Cost of Passage from Italy to New York

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Cost of Passage from Italy to New York

Postby Avellinese » Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:24 pm

Can anyone direct me to where I can find out how much our ancestor probably paid for his ticket? He travelled on the S.S. Sant'Anna from Naples to New York May 24-June 7, 1912. I've tried to Google the question, but I'm floundering.

Thanks,

Deborah
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Re: Cost of Passage from Italy to New York

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:32 pm

I don't have the exact answer, but I have some background information to add color to what you might find. There were different fares for different ages, and people routinely lied about the ages of their children in order to get lower fares. There were also of course different fares for different classes.

You might be able to see the fare(s) they paid at http://www.ellisisland.org -- check the ship manifest and passenger record. If you select "Search by Ship" you can find that particular voyage. (Although I see it listed as arriving one day earlier in New York, on June 6, 1912.)

Just to take a complete guess, it might have been about $40 per person (for steerage class). The average U.S. annual income was about $1000 at that time. (Median income would be better, but I haven't found that yet.) Let's assume a new immigrant earns half that ($500). That means the $40 fare is equal to about one month's salary working in the U.S. Quite simply, it was a large amount of money. There was also a substantial amount of health risk in steerage class. Not everyone survived the voyage.
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Re: Cost of Passage from Italy to New York

Postby Avellinese » Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:21 am

Yes, the descriptions I read of the conditions in steerage are shocking. My husband's great-grandmother crossed in 1907 with her 15-year-old daughter and her 8-month-old infant daughter (who became my husband's grandmother). Imagine making that journey while carrying a baby! It makes me cry to think of what drove them to undertake such hardship.

I read elsewhere that it probably cost Francesco about $30 dollars. Since the passenger manifest indicates that he had $27 dollars, I imagine that he started out with $50. I wonder if he had to wait around Naples after arriving there from Avellino?

The more you know about these voyages, the more compelling a story it is. My husband never knew his grandfather, who died when he was about six months old. I'd love to have a conversation with him now, to ask him about why he left, how it came about, what the trip was like, whether, after years in America, he ever had second thoughts about having left Italy. What did he miss about it? What did he bring with him? Unanswerable questions ...
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Re: Cost of Passage from Italy to New York

Postby BBCWatcher » Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:05 pm

These were also often one-way trips given the expense, voyage time, and risk. My grandfather never saw his parents again. Just postcards and the occasional small package. Not at all the same as modern global jet travel.
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