Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thanks for Traveling Frederick! ~ Esther Travels Again

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.

Esther Matus Villatoro Webster
Esther (Matus Villatoro) Webster

This is my maternal great-grandmother, Esther Matus Villatoro. She was married to my "Traveling Dentist" great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster.

The last time I shared a travel-related document about Esther with you, she was traveling with her one-year-old daughter, Carlota. They were listed on a passenger list dated October 19, 1911.

The passenger list1 I'm sharing with you today is dated late January - February of 1913. As of this date, Esther was the mother of two young daughters, Carlota and Edna. And these two daughters were Esther's traveling companions on the S.S. Voltaire sailing from Santos, Brazil to the Port of New York.

Passenger List for Esther, Carlota, and Edna Webster Feb. 19, 1913 Image Straightened

Here's a cropped portion of the passenger list.

Passenger List for Esther, Carlota, and Edna Webster Feb. 19, 1913 Image Straightened and Cropped

What information can we glean from this passenger list?

  1. Esther, Carlota, and Edna sailed on the S.S. Voltaire
  2. Port of departure – Santos, Brazil
  3. Date of departure – January 29, 1913
  4. Port of arrival – New York, United States
  5. Date of arrival – February, 1913
  6. Esther's age – 19
  7. Esther's sex – Female
  8. Esther's marital status – Married
  9. Esther's place and date of birth – El Paso, Texas in 1893 (This is incorrect. She was born in Arriaga, Chiapas, Mexico. At the end of this line under the column heading "Address In United States" the correct place of birth is listed for Esther. Perhaps there was some miscommunication here. I also see another bit of incorrect information listed on this line. See the words "Husband born in Chicago, Ill." in parentheses? That is also incorrect. Frederick was born in Coolville, Athens, Ohio.)
  10. Under the column heading "Address In United States," El Paso, Texas is listed in parentheses. I'm wondering if that's where they were headed to meet their husband and father, Frederick Webster, a.k.a. "The Traveling Dentist."
  11. Carlota's age – 1
  12. Carlota's sex – Female
  13. Carlota's marital status – Single
  14. Carlota's place and date of birth – It looks like US is crossed out and the correct place and date of birth are in the next column listed as Arriaga, Mexico in 1911. Also notice that in parentheses it says "Daughter of USC." I think it's safe to assume that USC stands for U.S. Citizen, not University of Southern California. Haha!
  15. Edna's age – 3 months
  16. Edna's sex – Female
  17. Edna's marital status – Single
  18. Edna's place and date of birth – Again, the correct information is listed in the next column over. She wasn't born in Mexico like her sister Carlota. Edna was born in Santos, Brazil in 1912.

As you can see from looking at the information in this document, it contained some errors. If I had only relied on this one document in my research, I would have recorded inaccurate information in my family tree. It's really important to find all the documents we can when researching our ancestors so that we can make sure the information we have for our ancestors is as accurate as possible.

It's interesting that El Paso, Texas is listed on this passenger list. I think it's quite possible that Frederick was, in fact, in El Paso, Texas and that Esther, Carlota, and Edna were meeting him there. In a passport application for Frederick dated April 17, 1907, he stated that his permanent residence at that time was El Paso, Texas. Perhaps he had ties there and returned in 1913.

I find it amazing that Esther, as a young mother, was traveling alone with two very young children. She must have had her hands full on that ship all by herself. And if she was continuing on to El Paso, Texas, she still had about 2,000 miles yet to travel with her two young daughters.

Thanks for reading!


© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last

1 Source Citation: Year: 1913; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 2016; Line: 1; Page Number: 142. Source Information: Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.


  1. A fascinating post. The photograph of Esther conveys a sense of a young determined woman - and stylish with that hat. I also like the way you have analysed the information from the passenger list. It reminds me of my great grandmother's sister Alice (Rawcliffe) Mason who sailed from Liverpool to New York in 1887 with 6 children under 11 years old - plus two items of baggage. How on earth did she manage? Her husband had gone ahead, sailing the year previously, so she was on her own with the children. .

    1. Hi Sue,

      I agree with you. Esther does have a rather determined look on her face. And I suppose she would have to be determined with all of the traveling she did by herself. I love the hat she was wearing too.

      I can't imagine how your great-grandmother's sister Alice sailed across the Atlantic with 6 children! Talk about determined!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Nice blog post, and a great reminder to gather all the sources you can find.

    1. Hi Ellie,

      Thank you for your kind words! And yes, it's so important to gather all of the sources we can as we conduct our family history research.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. That is one awesome hat! :-)

    1. Hi John,

      I agree with you! I just love Esther's hat! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. That family did get around! But I do wonder why she had to travel with such a young baby in tow by herself.

    1. Hi Wendy,

      That is a good point you have there. Why did Esther travel with those two little kids all by herself? It's too bad they didn't have a column on the passenger list to answer that question (and many more). =)




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