Perseverance Pays

Finally! After many years of research I have found concrete evidence that my ancestors did indeed come to America. I knew it of course, but had decided that they walked on water.

Courtesy of the Mariners Museum from the Sedgwick Collection

Listed on the Manifest dated October 22, 1866
SS City of Washington, LP - Queenstown - NY:

  • #154 Ann McGough 35
  •   155 Frank 11
  •   156 Michael 9
  •   157 Mary 7
  •   158 Bridget 3
  •   159 Ann Infant
Ann was new to us, and must have died soon after the voyage. The bit of truth in family stories! Our ggfather came to the US prior to the family.

This family of six was among 624 passengers on the crossing, leaving Liverpool on October 10th, a Wednesday, and Queenstown on the 11th. Another ship that same day, SS Manhattan, had 967 passengers from LP & QT.


SS City of Washington, Capt Roskell
British Mail Steamer built in 1853 by Todd & McGregor - Glasgow
Inman Line 2885 Tons; 302 x 40 x 26

How Did I Find Them?

I had a date from a naturalization certificate of one of the children, Michael. He stated an arrival date of 25 October 1865 in New York. I ordered microfilm from the Mormon FHC copies of the New York Passenger Lists for October 1865 - and something made me order October 1866.

Just at the point of saying I do not care, I found the entry!

The dates I was searching has one microfilm for almost every month of the year, so it is a needle in a haystack if you have no idea of the period of time. I read through one whole film and had almost given up on the second. The film was poor, and a print of the pages of entry was poorer yet, so I did a digital photo of the entries. I had planned to copy the passenger list and post it on the Immigrant Ships Transcribers List (ISTL) online, but it was mostly unreadable.

I decided to try a trip to the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia, www.mariner.org, on the chance that they would have a photograph. Within 10 minutes I had two photos. Had the two copied, and ordered copies of the photos themselves. Great resource and a world class research library. The photography collection is not online as yet. Research is undertaken by the library.

Next day I went to my local library and read microfilm for the New York Times for 22 October 1866. No luck, so tried the 21st. The ship arrived on Sunday the 21st, and the manifest was dated Monday the 22nd. The New York Times had a column titled Marine Intelligence listing ships arrival and departures. Yet another resource!

New York Times 22 October 1866

Miniature Almanac-This Day
Sun rises 6:9 | Sun Sets 5:10 | Moon sets 4:30
High Water-This day
Sandy Hook 5:54 | Gov. Island 6:43 | Hells Gate 8:05

Marine Intelligence

New York . . . .Sunday Oct 21 (1866)

Arrived . . . [among others - edited]

Steamship City of Washington; (Br.), Roskell; Liverpool
10th via Queenstown 11th inst, with mdse. and 624 passengers to John G. Dale. 19th inst. ., lat. 42.27, lon 60.12, passed steamship City of Dublin, hence for Liverpool: same day, 6:13 P.M., lat 41.55, lon 62.44, steamship Marathon: 10:50 P.M., lat 41.40 lon. 63.30, steamship City of Cork, bound E.: 21st 147 miles E. of Sandy Hook, steamship City of Boston, bound E. Wind - at sunset S.W.

Now I need to find a image of the globe with the Atlantic showing and I could mark the latitude and longitude of the ships passage!

Online, the Ships List, www.theshipslist.com, is another resource. I searched the archives on the ships name and found:

The "City of Wahington" was built in 1855 by Tod & MacGregor, Glasgow for the Inman Line of Liverpool. This was a 2,381 gross ton ship, length 319ft x beam 40ft, clipper stem, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 10 knots. Launched on 1/8/1855, she sailed in September of that year from Liverpool to Marseilles, where she was chartered to the French government and used as a Crimean War transport. On 5/11/1856 she commenced her first Liverpool - Philadelphia voyage and after this one voyage, inaugurated Inman Line's Liverpool - New York service, leaving Liverpool on 31/12/1856. In November 1864 she was reconditioned and fitted with new boilers after having completed 63 N.Atlantic round voyages. In 1869 she was rebuilt to a length of 358ft and 2,870 tons and on 5/6/1869 commenced her first voyage after alterations from Liverpool to Queenstown (Cobh), Halifax and New York. She was wrecked near Cape Sable on 7/7/1873 due to a defective compass, with no loss of life. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.1, p.239] - [Posted to The ShipsList by Ted Finch - 18 January 1998]

Emigrants at this time would have gone to Castle Garden, aka Castle Clinton. See a picture of the station c 1871 and details of an immigrants experience at the time..

Additional research at the local Chesapeake Mormon Family History Center has garnered baptism names and dates that I feel relate to the above children. The microfilm is Aghnamulllen East Parish #0926048 or 097647. This is for the Parish also known as Lough Egish. Not all Catholic parishes are available. See the listing at: Catholic Parish Registers

I really feel I have "put more flesh on the bones" of my ancestors. There is always a feeling of such humility when I do research. Our ancestors went through so much to survive and make lives better for their children!

For further information email Ann Harney, aka Nancy McGeough, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Monaghan Front Page
McGeough Front Page