Thursday, June 21, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday–The S.S. Brazil - My Webster Family: Coming Full Circle - From The U.S.A. to Brazil and Back Again - Part 4

This is part of a series of posts dedicated to the immigration story of Debs Webster and his family.

S.S. Brazil Vintage Postcard

S.S. Brazil VIntage Postcard

This is the ship that carried Debs Webster and his family to a new life, a new country, a new language, a new culture.  They packed their trunks, said their goodbyes to their family, friends and homeland and set off on their new adventure.

What would life be like in America?  There were many things to think about:  new friends, new schools, new employment, new language.  And how quickly would they master this new language?  Debs could speak English.  Actually, he could speak three languages – Portuguese, Spanish and English.  Just one of the perks of being the son of the The Traveling Dentist.  The rest of the family hadn’t set foot outside of Brazil, so Portuguese was what they knew.  Ultimately, the children were able to master the English language, but it was more of a struggle for Debs’ wife and mother-in-law.

I remember my grandmother being able to understand English, but she was more comfortable speaking Portuguese.  So guess what?  I grew up hearing Portuguese spoken around me when we visited with my grandparents.  It was great!  Did I ever learn it?  No.  I really wish I had.

Were these emigrants scared, nervous, apprehensive or excited about their new adventure?  Perhaps it was a mixture of all of these emotions.

Whether scared or not, the decision was made and they were on their way.

So, on July 7, 1952, Debs and Willis Webster and their three children (my mom included) boarded the ship The S.S. Brazil at the port in Santos, Brazil.  Also joining them on their adventure was Willis’ 66-year old mother Helena.  She decided to emigrate with them.

The Webster Family on Board the S.S. Brazil July 1952
The Webster Family on Board The S.S. Brazil July 1952

The S.S. Brazil made two ports of call on it’s way to New York – Rio and Trinidad.  This brochure from 1949 shows the S.S. Brazil's travel route.

In the next installment of this story, I will be sharing more vintage postcards and fun photos from these ports of call.

What about you?  Have you ever moved far away?  How did you feel?  Were you scared, nervous, excited?

Bonus Info:

While doing research for this blog post I found some very interesting information about the S.S. Brazil.  Did you know that in 1942 the S.S. Brazil became a United States Army Transport Ship (USAT)?  After the war, it returned to “civilian life.”  You can read about that and other facts here.

Thanks for reading!

Copyright © Jana Last 2012


  1. Hi Jana,
    That's fantastic you were able to get so much information on your family immigration from Brazil!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I really have to thank my grandpa Debs for taking so many photos of their trip and for buying all of the cool postcards. His scrapbook and photo album have been so fun to look through!

  2. How wonderful to have those photos from the ship! That is indeed a treasure. Learning more about the immigration voyages of my ancestors is one of my family history goals ...

    1. My grandfather's scrapbook and photo album really are treasures for sure! I'm excited to share more photos and vintage postcards in the future.

      Thanks so much for reading my blog post and for your comments! I really appreciate it!

  3. How awesome that you have a postcard with an illustration of the actual ship! That's so cool!!! And having a photograph of them onboard is such a super bonus! I love this post (can you tell?).

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

    1. I'm so glad you like this post Cindy! That means a lot to me. Grandpa picked up a couple postcards from their port of call in Trinidad that I will be sharing in Part 5 of this story.

      Thanks for reading and for your comments! I really do appreciate it.

  4. Hey girl - that is a great find. It's always so much fun to learn more about my Webster ancestors.
    I too had a great find on Tuesday - I finally locacted the immigration records for David's Heberling line. His Great Great Grandfather Gottfried came to US from Germany on the "Munchen" in 1892 and debarked in Baltimore, Maryland. and his wife and 4 oldest boys came from Germany to Canada in 1893.
    I found photos of the Munchen II but not the Munchen I, but was able to get a good description of it. I will have to go on Ancestry and see what else I can find about the ships.

    1. Hello Norma! It's great to hear from you on my blog! Thanks for stopping by!

      I'm glad you are enjoying the adventures of our Webster ancestors.

      Congratulations on your awesome find. That's great!

      Again, thanks for reading and for your comments. I really appreciate it.

  5. Well I will try this again - I wrote one but I'm not sure it will appear so will do it again. It's go great that you found the ship records. I really enjoy seeing information on my Webster Ancestors. Keep up the good work.

    I had a really great find this past Tuesday at the Family History Center in Layton. I found immigration for David's Great Grandfather Gottfried Heberling from Germany to Baltimore 1892 aboard the "Munchen I. and His Great Great Grandmother Dorothea Heberling and 4 oldest children followed in 1983 from Germany to Canada.

    I will try Ancestry to see if I can locate more information about the ships they came on.

    Thanks for all you do. Love yor blogs

    1. Hi Norma,

      I answered your previous similar comment, but wanted to say how much I appreciate that you are enjoying my blog. That means a lot to me!

      Thanks for reading and for your comments. I appreceiate it so much!




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