My Grandfather’s Passage

 to Ellis Island

I always knew that my grandfather, Patrick McNamara,  had come to America but returned to Ireland after a brief stay.

I recently located my grandfather’s arrival by searching the online database of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island in New York.  I learned that he arrived in November 1905 with my uncle, Michael, and my aunts, Annie and Elizabeth.  They had sailed aboard the White Star liner Majestic.

Below are excerpts from the passenger manifest of the Majestic.


My grandfather and three of his children appear on the manifest of the Majestic, which arrived in New York on November 16, 1905.  The White Star liner had left Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland on November 9, 1905.  

My grandfather, who was a coachman, has his occupation clearly noted.  My Aunt Annie, who would later be my godmother, was 16 years old, and has her occupation listed as servant.  It’s possible she had already worked as a domestic servant in Ireland, and expected to do the same in America.  Elizabeth, whom I would know as “Aunt Bessie,” was 12, and my Uncle Michael was 10.  They were still students, and in the fashion of the time, their occupation is listed as “scholar.”


Immigrants were required to state their place of origin, and my grandfather was quite precise: he gave the name of his townland, Maghera; the name of the nearest village, Tulla; and the name of his county, Co. Clare.

He listed his destination in America as Fall River, Massachusetts, which was the residence of his brother in law, John Nestor.


In the place on the Majestic’s manifest where immigrants had to state who their relative or friend was in America, my grandfather listed John Nestor, and gave his address as 506 Peckham Street in Fall River, Masschusetts.  My uncle and aunts are also listed as going to see their uncle at the same address (“Do” on the form means “ditto.”)

A great-granddaughter of John Nestor was doing research on her family history and happened to find my web site by using a search engine.  She and I have  communicated and exchanged information by e-mail, and she has confirmed that 506 Peckham Street in Fall River was indeed the address of my father’s uncle, John Nestor.  


If you want to see the entire page of the manifest from the R.M.S. Majestic when it arrived in New York on November 16, 1905, click here.  Please be warned, this is a very large file, and depending on the speed of your internet connection, it could several minutes to load in your browser.


This photograph from the Library of Congress shows the arrival hall at Ellis Island, where my grandfather and his children would have answered the questions of immigration inspectors.


This postcard shows the White Star liner Majestic, which was considered one of the greatest ships of her day.  She was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, and was launched in 1889.  At one time, Majestic was the longest ship afloat.  She sailed between Liverpool and New York (with stops at Queenstown, Ireland) until 1911.

Majestic had been taken out of service as the White Star Line replaced her in the spring of 1912 with an even greater ship built by Harland and Wolff, R.M.S. Titanic.  Following the sinking of Titanic on her maiden voyage, Majestic was rushed back into service, and sailed the North Atlantic route until 1914, when she was scrapped.  A later liner was also known as Majestic.



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