Today I saw that no fewer than four genealogy blogs, Chris Dunham’s The Genealogue, Joe Beine’s Genealogy Roots Blog, Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, and Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings mentioned the fact that Ancestry.com has now digitized and indexed all readily available U.S. Passengers Lists from 1820 to 1960. Moreover, Ancestry’s entire Immigration Collection is FREE until the end of November.
I immediately took a look and I found much more than I expected, because the records in this collection are not just Immigrant Passenger Lists, but also include Crew Lists for World War II Naval Ships and Passenger Lists for Vacation Cruise Ships!
In particular, I found the record of my father’s World War II service on the S.S. Daniel Drake, where he served in the U.S. Naval Armed Guard on the Murmansk Run.
Crew Manifest for the S.S. Daniel Drake (Page 2)
Click on the link for a PDF copy of the Crew Manifest for Francis Danko – 1943. My father’s record states that:
The manifest is that of the S/S Daniel Drake, United States Line
The ship departed London on 20 September 1943 and arrived in New York on 01 October 1943
Francis Danko is listed on line 14 as part of the Armed Guard
His Serial Number was 801 66 21
His rate (rank) was S1c (Seaman, First Class)
His service was USNR (United States Naval Reserve)
The manifest also lists 42 crew members and 27 other members of the Armed Guard. I’ll have to ask my father if he remembers any of these names. He has several photographs of his shipmates, but doesn’t remember the names of most of them. Perhaps now with this list, he can name the people in some of his World War II photographs.
I found some interesting details on this manifest, including the fact that five of the crew members on this United States Liberty Ship were not U.S. citizens. Also of interest is that, of the members of the U.S. Armed Guard, only one was in the USN, the United States Navy; all the rest were in the USNR, the United States Naval Reserve.
For those who are not familiar with the Liberty Ships in World War II, I’ll have to write a piece on Liberty ships one day. For now, just realize that the Liberty Ship crews consisted of a number of Merchant Marines (who were, in fact, not part of the U.S. Navy) and a group of Navy personnel called the Armed Guard who were trained to protect their ship and the Merchant Marines aboard it.
I never would have guessed that the Crew Manifests of World War II U.S. Liberty Ships would be in this collection!
Copyright © 2006 by Stephen J. Danko