Immigration of Johan Emil Jakobsson

Finding the passenger manifest of the ship your immigrant ancestor arrived on is a biggee for the family historian. Particularly if your ancestor arrived during the Ellis Island years, as my direct ancestors did. It can be a goldmine. You now can possibly know his full name, his physical description, his town of origin and family members back home and those in America who he is counting on to help him begin a new life in America. I have found it wise to go back again and again and truly inspect that manifest to see what other nuggets of info can be gleaned from it.

The "Mauretania" pulled into New York harbor on May 19,1911. On board was my great Uncle Emil Jacobson.

*New York passenger lists 1820-1957, year 1911, Arrival 19 May, 
Microfilm serial: T715, Microfilm roll:T715_1680, line #24*
*click to enlarge documents for easier reading, Uncle Emil is line #24*

From the initial look at this manifest I got these great statistics for my family tree

*name - Jakobsson Johan Emil
*age, marital status, occupation  -  28, married, railway official - this info assures me I have found MY Uncle Emil as I knew his birthdate and occupation from family records I had seen earlier.
*last permanent residence, next of kin - Svenljunga, Elfsborg, wife:Anna Jakobsson
*final destination - New Briton Connecticut which he has a ticket to
*ticket was paid by - self
*money in his possession - $35
*in the US before - no
*contact in the US- cousin: John Petterson 44 Kelsey St, New Briton, Conn.
*physical description - good health, 5'3", blond hair, blue eyes, no distinguishing marks
*place of birth - Sweden, Mårdeklev, Elfsborg

The later in depth look at this manifest gave me  more info to help in my further research. More importantly, the details, even the smallest details on this manifest give me more insight and understanding of Uncle Emil's immigrant experience.

*I now know the proper Swedish spelling of Uncle Emils name which will assist me in searching Swedish records. His name follows the "rule?" I have seen before with Swedish names. What we view as the middle name is what many are called by in Sweden. The first name is in honor of a saint or an honored family member. Ellis Island took names right off of the manifest. Ellis Island did not change his name. Uncle Emil himself "Americanized" his name to John Emil Jacobson.
*"Elfsborg", it seems is an alternate spelling of Älvsborg, the lan in which the family resides. That info proved to be useful in other Swedish record searches.
*Aunt Anna's address was Stommen-Hid so I know that she and the children stayed with her parents while Emil was in America. Can I deduct then that the family approved of his journey to America? My grandmother Lydia was the first of the immediate family to go to America in 1909. Can I deduct that the family approved or felt that going to America had been a good decision for her if they now supported Anna and her family?
*Uncle Emil had $35 dollars on him. That seems a bit higher than the other immigrants. Better prepared?
*Who was this cousin John Petterson? We know the family ended up in Illinois. Aunt Anna listed Moline, Illinois when she entered the country with their children.  Was Connecticutt a bust so he moved on to the lure of ample work in Illinois? Did Uncle Emil ever intend to go to Connecticut? Did his cousin even know he was coming? Some immigrants used names of relatives gone before whether or not they had been in contact to sound more legit?
*5'3" Well, I did remember Uncle Emil being this quiet little guy following behind his tall imposing wife. But that is the memory of a little girl that really did not have a lot of contact with my great aunt and uncle. Aunt Anna scared me as a child. She would march up to our door clutching her pock-a book ( I remember my grandmother using that word). She seemed large and looming and knocked boldly on our door. "Go to get yur mudder, and tell her Tanta Anna is here." and in she came with Uncle Emil following meekly behind. I don't recall ever hearing him speak! Looking at the manifest I see only 1 of the 30 on that page reached 6ft in height. So he was shorter for a fellow but everyone was shorter in those days. And the large looming Aunt Anna I remember? Her manifest states she was 5'9". Even as a fairly short adult (5'3") she doesn't seem that scary to me any more. I also thought Uncle Emil had dark hair not "blond" as the manifest stated but again my memories of Aunt Anna and Uncle Emil are sparse and from the perspective of a little child who seldom saw them.
* None of the folks logged before or after him come from the same town. I would think that friends traveling together would also disembark or be registered together. The manifest of those leaving from Gothenburg shows the same. This tells me that Emil was most likely traveling alone.
*I noted 5 persons, out of 30 on this page were "non-immigrant aliens". It seems many Swedish immigrants went back and forth from Sweden. Perhaps the husband went to work and make money returning periodically to his family back home in Sweden? Missing family and just returning for a visit? Did America not live up to its promise for some?
*Emil sailed "steerage" class which brings up visions of being in the hold of the ship like cattle., Indeed in the early days of immigration on sailing ships it was a pretty rough trip that could last a month or more depending on the weather. Crowded, unsanitary conditions, poor inadequate food, sickness spreading and killing many, particularly the very young and very old.

Uncle Emil however came on the "Mauretania".

Steerage was now called third class which is how most immigrants traveled. His trip was 6 days long. In 1909 the "Mauretania" received the blue ribard award for crossing the Atlantic in the shortest time and held that honor until 1929. The ship was huge and widely praised for its accommodations for third class passengers. Before World War I the "Mauretania" alone brought 181 thousand immigrants to America. He also traveled in May when violent weather was less likely. He may have had plenty of opportunity to stroll above deck. Outside of missing family and home, which I am sure was hard, the actual trip on the "Mauretania" was probably not bad, maybe even pleasant.

Another interesting note is that the "Mauretania" on its return trip in June of 1911 transported thousands traveling to Great Britain for the coronation of King George V.

For lots of interesting information about the "Mauretania" and its accommodations 
click ▼

For now, that's all, but I am sure I will check out this manifest again at a later date. You never know what you will discover when you look at a document with new eyes.