An Estenson Journey to America

According to Aunt Clara in the Borreson-Estenson family history Homestead, Bertinus Estenson and his family had a contract to sail from Norway April 15, 1875. He was 33 years old. With him were his parents, his brother Peter, and step-brother Bordinus. They left Stjørdal, Norway, arrived in Philadelphia in May, and then on to Wisconsin. I decided to make another attempt at tracing their journey.

Stjørdal being near Trondheim, that city was likely their point of departure (and that is where Clara found the contract-to-sail date in the police records). So I began by assuming Trondheim. On the Norway Heritage site, there were five ship arrivals in Philadelphia in May 1875, one each week May 3 through May 30. All the ships were part of the American Line, and all had departed from Liverpool, England.

If the family actually departed on April 15, and their trip took a typical length for those years, they may have arrived in Philadelphia May 10, one of those five dates. That might have made their transportation the S/S Indiana, a steamship of the American Line.

The Estenson family may have sailed on that ship, but first they would have needed a ship from Trondheim to England.

Another page of the Norway Heritage site listed Norway departures from Trondheim. On that list only two ships departed Trondheim and came to port in England. The first, the S/S Leif, departed Trondheim, stopped in Bergen, and landed in England (listed with a question mark). The second, the S/S Tasso (1), departed Trondheim, stopped at Bergen, Christiansund, and Aalesund, and finally landed at Hull, England. There likely were other ships not listed.

If they arrived in the Port of Hull, England, in April 1875, they had to travel by rail to Liverpool for the next stage of their journey. Norway Heritage adds this: “Because of the risks to the town’s health from the large numbers of European migrants passing through the port, the North Eastern Railway Company built a waiting room near Hull Paragon Railway Station in 1871. This waiting room had facilities for the emigrants to meet the ticket agents, wash, use the toilet and take shelter from the weather. At no time throughout the age of mass migration did the authorities in Hull provide purpose built emigrant lodging houses for the migrants.”

The Railway’s Emigrant Waiting Room

This article continues: “Most of the emigrants entering Hull traveled via the Paragon Railway Station and from there traveled to Liverpool via Leeds, Huddersfield and Stalybridge (just outside Manchester). The train tickets were part of a package that included the steamship ticket to Hull, a train ticket to Liverpool and then the steamship ticket to their final destination – mainly America. Sometimes so many emigrants arrived at one time that there would be up to 17 carriages being pulled by one steam engine. All the baggage was stored in the rear 4 carriages, with the passengers filling the carriages nearer the front of the train. The trains took precedence over all other train services because of their length and usually left Hull on a Monday morning around 11.00 a.m., arriving in Liverpool between 2.00 and 3.00pm.” The distance between Hull and Liverpool is about 125 miles. 

In summary, the Estenson family journey to America may have included:

  • Departure from Trondheim April 15, 1875
  • The ship Leif or Tasso, perhaps, to the Port of Hull, England
  • A brief wait in the Hull Paragon Railway Station waiting room
  • The North Eastern Railway train 3-4 hours to Liverpool
  • The Atlantic crossing on, perhaps, the S/S Indiana
  • Arrival in Philadelphia, May 1875, maybe about the 1oth.

So, that may be the Estenson family route to America, or something like this.

 

 

 

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