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The Price Family Emigrates

Sifting through passenger lists is an exercise in approximation. Thanks to my parents' research, I had a few facts about my great-grandparents from England: William was born about 1860; he was married and emigrated with 2 children, one of whom died during the trip.

With those few facts I started searching. Can you imagine how many William Prices hightailed it out of England during the late 19th century? Let me just say... a lot.

Poke... poke... poke...

Finally, this one popped up -- a family of four fitting my profile.

Detail of ship record. CLICK to see whole page

But the numbers don't compute. I didn't have all my facts in hand. This ship traveled in 1891, but the Prices emigrated in late 1883 or early 1884. And William was a carpenter, not a "goldbeater." Still, they voyaged. And met tragedy along the way.

I have written about my great-grandmother Ellen coming to America only to witness conflagration in Chicago. My great-grandmother Sarah arrived in America with a dead little girl. They had weighed their choices, the risks of staying versus the risks of going. The present versus the future. I can only imagine their tears when they saw the Statue of Liberty. For 8 days they had traveled on the Steerage deck with 390 others. Was it worth it? they must have been asking themselves. Is this the price we pay for our ambitions? Is this the price we pay for wanting to reinvent ourselves in the New World?  

You need to take a moment to heave a great sigh for all the heartsick immigrants, the choices they are forced to make, and the dear little ones who never made it.

3.6.05 (revised 12.30.06)


1883 or 1884, when they were first entered into the St Louis City Directory.

The 1900 census says they arrived in 1886. Data my dad found in City Directories has them here in 1884. Their son William was born in England in August 1883.