[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] -AGE at Ship's Manifest

Otto otto at schienke.com
Wed Nov 29 16:04:10 PST 2006

Was there any advantage for an adult to lie about their age on a ship's
passenger list?  For a child, I can see wanting to get a lower fare.   
what point would there be for someone who's 31 to say they're 25?  Or  
someone 58 to say they're 47?

In plain words, were our relatives 'shucking and jiving'? BS'ing? The  
shell game? Now you see it, now you don't? Makes one wonder...?

Some may feel they did lie about their age. The term 'lie' has a  
negative, destructive connotation to it. An act usually used to tear  
down the good. Almost sounds political. I feel our relatives stated  
'untruths.'  A self preservation reflex of self and kin. I doubt if  
their 'untruths' can be categorized as lies... I qualify them as  
'military strategy', an act to uphold the good.  One must place the  
time period of their emigration into context. Many emigrating from  
Russian Poland or Russia may have been subject to their military  
draft... Or Swedish draft, or Saxon draft, or perhaps Prussian draft?  
or Austrian draft? or French draft? So much for the life of the young  
male. Females would emigrate... advancing armies and soldiers wanted  
sex one way or another.  When they emigrated they left more than a  
homeland and a heartland, they left flesh and blood relatives too old  
to travel. Perhaps uncles and aunts and oodles of cousins remained,  
unable to flee as they. Such was the case of my relatives.  Blood  
bath over there. . . Camps... Executions...

What would you do in a case as this? Undoubtedly as I, protect my  
kin. Some changed names, some changed age... hiding their link to  
living kin in the 'old country' if possible. 1900-1920 evidenced the  
Great War [ww1] and the Russian Revolution, fought in our kin's back  
yards. (The Eastern Front battles surpassed the Western Front in  
ferocity)  1920-1950 proved the earlier period struggles were but  
calisthenics, a warm-up practice. The time period from 1800-1900 was  
no tea party. it was a time of turmoil and constant upheaval. I could  
just as well state 1500-1989.  My father returned in 1910 over family  
concern and was able to share in the Russian concentration camp  
vacations with the rest of the kin. During WW2 in the United States,  
at 53 years of age, Pop had to carry a draft card, placing him in  
fear he would be conscripted to serve as a translator in the European  
Theatre of war. It never dawned on him it was a clever way to keep  
track of his whereabouts. He wasn't trusted?

Name or age change on the ship's manifest can be only a small  
hindrance when using a 'cluster approach' in analyzation of the facts  

Qualify the name of the person (usually correct) the age, traveling  
companions, parent's names, place departed from, and place headed to  
with the name of the person.

Some ship's manifests had up to 22 categories that would collect  
information.  Following are a sample of questions that generate  
information:  Name in full, age, sex, marital status, calling or  
occupation, read/write, Nationality, Race or People, Last residence,  
Final Destination, Whether ever in the United States;  and if so;  
when and where?-Whether going to join a relative or friend; and if  
so, what relative or friend? and his name and complete address.

Establish nationality(land left behind), Race or People, Last Residence.
Go through the ship's manifest and itemize who shared these  
attributes, starting with the Last Residence.
If some of these match, go to the Final Destination, and if this  
matches go to Whether going to join a relative or friend and the  

At times I'll find what I think are unrelated names and they prove to  
be unknown links to the family.  One will often find the address of  
the Final Destination is a 'safe house' of arrival for the cluster,  
dispersing to private addresses after that.

. . .   Otto

             " The Zen moment..." wk. of November 19, 2006-
                    "Discard your best ideas... resist change!"

More information about the Ger-Poland-Volhynia mailing list