Do you know the name of a vessel that your ancestor sailed on to reach the United States? By finding more information about that vessel, you might gain new insights into your ancestor's travels. The Palmer List of Merchant Vessels is an online database created by Michael P. Palmer. Wherever possible, Palmer lists the name of vessel, its rigging, and its nationality. In a few cases there are photographs as well. For instance, here is Palmer's description of one such sailing vessel:
The Bremen ship CARL was built at Vegesack/Grohn by Johann Lange, for the Bremen firm of E. C. Schramm & Co, and launched on 2 December 1857. 498 Commerzlasten / 1099 tons; 52,5 x 10,5 x 6,7 meters (length x beam x depth of hold). International Signal Code: QBNS. Masters of the CARL were, in turn, E. Lüdering, Hinrich v. Harten, Christian Friedrich Otten, H. C. Bockelmann, and J. Hashagen. Originally engaged in the "triangle trade" between Bremen, New York, and the cotton ports of the south, she was transferred to the petroleum trade between North America and Europe in the 1870's, when she ceased to carry passengers (vessels engaged in the petroleum trade customarily did not carry passengers). In 1888, the CARL was sold to A. Ménard, of Fiume, then in Austria-Hungary, who first entrusted her to Capt. Michielli, but in 1890 assumed command himself. On 6 August 1892, the CARL stranded off Little Hope Island, Nova Scotia, and became a total loss.
Source: Peter-Michael Pawlik, Von der Weser in die Welt; Die Geschichte der Segelschiffe von Weser und Lesum und ihrer Bauwerften 1770 bis 1893, Schriften des Deutschen Schiffahrtsmuseums, Bd. 33 (Hamburg: Kabel, c1993), p. 234, no. 238. Voyages: 1. North German (Bremen) ship CARL, [Christian Friedrich] Otten, master, arrived at New York on 10 May 1869 (passenger manifest dated 11 May 1869), 34 days from Bremen, with merchandise and 500 passengers, consigned to Hermann Koop & Co. "Had strong westerly winds; latitude 46, longitude 45 W, saw several large icebergs; had 1 birth and 4 deaths among the passengers." The above description is accompanied by a picture of a silk embroidery of the ship, created by Thomas Willes of New York prior to 1865.
You can access the Palmer List of Merchant Vessels online at: http://www.geocities.com/mppraetorius