Life on board emigrant ships was not pleasant. The voyage was long and hard, food and fresh water scarce and disease and illness a constant threat. Originally built to haul cargo, many of the ships used to transport our ancestors across the ocean were retrofit by dividing the cargo hold , situated between the main deck and the bottom ballast area of the ship, with partitions to create space for steerage passengers and their meager belongings. Partitions were often built to be removable so that cargo could replace steerage passengers on the ships return to its home port.
Bunks were built along the sides of the cargo bay to provide sleeping accommodations. These were made of rough planks and were meant to hold up to 5 people in one bunk. The area was small and cramped and provided little, if any, ventilation. When the waves were rough or there were storms at sea the steerage, immigrant passengers were roughly tossed about. The journey typically last two or more months. If, at the end of their journey, they arrived and were determined to be sick with a possible contagion, they were refused admission to the country and were sent back , many never reached their home ports. Some died on board, others died shortly after arrival. Yet they came by the thousands eager to embrace a new life, new possibilities, a rebirth.
To celebrate the great sacrifice of our ancestors and honor the Easter/Passover/Ostara season I welcome you to answer this one question, in 1500 words of less; Has your family realized the dream of a better life that your ancestors dreamed for you?
I will post as many of your responses as I can throughout the month of April.
May your holidays be blessed, your days warm and your flowers plentiful.