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.
- July 2017: I was wondering if you might be able to answer a question about a schooner that Matthew Turner built in Benicia in the 1880's. ----The Newark.
Do you know if the Newark was named for the Alameda County town of Newark - there was a steamer at the time called Newark and was named for the town. I can't imagine why Turner would name it for Newark, NJ or any other reason, but that's why I'm reaching out to you.
- Good day. 1887: The Newark, schooner, built at Benicia by Matthew Turner. Gross tonnage 300/38; Net tonnage 235/56. (Annual Report Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco.) Turner was born in Geneva, Ohio, so it's possible he used Newark (Ohio) as the basis for that ship. However, there is also a Newark, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Newark-on-Trent, United Kingdom (the origins of Newark), etc. Newark in Alameda County was named in 1878 and incorporated as a city in September 1955. There was also a ferryboat named Newark. Matthew Turner's page is updated: https://www.maritimeheritage.org/captains/Matthew-Turner.html
- August 2017: Original Message to Bart: August 18, 2017 8:03 p.m.
Subject: RE: History of US Steamer "Orifamme." Hello. The spelling of the ship is "Oriflamme." An overview of her, including information on the post in the Far North: http://maritimeheritage.org/ships/Oriflamme. Hope that's what you are seeking.
- From Bart: Thank you so much. Your information is amazing, you are amazing.
- I own a "Stampless Cover" which is addressed from San Francisco, California to France, via Steamship through Panama and New York. Letter is dated 1861.
Question is, in that era before the present Canal (1904-1914) was completed, was it possible for a steamship to sail "Through Panama " to the Atlantic side of the Isthmus?
I would not think so, however, sources I find do not specifically discus the question.
I would imagine, Steamship travel part way inland and then Overland movement a possibility.
Thank you for any help you might provide.
Donald G. Woske, Valdosta, GA
- https://www.maritimeheritage.org/ports/centralAmericaPanama.html which talks about "steamships on the Chagres River" and the Panama Railway, Culebra Cut, 1855.
- 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 Guard ~ 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 ar 24 Oct 1884, and saloon-class on the Leura Melbourne-Sydney ar 31 July 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 Historical 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 interesting. It's amazing how difficult was for the ships to arrive to Mazatlan 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
- 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!"
- "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.
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
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 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
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 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
- Guess you've heard it before, but you've got a fantastic website. Great job and thanks for the enjoyment. ~ D. Hunt
From years past . . .
A personal favorite is from maritime archaeologist James P. Delgado, author of To California by Sea: A Maritime History of the California Gold Rush, Gold Rush Port: The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront, Across the Top of the World, etc. Mr. Delgado wrote that this is the only site of its kind in that it lists all ships and passengers arriving at the port of San Francisco.