|Back to columns page | Dave's other sites: > CanGenealogy > Genealogy Unlimited > Volhynia|
|Enough Food For An Entire Ship|
By Dave Obee
Ocean liners carried millions of people to new lands in the 20th century, and passenger lists remain one of the most important resources for genealogical researchers. Books have been published that help us determine which ship was which, and how our ancestors' ships compared to the others on the seas.
But what about the actual operation of these vessels? The more we can learn about that, after all, the better idea we will have about the voyages themselves.
Take, for instance, the menus available. It goes without saying that these menus would vary by the class of service, but there are ways to get a general idea of what life was like on board.
Consider the Empress of Russia, built for Canadian Pacific in Glasgow and launched in 1912. After a maiden voyage from Liverpool to Hong Kong through the Suez Canal, she entered Canadian Pacific's service across the Pacific Ocean, bringing people to and from Victoria, British Columbia.
The Empress of Russia crossed the Pacific more than 300 times
The Empress of Russia had three funnels. She was 570 feet long, measured almost 17,000 gross tons and had powerful engines that could drive her at a speed of 20 knots. She could carry 200 first class, 100 second class and 888 steerage passengers.
So what did it take to feed all those passengers? An answer may be found in the Victoria Daily Times in September, 1921, in a report that quoted W.J. Mylett, superintendent of the trans-Pacific service.
Here is Mylett's list of the foodstuffs taken on a round trip:
Admittedly, the Empress of Russia was more palatial than your typical immigrant ship. But the numbers will still give an idea of what life -- or, at least, eating -- was like on a trip across the oceans.
|Back to home page | Dave's other sites: > CanGenealogy > Genealogy Unlimited > Volhynia|