Getting to Hamburg was only one leg of a long journey for Julius Paul. Rather than taking a direct route to America, he took an indirect one through Britain. About 20% of emigrants leaving through Germany for North America sailed first for a small North Sea port on Britain’s east coast. After that they took a train to a larger port on Britain’s west or south coast. While it wasn’t the most popular choice, it was the cheapest. Julius seems to have received what he paid for.
On 29 April 1892 Julius boarded the British flag steamship British Queen in Hamburg, destined for West Hartlepool, England. This was a rather small craft operated by a rather small shipping line. The British Queen was 230 feet long with a tonnage (a measure of ship volume) of 676 GRT (the world’s largest passenger ship at the time, SS City of New York, was 560 feet and 10,500 GRT). Like most ships plying the North Sea migrant trade, the British Queen was primarily a cargo ship and offering limited passenger service as a side business. In fact, on Julius’s trip there were only 34 passengers total! The ship was built in 1865 and so was pretty well worn by 1892. Its owner, the West Hartlepool Steam Navigation Company, operated out of West Hartlepool, England, an unusual port of entry for migrants transiting England on their way to North America. Considering Julius was catching his second ship in Liverpool, it would have made much more sense to dock in the far more popular Humber River port cities of Hull or Grimsby. In fact, over the period 1836-1913 less than 1% of such migrants sailed into West Hartlepool, suggesting again Julius’s poverty.
The manifest of the British Queen gives us some interesting information about Julius: his age, his previous place of residence, the state or province in which that place was located, his current status or occupation, and his final destination. A copy of that manifest is in the sidebar. You can see that he is 26 years old, from the town of “Kleczewo” located in “Russland”. That’s Kleczew, Poland (at the time, of course, part of the Russian Empire), the nearest town to Julius’s tiny home village of Miłaczew. His occupation is “Arbtr,” an abbreviation for “Arbeiter,” i.e. laborer. His ultimate destination: “NYork”.
The British Queen didn’t have a very long life after Julius’s voyage. Sailing out of Gothenburg, Sweden in November 1894, the ship caught fire, was abandoned, and sank off Hirtshals, Denmark. Luckily the crew and the only two passengers aboard were rescued before the ship went down.
Nicholas J. Evans, Aliens en route: European transmigration through Britain, 1836-1914. PhD dissertation, University of Hull, 2006.
Aubrey Newman, “Trains and shelters and ships,” Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain, 2000.
“British Queen,” Hartlepool History Then and Now.