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52W Mark II – Week 3: Out of Place

My great x3 grandparents, Robert Nelson and Elizabeth Joseph, were originally from Ireland. Shortly after they married in 1842, they moved to Scotland and lived in Renfrew. Their first three children were born there. In December 1848 Robert and Elizabeth joined the Mormon church. They emigrated in 1850, with the intention of travelling to Utah.

Robert Nelson (1818 – 1902) and Elizabeth Joseph (1818 – 1902)

For years, the only information I could find was that they had travelled the North Atlantic. It was a few years before I learned that “North Atlantic” wasn’t their route – it was the name of the ship on which they travelled! The North Atlantic sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans.

Excerpt of the “Invoice of Passengers” for the ship North Atlantic, which left Liverpool on September 3, 1850

At first I was surprised to learn that the family had landed at New Orleans. Without giving it much thought, I had expected that they would have sailed to the Atlantic seaboard – someplace like Boston, New York, or Philadelphia. Sailing around Florida would have added thousands of miles to the trip. However, I quickly realized that New Orleans was closer to their ultimate destination and saved them hundreds of miles of overland travel.

After arriving in Louisiana, the family travelled up the Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri, where they lived for a year or two. Robert and Elizabeth’s first daughter, Mary Elizabeth Nelson, was born in 1852 during the sojourn in St. Louis. Shortly afterwards, the family finally relocated to Utah. My great great grandfather, John Alexander Nelson, was Robert and Elizabeth’s first child born in Utah. Later in life, John found his place in Cardston, Alberta.


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