In the absence of official port records--destroyed by fire in 1940--this ambitious work attempts a reconstruction of passenger arrivals from newspapers and journals. The volume offered here is a reprint of the first volume in a series dealing with passenger arrivals at the port of San Francisco between 1850 and 1875, though this first volume contains a selection of passenger lists extending only though 1864. Interest in the book is inevitably heightened by the fact that the passengers named in the lists came from all parts of the United States, as well as from Europe, though probably the majority were from East Coast points of origin. Here will be found listed approximately 13,500 persons who made the dramatic voyage to the celebrated El Dorado of legend, many of whom were previously the elusive objects of extensive genealogical searches, for some left their homes with hardly a trace, save for the laconic notation in family Bibles and church records: "Gone West."
Typically, each passenger list, from the longest to the shortest, is preceded by the following notations: name of ship, type of ship, port of embarkation, date of arrival, name of captain, description of cargo, and notes concerning the passage, which include date of departure, ports of call, length of voyage, and names of passengers who died en route, with their places of residence and dates of death. The list of passengers follows and sometimes identifies accompanying family members.