A Two-Ship Crossing

When I received cousin Sandra’s documentation about Elias Borreson and his wife Kari crossing the Atlantic on the ship Britannia, my first thoughts were that the ship Scandinavia references were wrong. That was too hasty. Sandra’s e-mail that they boarded the Britannia in Glasgow, Scotland, reminded me that the trip from Norway was usually a two-ship crossing. So here it is.

With Clara’s information that Elias and Kari Borresen left Norway (from Christiania where they had moved) May 11, 1869 on the ship “Skandinavia,” this was likely their route to America: by steamship to Leith (its docks were known as the port of Edinburgh), by railway to Glasgow, by steamship to New York, and by railway to La Crosse (their destination). This assumes railway service to La Crosse by that time; I’ll have to check. 

Clara indicates they boarded the Scandinavia at Kristiania, and this steamship was likely a feeder ship for Wilson Line; and after two-hour rail trip from Leith to Glasgow*, Elias and Kari probably boarded the transatlantic steamship, the Britannia.  (*Note the current road map below: the Leith to Glasgow railtrip must have been a shortcut, an alternative to going around Scotland by ship.)

Edinburgh to Glasgow, 45 miles by rail in 1869

Sandra e-mailed me a partial copy of the Britannia’s manifest where the names of Elias and Kari are written on page 7 (see it below). Their ages were 30, which is correct, and “farmer” is listed for him and “house” for her. They are listed as from Sweden, but I suspect this is because Norway was still under Sweden’s rule in 1869. They paid for fare (equivalent to $39) in steerage.

From page 7 of the Britannia's manifest

Elias and Kari arrived in New York June 8, 1869, less than a month after departing from Norway. A new world lay before them. (Coming up: more information on the two ships.)

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