Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thanks for Traveling Frederick! – It's Esther's Turn to Travel

This is part of a series of posts in which I share the documents relating to the travels of Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster and his family.

Fred and Esther Webster with Carlota and Edna Webster
The Webster Family
L to R - Frederick, Carlota, Edna, Esther

I wonder if Esther (Matus Villatoro) Webster, would have traveled as much as she did during her life if her husband, Frederick, a.k.a "The Traveling Dentist," hadn't traveled as much as he did. I've decided to include the travels of Frederick's wife and children as part of this series of posts called "Thanks for Traveling Frederick!"

Today I'm sharing a passenger list1 from October 19, 1911 showing Esther and her daughter Carlota traveling alone. Where was Frederick? Was he already in the United States? Were Esther and Carlota traveling to meet him? I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. I wonder how Esther felt traveling by herself with a one year old child.

Passenger List for Esther and Carlota Webster 1911

According to this passenger list, Esther and Carlota sailed on the S.S. Morro Castle. I found a picture of this ship. I think it's fascinating to see what this ship looked like.

S. S. Morro Castle
S.S. Morro Castle ~ Wikimedia Commons
No Copyright

What can we glean from the passenger list (above)?
  1. Esther and Carlota sailed on the S.S. Morro Castle
  2. Port of Departure – Veracruz, Mexico
  3. Date of Departure – October 19, 1911
  4. On line 2 we see Carlota Webster listed.  She was Frederick and Esther's oldest child.
  5. Carlota's Age was 1
  6. Carlota's Nationality – United States citizen
  7. On line 3 we see Esther Webster listed.
  8. Esther's age was 20
  9. Esther was married
  10. Esther's Nationality – United States citizen
  11. Esther's Race – Mexican
I think it's interesting that Esther's nationality (Country of which citizen or subject) was first listed as Mexico.  Then that was crossed out and U.S. was written over Mexico.  Also, in the column of Race for Esther, Mexican was crossed out and U.S. was written in.

Was Esther's nationality (Country of which citizen or subject) changed from Mexico to U.S. because she automatically became a U.S. citizen when she married Frederick Webster in 1910? I found the following information helpful regarding Esther and her citizenship status.

In the article
Seven Keys to Understanding Naturalization Records at Ancestry.com,2 the following is stated:
'"Derivative" citizenship was granted to wives and minor children of naturalized men. From 1790 to 1922, wives of naturalized men automatically became citizens. This also meant that an alien woman who married a U.S. citizen automatically became a citizen.'
In a separate article, I found the following regarding marriage and citizenship of alien women. Marian L. Smith stated in her article "Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married . . ." Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802-1940 at Archives.gov:3
"In other cases, the immigrant woman suddenly became a citizen when she and her U.S. citizen fiance were declared "man and wife." In this case her proof of citizenship was a combination of two documents: the marriage certificate and her husband's birth record or naturalization certificate. If such an alien woman also had minor alien children, they, too, derived U.S. citizenship from the marriage. As minors, they instantly derived citizenship from the "naturalization-by-marriage" of their mother. If the marriage took place abroad, the new wife and her children could enter the United States for the first time as citizens."

This wasn't the only time I found Esther on a passenger list. I'll be sharing more documents from Esther's travels in future posts.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last

1 Source Citation: Year: 1911; ; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: T715_1763; Line: 3; ; Page Number: 180. Source Information: Ancestry.com. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
2 "Seven Keys to Understanding Naturalization Records." Ancestry.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Aug. 2013.
3 Smith, Marian L. "Prologue: Selected Articles." Prologue: Selected Articles. National Archives, Summer 1998. Web. 20 Aug. 2013.


  1. Oh, your Esther is just gorgeous, Jana! I cannot imagine traveling by steamship with a 1-year-old, no matter how few days required for the travel. Brave Esther! Did Frederick speak Spanish, do you know? Or maybe Esther spoke English.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Thank you! I think Esther was a very pretty lady too. =)

      I also think she was very brave to go by herself with her 1-year old daughter on this ship.

      I really don't know if Frederick spoke Spanish, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. He must have also learned Portuguese because he and Esther ended up living in Brazil. My grandfather Debs (their son) could speak English, Spanish and Portuguese.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Oh I agree with you Nancy... When I first saw the photo all I could see was Esther and thought how stunningly beautiful she was.
    I wondered if she may have been South American because a 2x Great Uncle of mine, who was a mariner, married a South American woman and, although I haven't seen a photo of his wife, the photo of their daughter resembles that of your Esther.
    Like you, I enjoy finding photos/paintings of the ships upon which my Ancestors travelled. Great post...thanks. Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Thank you! Esther was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico, but later moved with her husband Frederick to Brazil. That's where my grandfather was born.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. The photo is stunning! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Hi Sally,

      Thank you! I really do love this photo. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This is interesting information about citizenship. To my knowledge, I will not have the issue of citizenship in my research, but reading this post makes me appreciate what other family historians must deal with in their research.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      In some ways it's disappointing that a woman who married a man who was already a U.S. citizen didn't have to go through the citizenship process. That paper trail is so valuable to us genealogists. :)

  5. It looks like there is another Webster on the passenger list, below Esther's name. Perhaps a relative of Frederick's? I can't read the first name, but the age looks like 40.

    1. Hi Amanda,

      I saw that Webster name as well. I don't know of any connection to Frederick's family though. Thank you for noticing that! =)

      Thanks for stopping by!




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