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Archiver > TheShipsList > 1998-04 > 0891565328

From: SmithinDC <>
Subject: [TSL] SS Volturno puzzle
Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 20:02:08 EST

Here is a real puzzler:

A 19-year old Russian-Polish woman embarked for America in October 1913 upon
the SS Volturno. That ship caught fire and burned (I guess it sunk) in the
mid-Atlantic on or about October 12. More than 300 survivors were supposedly
picked up from the water or off the Volturno by as many as 10 different ships.
Some took survivors to the US, others to Canada, and still others back to
Europe, since those ships were headed East.

No US passenger lists for the survivors have been found on, with, appended to,
or even nearby the passenger lists of the rescue ships. An entry under the
subject “SS Volturno” in the index to INS subject files (NARA microfilm
T-458) indicates that “Inspection regulations waived as to survivors. Bureau
holds head tax cannot be waived in these cases.” So the inspection
requirements (i.e., a passenger manifest) apparently were waived. Still,
there had to be records of payment of head tax, right? The file referenced by
that index was not found at the National Archives--it is officially missing.

At this point someone searched the St. Albans records of arrivals and found a
card manifest for the woman. According to this record, which is for the Port
of Entry St. John, NB (dated Dec. 18, 1913), she was landed at Halifax on Oct.
16, 1913, from the SS Volturno (no mention of what ship rescued her). She
then seems to have spent about two months or less at Sydney, NB or NS?,
Canada, before boarding a CPR train going to the US and applying for admission
at Vanceboro, Maine, on Dec. 18, 1913. She was admitted there, but only after
a Board of Special Inquiry hearing. Curiously, the form all this information
is written upon was not in use until AFTER 1924. Furthermore, the back of the
St. Albans manifest card indicates that a Certificate of Arrival was issued,
based upon that card manifest, on April 21, 1941. We are looking for that
potential naturalization record.

Anyway, the young woman made her way to Pittsburgh, PA, and lived her life.
This case raises many still unanswered questions for me, but the one I will
put to you first is this: Would the Canadian arrival records have any
passenger list or other record of rescued Volturno survivors landed at Halifax
on or about Oct. 16, 1913? If so, how would one find that record? (Sue?)


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