether or not I am looking in the right place I am delighted to find your website . . . I'm writing however because I'm hoping to get in contact with someone I met last month. I was hoping she might work with you or you might be aware of the organization she does work with. She described a project she was working on that involved education, children, and exploring old ships docked in the harbor. It sounded great as I'd love to connect with more marine-related activities.

I'm writing from Israel

Gold Rush California.Steamship Republic, 1800s.

where my wife and I have lived since 1967. We're native San Franciscans. My gg grandfather, Julius Salomonson, arrived in San Francisco on April 19, 1851 on board the Republic. I discovered this today in your site, via a link from sfgenealogy.com. For 27 years I had been searching Rasmussen and other sources to try to find out how he traveled to California, and only today did I find it! S. Salomonson, in steerage, from Panama! Thank you very much for having provided this information. It shows that Julius arrived two years earlier than I had thought. He's mentioned in a footnote in Levinson's The Jews in the California Gold RushGold Rush. together with his partners, in the dissolution of a artnership in Mariposa in 1854. On the net, via Google, I tried to find a picture of the Republic, to no avail. Can you help me? I'm also seeking the arrival record of Julius' father Michael Salomonsohn/Salomonson who was born in 1785 and died in SF in 1860. They didn't come together on the Republic in 1851. Thanks again.

Jim B. Haifa, Israel

May 11, 2009

  • I just wanted to let you know that once again you've added to the genealogical history of my family. The Boston Daily Atlas of 6 Apr. 1849, listed passengers on the Areatus which departed Boston for San Francisco. The article lists all the passengers which included Simeon Chase.
    We had communicated last year regarding Herman Harris Greene of Hopkinton, NH. Simeon, too, was originally from N.H., but was "of Chicopee, Mass." when he made the trip. He died there 10 June 1851 according to the Chase Genealogy. Thanks again for all your wonderful work. ~ M. Day
  • I'm writing from faraway Israel, where my wife and I have lived since 1967. We're native San Franciscans. My gg grandfather Julius Salomonson arrived in San Francisco on April 19, 1851 on board the "Republic." I discovered this today in your site, via a link from sfgenealogy.com. For 27 years I had been searching Rasmussen and other sources to try to find out how he traveled to California, and only today did I find it! S. Salomonson, in steerage, from Panama! Thank you very much for having provided this information. It shows that Julius arrived two years earlier than I had thought. He's mentioned in a footnote in Levinson's The Jews in the California Gold RushJews in the Gold Rush. together with his partners, in the dissolution of a partnership in Mariposa in 1854. 
  • On the net, via Google, I tried to find a picture of the Republic, to no avail. Can you help me? I'm also seeking the arrival record of Julius' father Michael Salomonsohn/Salomonson who was born in 1785 and died in SF in 1860. They didn t come together on the Republic in 1851. Thanks again. ~ Jim B. Haifa, Israel


  • Thank you for Captain E H Hitchcock. Your efforts to transcribe Daily Alta California list of Ship Arrivals lead to location of Fred's Wife's ancestor. All we had was Betty Hitchcock's "Gone to California as ship's captain" info. . . We really appreciate this. ~ G. Cramer
  • Thank you very much for your help. You told me in a previous message that you are working on this project by yourself. I'm impressed with your work and recognize pain of research. ~ Regards, L. Mims
  • Thank you very much for pointing me in the right direction. Very handy site you have; it has been of great value to my research from here. You must visit New Zealand again. Regards. ~ D. Armitrage


  • I have enjoyed your site, located the arrival of my 2nd great grandfather in August of 1849 on the Humboldt. Lots of information on the site. Thank you and all the others for all the work it took to place the information on the net for all to discover. ~ Barb
  • I've enjoyed your web site while looking for photos and marine drawings/plans of side wheel steamers built by William H. Brown during the 1850s . . . We are trying to build a scale model of the S.S. Pacific for display. Thank you! ~ M. Boyd

November 2004

  • Guess you've heard it before, but you've got a fantastic website. Great job and thanks for the enjoyment. ~ D. Hunt

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers, and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.




Migration and Disruption.
Migration and Disruptions

Brenda J. Baker

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DALevy @ MaritimeHeritage.org
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Vallejo, CA 94591


Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; Maritime Library, San Francisco, California, Oakland Museum, Oakland California; various Maritime Museums around the world.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.