Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Ship Manifest, a Passport, and a Newspaper in your research

My great grandfather, Francisco Machado Drummond, grandson of Francisco Ferreira Drummond, the historian from São Sebastião, Terceira Island – Azores, came to Rio de Janeiro with his second wife and son of six months, on the year of 1883. Having a copy of their passport in my hands I was able to know that they were travelling around the months of June or July of that year as the ticket’s receipt was attached to his passport.

I decided to find more about my great grandfather and his arrival in Brazil, so the best place to do my research was using the Arquivo Nacional online database, this is the National Archives of Brazil. If I could find the ship manifest with his name and his family it would be great. The Arquivo Nacional has a large database on Portuguese immigration and is always updating it with more records.

After looking on some steamers arrivals at that time, I finally found the ship they travelled to Brazil, the Lissabon, from the SÜDAMERIKANISCHEN DAMPFSCHIFFAHRTS GESSELSCHAFT After downloading the pdf to my computer, I took a careful look on the manifest and was able to find the date of arrival, July 8th 1893, the commandant’s name, Holm, and extensive list of 363 passengers, all in 3rd class. Although the ship steamer had 2nd and 1st class, if there were passengers there, they didn’t list them, I don't know why. No death took place during the trip and all arrived in good condition.

You will be able to find other companies that traveled to South America researching on this website that list all companies and their steamers. It is a huge work accomplished by www.histarmar.com.ar, its in spanish. Click here to see the general index of all ships.

The newspapers of that time usually had information on what was happening on the Ports of Brazil, and knowing that the main library in Brazil, the Biblioteca Nacional, has them digitized and fully researchable my next step was finding the ones with the approximate date of the ship’s arrival. I not only found the one of my interest but got some new information - the names of other passengers that were not listed on the Ship Manifest besides the ones of the 3rd class. I don’t know why they did not list those passengers on the manifest, but they probably were travelling on the 1st and/or 2nd class. The number of days the ship took from São Miguel to Rio de Janeiro - 16 of a total of 27 days. The newspaper also has a list of all the ships that were arriving on that day besides the Lissabon, as well as other ones that were expected to arrive on the next couple of days.

I learned that we really need to go as further as possible in our research, searching all kinds of sources because when we less expect we can find something new that can lead us to unexpected discoveries!

Detail of "O Pais - Domingo,  9 de Julho de 1893"


  1. Can anyone possibly give me some help with locating a 5th great grandfather from the 1700's? The only thing I know of him is that his last name may have been Grifo/Griffon/Griffin and he was a Portuguese ship owner. His daughter, my 4th Great Grandmother was Martha Griffon/Griffin Bacon Morrison.

    1. Hi Linda, Thanks for visiting my blog. If you email me, myportuguesegen at gmail dot com, I may help you, but I will need more information on your 4th ggrandmother.


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