Archiver > PENNA-DUTCH > 1998-04 > 0892311609

From: "Michael Palmer" <>
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1998 08:20:09 -800

On Fri, 10 Apr 1998, wrote:

> I was trying to help someone ???
> Who was looking for the ship "PINK PLAISANCE" ...
> The following is a reply from the, Mystic Seaport
> Subject: Pink PLAISANCE
> To:
> The pink PLAISANCE (pink refers to the ship type, and is not part of its
> name) arrived in Philadelphia in September 1732, as you are probably
> aware.
> We have no further information about her, as our earliest ship registers
> date from the mid-18th century.
> Although we could not help you with this inquiry, please do not hesitate
> to contact us if we can be of assistance in the future.
> Thank you for your interest in Mystic Seaport.
> Wendy Schnur
> Reference Assistant
> G. W. Blunt White Library
> Mystic Seaport
> PO Box 6000
> Mystic CT 06355

To which Sharon <> replied:

> ... the passenger list can be found at the following url:

As I have posted before, the passenger lists at this URL should be used
with a great deal of circumspection as they contain errors and are
misleading. The list of the pink PLAISANCE at this URL

1. Conflates three different lists;

2. Does not present the names as spelled in the original documents,
but "improves" certain spellings to what the poster thinks they
"should" be; and

3. Does not preserve the original order of the lists, but presents
the names in alphabetical order, thereby destroying the context for
individual names. 18th-century German immigrants often traveled in
groups bound together by ties of family or friendship, and the
order in which the names appear on the lists are important, since
determining the place of origin of any one member of a group will
enable the researcher to determine the places of origin of *all*
members of the same group.

Four lists of passengers on board the pink PLAISANCE, which arrived
at Philadelphia in September 1732 survive:

A. The Captain's list. This list gives the names of all passengers
aboard the vessel, and the ages of all the adults (viz., those aged
16 years and over). The list is divided into three parts, the
first containing the names of the adult males (i.e., those aged 16
years and over), the second the names of the adult females,
and the third the names of all the children, of both sexes, aged
under 16 years; the ages of the individual children are not given.
The person compiling the list (either the captain or the mate) was an
Englishman, and while he almost certainly had a working knowledge of
German he had no knowledge of German orthography, so the names are
spelled phonetically.

B/C. These are the lists of the adult males (those aged 16 years and
over) who "qualified"--that is, who signed the oaths of allegiance
(B) and of abjuration (C)--at the courthouse in Philadelphia on
21 September 1734, at the court house in Philadelphia, before the
governor of Pennsylvania, the mayor of Philadelphia, "& other

D. Because the passengers on the PLAISANCE, like all passengers
qualifying to 19 October 1736, signed the oaths of allegiance and
abjuration before the Provincial Council, the names of the signers of
the oath of allegiance were incorporated by the Clerk of Council into
the Council minutes. These minutes have been published in the
_Colonial Records_, vol. 3, p. 454. Since they are derived from List
B (and contain errors of transcription), they are considered a
secondary, rather than a primary source.

(As an aside, the date 21 September 1732 is *not* the date of arrival, but
the date the adult male passengers signed the oaths of allegiance and
abjuration, an event that usually took place from two to 10 days after the
vessel arrived.)

Lists A-C (and the Council minutes containing List D) are preserved in the
Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. Their texts have been published
several times, the standard edition being Ralph Beaver Strassburger,
_Pennsylvania German Pioneers; A Publication of the Original Lists of
Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808_, edited by William
John Hinke (Norristown, PA, 1934), Lists 22 A-C, vol. 1, pp. 78-83 (text),
and vol. 2, pp. 70-74 (facsimiles of signatures on lists B and C).
"Strassburger-Hinke", as it is familiarly known, is a standard
genealogical reference work, and should be accessible at almost any
genealogical library.

With reference to the history of the vessel itself, it is extremely
difficult to trace the history of merchant vessels prior to 1764 (the
date of the earliest surviving volume of _Lloyd's Register of Shipping_),
unless they became the subject of a protracted lawsuit. The principal
sources for the history of 18th-century British merchant vessels are:

1. The Port Books, established by the Exchequer in 1564 and discontinued
in 1799. Their importance lies in the fact that they record the
names of individuals loading goods on board vessels for
transportation overseas. There are several types of port books, kept
concurrently by different customs officials. The most important for
genealogical research are those of the Customer, who noted not only
the names of those loading dutiable goods, but also the names of the
master, mariners, and others "allowed" certain goods duty free. For
the use of port books to determine passengers on a particular vessel,
see Marion Balderston, "The Real 'Welcome' Passengers," _Huntington
Library Quarterly_, 26 (1962), pp. 31-56, reprinted in Michael
Tepper, ed., _New World Immigrants; a consolidation of ship
passenger lists and associated data from periodical literature_
(Baltimore 1979), pp. 250-275. The port books are deposited in
the Public Record Office in Kew, Records of the Exchequer, Kings
Remembrancer (E.190). They have been used extensively by Peter
Wilson Coldham in his four-volume _Complete Book of Emigrants_.
Unfortunately, the 18th-century port books for London do not survive,
having been calendared and then destroyed in 1897. The surviving
port books can be difficult to use, in part because entries
relating to a single vessel are scattered through several different
volumes, and in part because they were so badly damaged by mildew as
to be almost illegible. For a fuller description of port books and a
discussion of their reliability, see G. N. Clark, _Guide to English
Commercial Statistics, 1696-1782_ (London 1938), pp. 52-56;
Sven-Erik Astr"om, "The Reliability of the English Port Books,"
Scandinavian Economic History Review_, 16 (1968), pp. 125-136; and
Donald Woodward, "Sources for Maritime History (III): The Port Books
of England and Wales," _Maritime History_, 3 (1973), 147-165.

2. The best-known source for entrances and clearances of vessels in
colonial waters is the Colonial Naval Officers' Returns. These are
colonial port records prepared at customs districts in British
America by an official known as the "naval officer", despite the name
a civilian administrative official, not a member of the military
establishment. The returns were prepared quarterly, and provide,
inter alia, the following information for each vessel:
1) Time of entry;
2) Name of vessel;
3) Name of master;
4) Type of vessel (build/rigging);
5) Number of tons, guns, men;
6) Where and when built;
7) Where and when registered
The primary difficulty these records present their incomplete
coverage: some contain information only on entrances or clearances,
and many records, including those for Pennsylvania, do not survive.
(The earliest surviving "customs" record of Philadelphia entrances
and clearances is the Custom House Tonnage Books, 1765-1775, in the
Thomas Cadwallader Section, Cadwallader Collection, at the Historical
Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. See Thomas M. Doerflinger,
_A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise: Merchants and Economic Development
in Revolutionary Philadelphia_ [Chapel Hill, NC, 1986], pp. 388-389.)
The surviving Naval Officers' Returns are deposited in the Public
Record Office in Kew, among the records of both the Colonial Office
(CO) and of the Treasury (T.64). At least some (and possibly
all) the surviving records were microfilmed by E. P. Microform Ltd,
of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in the early 1980's, and copies of
these microfilms may be available through Interlibrary Loan. For a
more detailed description of these records, see John J. McCusker, "An
Introduction to the Naval Officer Shipping Lists" (unpublished
manuscript, 1976), pp. 7, 26, and 29-32. For an excellent map and
description of the British Customs Districts ("ports") in North
America, see Lester J. Cappon, et al., ed., _Atlas of Early American
History: The Revolutionary Era, 1760-1790_ (Princeton, NJ, 1976),
pp. 40, 119-120. For a description of the Colonial Naval Officers
and their duties, see Thomas C. Barrow, _Trade and Empire: The
British Customs Service in Colonial America, 1660-1775_ (Cambridge,
MA, 1967), p. 78.

3. Mediterranean Passes. These were documents issued to defend British
vessels against interference by Barbary pirates off the coast of North
Africa. The issuing of these passes was formalized in treaties with
Tripoli (1662) and Algiers (1682). The registers of passes issued
give, inter alia, the following information:
1) Number of pass;
2) Date of certificate;
3) Type of vessel;
4) Name of vessel;
5) Where registered;
6) Tonnage;
7) Guns;
8) Port of origin (of intended voyage);
9) Name of master;
10) Where built (British, Irish, etc., Foreign);
11) Whither bound
The primary drawbacks of these records are the fact they include only
about two-thirds of all vessels sailing from British ports across the
Atlantic; they exclude vessels that were not British-owned; and,
because the passes were issued a month or more before the vessels
sailed, the destinations they give are often an indication of where
the vessels *intended* to sail, not their destinations at the time
the vessels actually set sail. The ledgers recording Mediterranean
Passes issued are deposited among the Admiralty Papers (class ADM 7)
in the Public Record Office in Kew. At least some for Pennsylvania
have been published in _Pennsylvania Archives_, Second Series, Vol. 2
(1876), pp. 617-671. These records were also microfilmed by E. P.
Microform Ltd in 1983, and copies of these microfilms may be
available through Interlibrary Loan. For a more detailed description
of Mediterranean Passes, see M. S. Anderson, "Great Britain and the
Barbary States in the Eighteenth Century," _Bulletin of the Institute
of Historical Research_, 29 (1956), 99-101; Rupert C. Jarvis,
"Sources for the History of Ships and Shipping," _Journal of
Transport History_, 3 (1958), 227; Elaine G. Cooper, _Aspects of
British Shipping and Maritime Trade in the Atlantic, 1775-1783_
(University of Exeter MA thesis, 1975), Appendix; and David
Richardson, _The Mediterranean Passes_ (Wakefield 1983).

4. The primary published source for the history of 18th-century British
vessels is _Lloyd's List_, which records ship movements and
"casualties" (loss or damage to a vessel); originally a weekly, it
was soon published twice a week until 1837, since when it has
appeared daily. The first surviving issue of _Lloyd's List_ is dated 2
January 1740/41; issues survive for the years 1741, 1744, 1747-1753,
1755, 1757-1758, 1760-1777, and 1779 to date. For the 18th century,
_Lloyd's List_ is accessed by an index to casualties and "paragraphs"
(news items), 1741-1763, 1767-1768, 1770-1771, 1775-1776, 1779, 1783
(indexes to other years up to 1799 in progress). The primary
drawback of _Lloyd's List_ is that its coverage in the 18th century
is incomplete: its coverage is best for vessels entering and
clearing Gravesend (London), but the more removed the port from
London the greater the possibility that the information in _Lloyd's
List_ is not complete. In addition, in the 18th century the emphasis
is on reporting arrivals: for clearances, and to identify vessels
whose arrival is omitted in _Lloyd's List_, it is necessary to check
contemporary local newspapers of the port in question. The surviving
18th-century issues of _LLoyd's List_ have been microfilmed, and
copies of these microfilms are available through Interlibrary Loan.

5. With reference to vessels engaged in carrying German emigrants to
Pennsylvania, the notarial records in Amsterdam and Rotterdam
contain copies of contracts between the masters and the leaders of
each "transport". Klaus Wust has been gathering information from
these contracts for many years for an intended publication, but he
has not yet indicated a publication date. The late Professor John
Dern was also engaged in gathering information on the history of the
vessels that carried German emigrants to Pennsylvania. There has
been some discussion of publishing his notes, but to my knowledge
there are at present no definite plans to do so.

Michael Palmer
Michael Palmer
Claremont, California

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