Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Carl Albert Gillberg – Leaving from Liverpool

Gillberg, Carl Albert - UK Outward Passenger Lists 1890-1960

I love immigration and naturalization records. This amazing UK, Outward Passenger List1 is from It shows my great-grandfather, Carl Albert Gillberg, with his step-daughter Judith, and daughter Margaret. See their names and information in the red box? Here's a close-up view.

Gillberg, Carl Albert - UK Outward Passenger Lists 1890-1960 Cropped

Information gleaned from this document:
  • Name of Ship – Canada
  • Date of Departure – September 9, 1909
  • Where Bound – Quebec and Montreal
  • Carl's port at which he contracted to land – Montreal
  • Port of Departure – Liverpool
  • Carl's profession – Mechanic
  • Carl's age – 27 years old
  • Judith's age – 11 years old
  • Margaret's age – 7 years old

So, of course looking at this document raises some questions for me.
  1. Carl and his family lived in Eskilstuna, Sweden. He and his daughters would have had to travel to Liverpool, England, the port from which they left for the United States. How did they get to Liverpool? And where did they stay before the ship left?
  2. Why was Carl's profession listed as a mechanic? On two other documents he is listed as a tinsmith.
  3. Carl's 1924 Declaration of Intention states that he entered the United States on September 18, 1909 at the Port of Chicago in Illinois. But on a different passenger list, there is a handwritten note near Carl's name stating the following – Detroit 9-19-09 C. P. Ry. Through which port did Carl enter the United States? The Google Map below shows the relation of Montreal to Detroit and Chicago.
Googlemap showing Carl Gillberg's Port of Arrival in Montreal Canada

I did a Google search for "C P Railway" and Canadian Pacific Railway came up as an option. Here's a map from the Library of Congress that shows some of the Canadian Pacific Railway lines, particularly from Montreal, Canada westward. It appears that the ports of Detroit and Chicago were part of the Canadian Pacific Railway lines. So, now I'm not sure if Carl entered the United States at the Port of Detroit or the Port of Chicago.

Library of Congress Map of Canadian Pacific Railway Lines

Unfortunately, these questions may remain unanswered. But what I do know is that Carl and his daughters did travel across the Atlantic Ocean in 1909, leaving Carl's wife, Hilda, and another daughter, Naomi, back in Sweden. Hilda and Naomi would emigrate from Sweden to the United States the following year.

The family settled in Salt Lake City, Utah, where my grandmother, Ingrid Anna Gillberg, was born. Years later they moved to California, where Carl and Hilda became citizens of the United States of America.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last

1 UK, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.


  1. I am digging immigration records big time lately too. Lots of good information.

    1. Hi Andrea,

      Thanks! I think immigration records are pretty awesome too. =)

  2. I need to go back and look more closely at the immigration records I've found for my ancestors - thanks for the reminder!

    1. Hi Debi,

      You're welcome! Hope you find some great stuff in your records!

  3. What a cool record, Jana. I like the way you've researched the railroad lines. I need to look for outward-bound passenger lists like this for a couple of my husband's ancestors. Hope I strike it as lucky as you did!

    1. Hi Shelley,

      Thanks! This was such a cool find for me. I didn't know that Carl left Sweden, traveled to England, and then left from there as he immigrated to America. Good luck in your research!

  4. A fascinating story, Jana and I liked the way you told the story through the maps. It reminded me of my great grandmother's sister. Alice Mason, nee Rawcliffe who sailed from Liverpool to New York in 1897 to join her husband who had gone out the year before. Like you, I found a similar record which showed Alice was sailing with 6 children under the age of 11 - and such a telling brief entry "with two pieces of baggage". How on earth did she manage!

    1. Hi Sue,

      Thank you! Wow! Your Alice sounds like she was a very brave woman. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. In my own experience, of the two, Detroit is a much more likely candidate for port of entry than Chicago. Maybe Chicago was just his intended destination? Having immigrants in the 1900's is so much nicer because there are more detailed records. Good luck!

    1. Hi Sally,

      Yes, I agree that Detroit does seem like the more likely candidate for Carl's port of entry. He actually was ultimately traveling on to Salt Lake City. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I'm sure you've written about this family before, so maybe you've already answered my question. Do you know why he took 2 little girls with him while their mother was left behind?

    I echo Sue's comment about how the maps help clarify this story. So often I can see something in my head and so I assume everyone else can too, but that's not so. I need to keep this in mind -- more maps!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      That's a very good question. I have a feeling it was because of financial reasons. If I remember correctly, they had to work to earn enough money to send for the rest of the family. I can't even imagine moving to a new country and leaving part of the family behind for who knows how long. Talk about difficult!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Fascinating information on the passenger lists, Jana. My grandfather came from northern England in 1911 to Canada, settling in Vancouver BC. In late 1914 after WW2 began, he eventually received a loan from the Salvation Army to finally bring over from Barrow in Furness, England, his wife and 5 children (from 4-15 yrs of age)-- including my 7 year old dad. Travelling across the Atlantic, with all those kids, plus the rail travel from one coast to the other to Vancouver - It seems extremely daunting to me!!

    1. Hi Celia,

      Wow! They were apart for a very long time! And your grandmother was very brave to travel across the Atlantic with all of those kids by herself. Amazing!




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