Our Facebook fans have been very busy and everyone at the Red Star Line Museum project is super excited that we may have a real lead on the identity of our mystry girl. Writing to us on Facebook, Marianne Van Remoortel from the University of Ghent, has sent us the photo (right) of immigrants arriving in Saint John, in 1905–the same year as the girl in our photo.
Van Remoortel has also checked out the Canadian passenger manifests we suggested here in this blog and has found the name of a Katyna Szysz, a 13-year old Galician girl on the Mount Temple, a ship that came from Antwerp and arrived at Saint John on April 18th, 1905, the same year as our mystery girl.
The Mount Temple was a Canadian Pacific Line ship which provided transport across the Atlantic to many immigrants and their families. She came to the assistance of the Titanic when that famous ship sank. The Mount Temple was sunk by Germans in 1916.
Here is a picture:
Although the ship line is not Red Star Line but Canadian Pacific, Red Star Line historian Bram Beelaert has told us that he has been informed by experts that it is possible that the two lines, both departing from Antwerp, passed on surplus passengers to each other. He also suggested that it is also possible that our girl may have entered on another such ship, the Lake Michigan. All in all, Canadian authorities tell us, 97 ships docked in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1905.
Van Remoortel, in conversations with our RSL representatives has pointed out another interesting aspect about the picture above. The women are all wearing a certain type of headscarf, which might be a place-specific clue to their origin. But the gentleman in the middle seems to be from a different economic background than the people surrounding him. Is he a sponsor? A prosperous Canadian relative sent to pick them up? What is this image conveying that might help us connect it to the image of our mystery girl. Later this week, we will interview a renowned photo analyst about finding clues to ancestors lost in time within the frame of an old photo.
One last bit of important information I have found on the Canadian immigration site is that the photographers taking these immigrants often grouped various Eastern European immigrants together and called them “Galicians” no matter what their country of origin really was. So even though these pictures are titled, “Galacians” there is a possiblility that they are from a different area of Eastern Europe entirely. More mysteries. As the saying goes, “It ain’t over till it’s over,” and our contest has some important rounds to go yet.
Stay tuned for two more blogs this week and write to us if the name or images above sound or look familiar.