01 February 2010

A Carr/Causier Voyage & More

The first time I remember hearing the expression "Every journey has two ends" was in a podcast from the National Archives of the United Kingdom. [Please see Note 5 for more info.] Now, I have my own examples!

Fairly recently, findmypast.co.uk
(a commercial subscription site) posted oodles of records of passenger lists of people leaving from the UK on long voyages during the years 1890 to 1960. Last week, I finally got around to playing in those records, accessing FindMyPast for free at my local Family History Center. It was great fun!

The Family

Great-Grandparents John Henry CARR and Ann Matilda CAUSIER made at least two trips between the USA and England. The first trip was between May, 1887 and February, 1889, settling in Wisconsin with 3 young children (Matilda, Grice Ethell, & Charles William). There, Jane Catherine, Ernest Grice, and Bertha Maud were born. Sadly, both Matilda and Grice Ethell died in Racine, Wisconsin in July 1889. About 1894, the family returned to England, where their last child, Anne Martha was born in 1904.

The Voyage with Two Ends

Some time ago I had found the arrival manifest for their 15 September 1907 return through Philadelphia. Here are crops of both pages of the arriving manifest.

Page 1 [Source 1]
John Henry CARR is line 18; Ann and four children are lines 19-23:

Before I talk about the Carr’s in this image, let’s look at the ‘scribbles’ on the page. The line through Mr. Marshall on line 26 means he did NOT take the voyage after all. The date and code numbers on line 23 for Aunt Annie most likely mean that she applied for naturalization in 1931. [Note 6]

Page 2 [Source 2]:

I especially value seeing that great-grandfather John Henry was only 5’7” and had blue eyes, while great-grandmother Ann was 5’3” with brown eyes. Re-examing all this info for the writing of this blog, I see that maybe I can’t find a birth record for Ann is because I have been looking in Tipton, Staffordshire per her death certificate, rather than in Castleford, Yorkshire. Given that the passenger list was made 40 years closer to her birth, it could be the accurate one! It’s funny how re-reading documents can reveal details missed before.

Also, note that on Page 2 where it says John Henry was going to his father’s at 188 Wiliams, it really is his father-in-law Charles Causier’s address. There is no indication that William Carr ever left Yorkshire.

Last week, at FindMyPast.co.uk, I found the passenger list for the 4 September 1907 departure from Liverpool [Source 3]. So, now I have both the beginning and end of the Carr’s second voyage!
This passenger list doesn’t give me any earth-shattering new info, but it does contain the surprise that Grandma Bertha was called, at least once, “Bessy.” If I had not already had the arrival manifest, finding the departing passenger list would have given me a date, a ship, and a port, which would surely make finding the arrival easier.

The Ship

They traveled on the SS Merion. It was easy to find info on this ship at Wikipedia.com. The wiki entry says that the ship was first launched in 1902, so it was still fairly new when this family sailed. The entry continues that the ship held 150 second class passengers and 1700 in third class. Its career includes running aground and a few at-sea collisions, but fortunately none in 1907! Perhaps most interestingly, it was sunk, without casualties, by a German submarine in WWI while on duty in the Mediterranean as a decoy. [Source 4]

Finding documents and matching photos like all these really strike me. I just stare at this ship thinking over and over that I may have never met them, but my great-grandparents were on this ship! Wow!

Maybe this FindMyPast database will be expanded one day soon and I'll be able to use it to find the date and full info about the first Carr/Causier trip to the USA. For now, I'll just try to get used to the idea that Grandma Bertha may have been a 'Bessie.'

I neither work for nor receive any consideration from any of the entities listed here.

Sources & Notes
[1] cropped from ancestry.com database “Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945,” 1907 / September / Merion / image 27

[2] cropped from ancestry.com database “Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945,” 1907 / September / Merion / image 28

[3] cropped from findmypast.co.uk migration database
"Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960"; SS Merion, Liverpool to Philadelphia, 4 Sep 1907

[4] Merion picture & info from Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Merion
-- Wikipedia says this image is in the public domain in the USA.

[5] More info about the National Archives podcasts: The best way to access their wonderful podcasts is at

Here's the podcast specific to passenger lists and every voyage having two ends: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/podcasts/every-journey.htm

Just for fun, here are links to 3 of my other most favorite National Archives podcasts:

How the sinking of the Titanic affected the families of the crew

a case study on genealogical research featuring the family of Charles Darwin

workhouses of the 1800s

The National Archives have an incredible amount of resources and I could never do them justice in this blog. For genealogy research help, I love the book Tracing Your Ancestors in the National Archives by Amanda Bevan. My copy is the 7th Edition, published in 2006. !

There is a wonderful document “A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List Annotations” online through JewishGen. It has lots of examples and all sorts of info about all the details on passenger lists. Be sure to look at all of the sections: my printout of the guide runs to 28 pages.

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