Going to America by Terry Coleman

Going to America by Terry Coleman is a must read if your ancestor emigrated from the United Kingdom during the mid-nineteenth century to America. Coleman takes the reader step-by-step through the emigration process, from the decision to leave home and booking passage in Liverpool to the journey and arrival in New York.

Rich with details, Coleman gives an exhaustive understanding of what the entire experience must have been like for our courageous ancestors. The emigrants had to be on the constant lookout for runners who would steal from them at every opportunity, from their arrival in Liverpool to their arrival in New York. At the mercy of the captain and crew, the emigrants had to survive trips that on the average lasted 35 days. If an emigrant died on board ship, they were often tossed overboard with little concern or sympathy. Cruel captains could withhold rations, drinking water and even the opportunity to cook on the cooking fires on deck. Passengers were forced to work on board and the ships were not cleaned until they arrived in the bay, before docking in New York. Passengers were crammed into berths and if ill, there was often no one to care for them.

Coleman also explains how the emigrants traveled into the interior land of America upon their arrival. In the appendices are The Passenger Acts, both British and American. Coleman credits the sources used extensively, allowing further look up of materials published during the middle of the nineteenth century. Illustrations of ships, emigrants, Liverpool, New York in 1852 and advertisements from the time are included.

No other book I’ve read thus far on immigration, and I have read about 15 of them, brought to life for me what it must’ve been like for my English ancestors to sail from Liverpool in 1848 and arrive in New York. I highly recommend Going to America as an excellent genealogical resource.

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