Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 14 Genealogy Challenge - Journey to Canada

Write a diary or journey entry that details your immigrant ancestor's journey. What are their impressions of their fellow passengers. Research passenger lists and ships documents to make your description more accurate. I have picked my 3X great grandmother Johanna Stanton Driscol who was from Skibbereen, West Cork, Ireland. She left Ireland in 1846 in the height of the potato famine.

Dear Diary,
I fear this journey will kill me! We have been on this ship for almost a month now and I am so hungry and dirty. There is sickness and fever everywhere on this boat. We are jammed together having maybe six feet by 18 inches total to ourselves in which to sleep and eat. The bunks are 6x6 but we sleep four to a bunk and I was lucky that my mother and father and two brothers are also aboard so I don't have to share my bunk with strangers. I hear we started with 300 aboard in a boat that is only supposed to hold 150. We had to bring our own food for the voyage and there are now weevils and maggots in it. We still eat it because we won't survive if we have no nourishment. We are given 2 pints of water a day, but it is often fetid and I fear some of what is making us so sick. There is a slop bucket in a corner where we relieve ourselves, but it often gets tipped over when the boat hits rough weather and there is typhoid fever and dysentery on board. Every day there are people dying and I worry about my husband Denis who has become ill this day. People are sick in their bunks and the vomit is dripping down to the bunk underneath.They call these ships coffin ships and now I know why. We left Skibbereen because we were starving there. Thousands are dying from the potato famine and we felt the only way we could survive was to buy passage on a ship to Canada. The tickets were less expensive than buying one for America and it took all we had. We each brought a small bundle of clothes which was basically all we had left after selling what little we had for tickets. I hear once we are there, it will be easy to get into America and that is our plan. I pray we all make it!

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