[APG Public List] age on shiplists

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Mon Nov 2 13:29:47 MST 2009

I wouldn't assume that each person gave their own information. Servants 
likely didn't, nor would children or elderly relatives. Also you likely have 
a language problem here, maybe someone who didn't fully understand the 
question.  Or alternatively an answer misheard or mistinterpreted because of 
accent or language. Or misheard by a disinterested ship's officer who was 
processing dozens of people who couldn't speak the same language.  Or the 
question as to age simply misunderstood completely. I've found so called 
"ages" that instead seemed to match how long a person had lived in a given 

Valet, male, personal 'man'servant serving a male in the household.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Rolgeiger at aol.com
  To: apgmembersonlylist at apgen.org ; apgpubliclist at apgen.org
  Sent: Monday, November 02, 2009 12:45 PM
  Subject: [APG Public List] age on shiplists


  It's clear that all ages  and other data provided on ship manifests
  arriving for example in NY harbour  were given by the people to the 
officers of the
  ship without any chance to proof  the data were okay (that's right, isn't

  Well, currently I'm  researching the life of a woman from my hometown,
  Johanna Riefer, who in the  1880s lived in Paris, France, as a servant. At 
  end of that decade she met  Arabella Huntington and became a servant of 
  From 1904 until 1924 she  accompanied Arabella on her annually trips to

  The first  ship list I could find was that of the "Kaiser Wilhelm II"
  arriving in NY  harbour on Jan 20,1904.

  She is mentioned "Reifer, Jane" (I assume  that "ei" was pronounced "ee" 
  in Germany the name is pronounced "Reefer").

  Also on board and belonging to the Huntington party were:

  Mrs. C.P. Huntington
  Miss Campbell
  Mr. Archer M.  Huntington
  Mrs. Archer M. Huntington

  and their  servants
  Dominez Martinez, 27, male, occupation: "valet" (what is a valet?),
  Angus Mc Gilverey, 30, valet, Scotch
  Suzanne Gilomene, 27, maid,  Swiss
  and – not a servant -:
  Miss Cummings, 25, USA

  Johanna –  "Jane" –'s age is mentioned as "24" but actually she was born
  1855. Hey, you can  see the difference between 24 and 51, even if that 
  is from my hometown, St.  Wendel, Germany.

  1907 when she takes the "Kronprinzessin Cecilie"  from Cherbourg to New
  York she is mentioned "41" which is nearer but wrong as  well.

  Someone out there with an  idea?


  Roland Geiger

  PS: At present  I try to locate documents from Arabella about her but it
  seems that all of  Arabella Huntington's personal papers were burned after 
  death because she  had ordered that. Weird.

  APG Public Mailing List
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