Here is the second volume in Louis Rasmussen’s distinguished series dealing with passenger arrivals at the port of San Francisco between 1850 and 1875. In the absence of official port records–which were destroyed by the fire in 1940–this ambitious work attempts a reconstruction of passenger arrivals from newspapers and journals.
Volume II is based on completely different sources than the first volume in the series, which covered the years 1850-1864, and it encompasses an additional 16,500 passenger arrivals at San Francisco Bay during the 20-month period from April 1850 to November 1851. Most of these individuals, in the author’s words,” had come to the West in search of the golden goose who had laid the golden egg.” Most would not find it, of course, but would remain in California or migrate to the Oregon territory to take up other commercial or agricultural pursuits. The passengers named in Volume II came from all parts of the United States, as well as from Europe, although the majority were probably from the East Coast of the U.S. The passenger lists themselves are arranged in chronological order, and, typically, each passenger list is introduced with the following notations: name of ship, type of ship, port of embarkation, date of arrival, name of captain, description of cargo, and notes concerning the passage (date of departure, ports of call, length of voyage, and names of passengers who died en route, with their places of residence and dates of death). The list of passengers follows and sometimes identifies accompanying family members. Rounding out the volume are the author’s introduction, a key to abbreviations, a list of the shipping lines that sailed/steamed on the Pacific, and superlative name and subject indexes.