Monthly Archives: March 2015

Jens Rasmussen and Ovidia Olesdatter Immigration – 1884

I found a database in Norway that allows you to search for people who were given permits to emmigrate to America.  I found my 2x-great-grandparents Jens Rasmussen and his wife Ovidia Olesdatter in the database.  Their daughter Olga Hanson Schmidt had said the couple were on their way to America three weeks after they got married, and she wasn’t far off.  They were married in Vikna on 12 Sept 1884 and left for American on 9 Oct 1884, so 27 days later!  Unfortunately the documents do not tell us which ship they took, but it does say it was one of the “Inman Line” leaving from Bergen, Norway.


Portrait of Jens and Ovidia taken in Bergen, Norway, in 1884 just before their departure for America.

From Bergan, my grandparents would have taken a smaller steamer, either the “Oder” or the “Argo”, to Hull.  They would be in the UK three days before departing from Liverpool to New York.

Looking at, there is a list of ships that went to America from Norway in 1884.  In Olga’s recounting of our family history, she mentioned that the newlyweds stopped at Hull on the way to New York.  The ships from the Inman Line that did the run from Hull to Liverpool to New York in 1884 were these five:

“SS City of Berlin” – Arrived New York 1 Nov 1884
“SS City of Chester” – In Queenstown 10 Oct 1884, Arrived New York 18 Oct 1884
“SS City of Chicago” – In Queenstown 3 Oct 1884  – Left too early to be a candidate.
“SS City of Montreal” – Arrived New York 9 Nov 1884.
“SS City of Richmond” – Arrived New York 24 Oct 1884.

So there are four possible ships they could have been on:  “SS City of Berlin”, “SS City of Chester”, “SS City of Montreal”, and “SS City of Richmond”.  In Olga’s recounting of our family history Ovidia had said that the crossing took “two good weeks”.  So if they left 9 Oct, they would have arrived about 23 Oct.  That makes the “SS City of Richmond” the most likely candidate since it arrived on 24 Oct 1884.  The Chester only took 8 days to cross, and the “Berlin” and “Montreal” would have taken more than three weeks to cross since they arrived on 1 Nov 1884 and 9 Nov 1884 respectively.

Based on our family history, my guess is that they left aboard the “SS City of Richmond”, arriving in New York on 24 Oct 1884.

I’m attaching two images of the “City of Richmond”, one is a photograph taken in 1874.

CityofRichmondUnderSail CityofRichmond1874

Ovidia Olesdatter and Jens Rasmussen around the time of their arrival in the US, about 1885.  She was 18, he was 37.

Ovidia Olesdatter and Jens Rasmussen around the time of their arrival in the US, about 1885. She was 18, he was 37.