Thursday, August 20, 2009

Immigrant Ship

This picture shows an Immigrant Ship, on its way to the United States. The picture was taken in 1890. Wow, it looks like it is pretty crowded there on the deck.


  1. They just wanted to close to the rail in case they got seasick.

    I suppose that they were up there getting some sun amd fresh air.

  2. How does one go about posting a photo on here? I have some fantastic old shots of my Daddy - immigrant photos. You wouldn't believe the likes of them. Please advise.

  3. the 2 guys on the rail look like brothers,,

  4. Yes, they were probably outside to get fresh air and because they were sick.

    Apparently, the conditions in steerage were terrible - rows and rows of bunks way down in the bowels of the ship, no air, and chamber pots, no plumbing.

    In the viedo was saw at Ellis, they interviewed one woman who said it smelled so bad and she was so sick on the journey that she didn't care if she died before she got to America.

  5. Mini Choc-Pretzels
    You will have to start your own blog.
    People don't want your things going through their blogs.
    But remember if you start your own BLOG, you have to do a blog every day, or almost every day, not just every now and then.

  6. This was more than likely a staged photo, given the date. So I find the 'they are out getting some sun and fresh air' comments ridiculous.

    This photo was taken in the 1890's, not on someone's cellphone last week. Things were a bit different back then...

  7. Anon:

    Whether or not this particular photo was staged, the immigrants who actually travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to America in steerage were subjected to very unsanitary conditions.

    All of my grandparents emigrated from Italy and I just returned from taking my 94-year-old father to Ellis Island to retrieve HIS father's records.

    We saw plenty of photos showing the conditions and the passengers come up on deck to get fresh air and because they were all sick.

    So, even if the people in this particular photo were only "posing," the premise behind the pose is valid.

    Therefore, I find YOUR comments ridiculous.

  8. You go SMARTGIRL.

  9. Mini Choco - contact PJM, I for one would love to see your photos included here. We all have old family photos that are significant. Someone else had a photo posted here, two fellows fishing I believe. Was it SmartGirl?

  10. Smartgirl-

    Several of my of ancestors also made that journey, and I am well aware of the poor conditions they generally faced. That the photograph was staged is common sense, given the time period involved. Not many snapshots of actual daily life come from that era, which is what lead to my comment.

    Also, Ellis Island wasn't the earliest immigration checkpoint and conditions at the earlier sites, say Castle Garden for example, were even worse that what your Italian ancestors faced (and they were probably relative latecomers, given the ethnic immigration data). Do some research on the subject, you may be surprised at what you will learn.

    Your automatic assumptions of poor conditions on this particular ship are still unfounded, thus ridiculous. You do not know the people pictured, or their stories, nor do I. They could be refugees, or they could be wealthy businessmen, who knows?

    Assuming the worst based on a staged photo and your family's historical bias isn't logical, wouldn't you agree?

  11. anon: chill out. this is a cool site with cool photos for intelligent (or not) people. you really should refrain from calling anyones observations "ridiculous." we are all here to learn something and exchange friendly dialogue.

  12. Fellow Anon-

    Your observations are duly noted, but I call them as I see them.

    I thought this was a site where history was discussed rationally through the photos posted by PJM, taking into consideration the time period that those photos were taken.

    Apparently I was mistaken.

  13. Anonymous re: posting photos: I thought as much. Just thought I'd throw that out there. I used to blog with someone back in 2005 when it blogspot and on the new side. I never started anything up again.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.