- Captain Albert's Website and Blog -

Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

1889 Obdam


PREV.NAME(S): British Queen
TONN. BRT: 3,983 NRT: 2,657 DWT: 4,491
BUILT AT: Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland
BUILT IN: 1880 YARD NO: 138
ENGINES: One four cylinder compound steam engine constructed by James Jack & Co. of Liverpool, England.
ENGINE OUTPUT: 1,200 Ihp. PROPS: One (fixed)
SERVICE SPD: 10 Knots MAX.SPD: 12 knots.
LENGTH.O.A: 440,03 feet or 128,10 Meters LENGTH.PP: 124.97 Meters
BEAM OA: 39 feet or 11.82 Meters DEPTH: 9.67 Meters
DRAFT: 7.47 Meters.
PAX.CAP: 112 First, 72 Second and 430 Third Class. CREW: 64
REMARKS: Bunker capacity 1210 tons of coal.
NAME: Ship was named after a small town located in the North Western part of North Holland, which is one of the 11 provinces of the Netherlands and has Amsterdam as its county capital.
Constructed of iron with three full decks and could be rigged as a four mast barkentine. The ship was launched on 4 November 1880 and delivered one month later to the British Ship owners Company of Liverpool as the British Queen. (3,657 brt.) (Other sources indicate that she was delivered on 15 January 1881) The BSC was not really a shipping company but more of an investment group who built ships for their own account and then chartered them out to other shipping lines and/or sold the ships when the price was right.
The British Queen commenced her maiden voyage on 31 January 1881 with a trip from Liverpool to New York. This was followed by the start of a charter on 22 March 1883 for the New Zealand Shipping Company and later on she sailed for the British company’s: Shaw Savill, Inman, Anchor Line and Furness. At the end of the last charter in November 1883, the ship was laid up.
Bought in January 1889 by an independent company in which the NASM participated .After a refit the ship is renamed in Obdam and starts her first voyage on 23 March 1889 sailing from Rotterdam to New York. In 1890 the ship is fitted with electric light.

The ss Obdam of 1889 Seen here docked at the company docks in Rotterdam. (a)

These were the days of the late 19th century when Trans Atlantic travel was not as safe and well regulated as it is now. No radars, no coastal stations monitoring every move, it was all do-it- yourself and sometimes hope for the best and God help us all. Bad weather, bad visibility and a lack of navigation aids and reliable equipment were the biggest problems to deal with. The Obdam had her share of adventures and misadventures. On 23 October 1890 it was reported in the New York Times that the ship had run ashore in tempestuous weather and was badly damaged. However when the Obdam made it to port, the captain reported that he had been far out to sea and not even close to where it supposedly had happened. The captain in command was Captain Bakker, who would make the head lines the next year, when he stopped a mutiny in a rather drastic way.

The ss Obdam arriving in New York.  The flags on top of the masts indicate from forward to aft: United States Flag, Company flag, Mail Flag, Captains Pennant, National (Dutch) flag. (a)

While in command of the Obdam during a crossing from New York to Amsterdam a dispute ensued with the engine room crew. The ship had left New York on 18 July 1891 and was carrying 300 passengers when on the second day of the crossing the ratings of the engineering dog watch (12 -4) refused to go to work. Thus just after midnight of the 20th.of July the engines stopped and for two hours the ship drifted. Luckily it was beautiful weather and very little swell so the ship was in no danger. The engineering officers ordered the crew to go to work but to no avail. Also a direct order from the captain was ignored. The captain had no inkling about any problems that might have been present among the crew as no complaints had been received. The chief engineer Mr. Bol, who tried to mediate, was threatened with personal violence when he wanted to enter the engine room and therefore went to see the captain.

Capt. Bakker armed himself with a revolver and backed up by the Quartermaster of the watch, who carried a large brass belaying pin, he went below. Greeted by a chorus of jeers and threats he ordered the men to return to work. He summoned the ring leader who was coming towards him to retreat and showed him the revolver. When the ringleader, a certain Peter Duzen, suddenly sprang forward the captain raised his revolver and shot a bullet into his abdomen. The rest of the mutineers then retreated to the other side of the engine room space. The captain ordered arms to be released to the other officers and this convinced the rest of the engine crew that it was better to return to work without delay. The injured person died shortly after from his wounds and was buried at sea the next day.

Captain Bakker informed the head office when the ship arrived in Boulogne Sur Mer in France this being the first stop after the North Atlantic crossing. These were the days before wireless at sea. When the ship arrived in its home port Amsterdam, the captain went with the general manager to the local court to make a statement. The court preliminary decision was that the captains actions were justified in this case of mutiny and also that no charges would be pressed against the other crew, as it was understood that the ring leader had somehow set them up. Most of the mutineers where from Liverpool and London and they decided to go home at once instead of waiting for any follow up to this case.

However the Dutch prosecution service saw things different and considered them not mutineers but strikers and charged Captain Bakker with murder. The trial went ahead while the captain was at sea in command of the Obdam. On March 22, 1892 he was sentenced in absence to one year in jail for manslaughter. Hal advised in a press release (they had them in those days as well) that Capt. Bakker who was 46 years old, had been with the company for the last 15 years and was one of the companies most popular officers. The company was planning to ask the Dutch Queen to commute his sentence and they had absolutely no intention of taking any action against him. In contrary they commended him on his steadfastness in the situation. The appeal was heard on 2 June 1892 in Rotterdam and the prosecutor asked for the more severe sentence of four years, while the defense requested acquittal. On June 16, the Court of Appeal reduced the sentence to three months for cruelty. After serving those three months captain Bakker was given command of the ss Werkendam and continued his career with the company.

When it was bad weather, and especially when the visibility was bad, ships tried find a safe anchorage and wait for things to get better and the weather to clear and the –often limited- navigational aids to become visible again. Thus it happened on the 4th of March 1893 that the Obdam ran aground in the middle of the Hudson at Roemer shoals. She was not the only one; also the French steamer La Gascogne did the same thing. A third vessel the Tancarville incoming from Bordeaux touched ground as well and lost her rudder. A fourth vessel the schooner Roger Drury had done the same thing earlier in the morning. The turn in the weather must have really surprised them. With the pilot on board the Obdam had been inbound for New York and was going slowly up the river. With worsening visibility the pilot miscounted the buoys, thinking he was in mid channel, but he was not. As the ship grounded on the high tide, the initial actions of three tugs were to no avail and it was decided to wait for the next tide. To make the most of the lost time, the company agent brought the NY health officer on board to pre clear the ship. 10 guests then left with a tugboat for New York, the rest opted to wait on board. Late in the afternoon, four tugs managed to free the ship and the Obdam safely anchored in deeper water. The next morning at first light she steamed into New York and docked safely. There was no damage and very little recriminations. It just happened in those days.

Damage to the ship did occur near the end of October 1895 while the ship was on a crossing from the Netherlands to New York. She broke the tail end of the shaft and had to be towed into Halifax as she only had one propeller. This was done by another passenger liner, the Pennland from the Red Star Line. On board were 8 saloon, 6 six second class, 106 steerage passengers and a lot of Dutch mail. The Obdam (measured at 3,558 brt at the time) had left Rotterdam on October 19 and was supposed to have arrived in New York on 2 November but arrived that day in Halifax in tow. It was several weeks before the ship was back in service again. All passengers and the mail were sent to New York by train while the Pennland continued to Philadelphia. 

In 1896, the ship received a major refit when new propulsion machinery was installed. The plant consisted of two new boilers and one three cylinder triple expansion engine (1,950 Ihp. / 2500 Hp.) All made and installed by the Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij of Rotterdam. This was a shipping company that operated her own shipyard and also did work for other companies. The new machinery increased her speed to over 15 knots. At the same time the passenger accommodations were extended by enlarging her promenade deck by including a shelter deck. (This is a not completely enclosed deck so it does not count for tonnage /tax calculations)

The ss Obdam docked away from the company’s head quarters between voyages. In the photo dockworkers can be seen painting the ships hull. (a)

In 1898 the ship became fully owned by the company as it bought the shares held by the other investors. In April of the same year the United States Government became interested in the Obdam for use in the war against Spain and rumors persisted that the ship had been bought. However it was not until 24 June 1898 that the United States government took possession of the Obdam. She was part of a group of 8 vessels (the other seven where from the Atlantic Transport Line) which were purchased at the same time for the Puerto Rico campaign which formed part of this war between Spain and the USA. The ship was bought as it would be able to hold a complete regiment of troops. The Quartermaster General of the US army paid HAL $ 250,000 for the ship. This was done by means of a broker, a certain Mr. Samuel D. Coykendall. Under the supervision of a Major J.W. Summerhayes the ship was fitted out to carry 300 horses and 1000 men.

The sale was made in great haste. The Obdam had been ready to sail on June 25 with 90 saloon passengers and was bound for Rotterdam. When the sale went through they were advised that the ship would not sail at all and they could have their money back if they wanted or the company would book passage for them on other steamers. The ship remained at Hoboken and was unloaded as quickly as possible and handed over on the 25th. The date she had been scheduled to depart for the Netherlands.

The Obdam now became a troopship and she kept making the headlines. She was assigned the description: Troopship nbr. 30 and was eventually rated to carry 50 officers, 1300 men and 100 horses. The ships crew numbered 75 a few more than she had had in civilian life. Under command of Capt. J.F Alrey, the USS Obdam sailed on July 9th for Charleston to pick up the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. On board were numerous supplies for the war effort including 20,000 tents, 60 kegs of horse shoe nails and several 100 tons of foodstuffs. After the troops had embarked the ship sailed from Charleston to Ponce, Puerto Rico, where it arrived on the 28 July 1898 after a violent storm.

Her next recorded voyage was on 11th of August when she sailed from Newport News with on board General Fred D. Grant with the remaining six companies of the First Kentucky regiment. Again the destination was Puerto Rico. From Puerto Rico the ship sailed home on the 6th. of September with on board General Miles with the 2nd Wisconsin volunteers, consisting of nine companies totaling 828 persons. Part of this group had gone with the Obdam to Puerto Rico earlier in July. The remainder of the Wisconsin Volunteers was returning home later. When the ship docked in Jersey City, the whole army throng travelled home with the Erie railroad who had offered the best price to the Quarter Master General. When all had disembarked, she sailed the same day, 12 September, for Long Island to shuttle sick and wounded soldiers from local army hospitals to New York. Then all was prepared for her next voyage south again.

On 15 Sept. 1898 the USS Obdam sailed under the command of Capt. Walter Allen from Pier 22 in Brooklyn for Ponce Puerto Rico. On board was the first Battalion of the Sixteenth Pennsylvania Regiment, totaling 415 men. Further on there were seventy regular passengers, sixteen postal clerks and a crew of seventy five. The cargo consisted out of regular troop supplies and two ambulances for the army hospitals. The battalion was joining the rest of the regiment that was already stationed in Puerto Rico.

The return voyage commenced on the 25th September 1898 and the ship sailed with 191 convalescents on board and 104 discharged soldiers and teamsters. The ship left Ponce in Puerto Rico and arrived in Santiago on the 27th. where a row erupted over the sick soldiers on board. The Surgeon Major of the ship complained that he feared that too many sick were being put on board the ship for the return voyage home and that these had to survive on the same (canned food and hard tack) rations as the healthy troops. His complaint to General Lawton was dismissed with him being accused of showing lack of discipline.

The ship sailed on 2nd of October under the command of Capt. Allen and arrived on 12 Oct. in New York and anchored of Liberty Island. Upon arrival the immigration officials counted 305 soldiers. (200 were noted as sick, 50 on leave, and the rest were discharged soldiers and teamsters) They also noted smoke coming out of the forward hold. On the 29th a smoldering fire had been discovered in the forward hatch where 800 tons of soft coals had been stowed. Flames were seen bursting from the coal and only a wooden deck separated the fire from 80.000 rounds of ammunition. As most of the coal had turned to powder, a result of having been in the hold for months on end as ballast, it was thought that the combustion was spontaneous. Solders helped the crew to shift the ammunition and then the lower hold was opened and water poured in. In the meantime the ship had returned to Santiago. While in this port, locals were employed to deal with the burning coal. As these were not very much in the mood to do the dangerous work, they were forced with drawn pistols to start dumping the coal over the side while most of them had to walk bare footed on the hot deck. After about 60% of the coal was dumped the hatches were closed and the ship left Santiago. However the fire flared up again and water was anew pored into the hold reducing the fire to smoldering. This resulted in a hot wooden deck for the whole voyage. Nobody felt very comfortable with this situation and all troops were relieved to arrive at the anchorage. On 13 October the ship safely docked at pier 1, Brooklyn where the fire was extinguished.

On board during this trip was another part of the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteers who had gone over in July. They did not like Captain Allen (*) very much as he had not wanted to take them home from Ponce. He had wanted them to pay for the voyage and they did not have any money. (This was a volunteer regiment so they had to pay their way home) In the end the soldiers had refused to leave and the captain, not able to get them of the ship again, had restricted them to living on the open aft deck. Also on board the ship was a certain Colonel C.H. Gibson of the National Relieve Association who had studied, during the crossing, the conditions under which the soldiers had to travel. Upon arrival in New York he was to report directly to president McKinley about the living circumstances on board the troopships. He found that the sick soldiers had to buy their own food on board. A passenger had advised him that (he the passenger) had been buying food for the soldiers out of his own pocket as the (governmental) food supplied for free was not edible and was limited to rice, starch and coffee. The regiment even had to supply the ship with cooking utensils to get food cooked on board. In the end the Red Cross supplied food when the ship arrived at the anchorage. There had not been enough hammocks and some troops had to sleep on the deck without blankets. The soldiers brought even worse stories home from Cuba. Officers had been getting drunk on whisky meant as medicine for the sick. Typhoid fever contracted in the camps had not been treated etc. etc.

(*) During this voyage Capt. Allen who was in charge of the operation of the ship, excluding the navigation had run into a conflict with a captain Pugsley who claimed that as he was the navigation captain; Captain Allen was under his command as far as navigational decisions were concerned. He had kicked Captain Allen several times of the bridge. Pugsley was relieved of his command when the ship arrived in Santiago. Whether Captain Allen was in the right or whether it happened because Captain Allen’s brother was an influential congressman remained unclear. Several other ships had similar issues and the New York Times speculated that the government would have to issue clearer instructions of who was in charge on a troopship, where and when.

Things on board had improved greatly by December 14th. when the ship returned from a round trip that had started on thanks giving day. Apart from the fact that the soldiers were still dressed in their tropical gear and were landed in New York in December, the voyage had gone well. Those who arrived hungry had not been willing to spend the money received to buy food or clothes. (Approx. $ 25,–per soldier) They had also received $1.50 a day for travel expenses while a good meal on board was only about 50 cents. This time the chief steward had menu’s available to choose food from. A complaint listed by a senior officer was that some of the ratings had used their $ 1.50 a day to buy a cabin berth, leaving the officers with nil.

The Obdam continued trooping and sailed on 30 Dec. 1898 from Savannah with the 6th, Missouri Volunteer Infantry landing them on 2 Jan. 1899 in Havana. Further on the 3rd Nebraska Volunteer Infantry with the Headquarters staff of the 1st Battalion staff was carried as well as some men of the 6th Missouri 1st Battalion

Then the government decided that all these troopships bought during the campaign should receive proper American names. And so on 24 February 1899 the Obdam was renamed in McPherson. (3,656 tons displacement). This happened as the war department decided that it would keep a number of the steamers and not try to re-sell them when the campaign was winding down. Thus 5 ships were renamed at the same time.

The USS McPherson ran aground on 06 Feb 1901 near Mantanza Cuba but returned to service . (b)

The now Ex-Obdam lasted for 6 more years in Government service and was then sold in 1905 to the F. Zottie Steamship Co. of New York and renamed in Brooklyn.

Resold in 1906 to the L. Luckenbach Steamship Co. of New York and renamed in Susan V. Luckenbach.

Sold once more in 1915; this time to the Onega SS Corp. (Barber Co. of New York ) and renamed in Onega. (3. 636 brt) As such she was torpedoed on 30 August 1918 in the Bristol Channel of Godrevy Light house by the German submarine UB 125 (Commander Werner Vater) and sunk in Position 50.17 North, 05.22 West. The ship was on the way from Bordeaux to Swansea, carrying pit props. (wooden pilings for the mines) 26 people died in the sinking.

As the ship lays fairly close to the coast it has been dived upon many a time. In August 2022 the author came in contact with Mr. L.F. Ward a retired Fireman who had dived on the wreck and retrieved some objects, including the ships bell, the ships (steam) whistles and some portholes. The Bell is 17 inches high and if, being the only bell on board would have been found on the forecastle. Larger ships often had more bells on board. One for the forecastle (for fog signals or anchor signals), one on the bridge (for indicating the times of the watches) and one at the stern where the emergency steering wheel was located.

The ships bell of the ss Obdam. This unless the ship carried more than one, this bell would be located near the bow. (c)

The ships whistle is more peculiar it is made up of two parts. The different length ensuring a different tone. It is not entirely clear why the ship had this setup.

The double steam whistle of the ship. Please note one of the ships portholes in front of it. They were found strewn loose on the sea bottom as the iron hull around it having been corroded. As brass is more sea water resistant they remained and dropped to the ocean floor. Around the wreck were also a large number of brass cannon shells found. Of which one is seen to the left of the whistles. (c)

I would like to thank Mr. Ward for making these photos available for the greater public to enjoy.


a. Collection of the Author

b. Contemporary magazine

c. Collection Mr. L.F Ward.

Updated: 25 August 2022


  1. Kalle med C. Zedell

    May 16, 2014 at 6:54 am

    Hello there
    I have been reading your story about ms Obdam and that was very intresting
    I have on oil painting painted on glass ” ss Onega. London ”
    It is in good condition and I want to send a photo to you so please mail me your e-mail adress so I can mail the photo
    Please conform
    Best wishes
    Kalle med C. Zedell

    • Good morning,

      thank you for reading my blog. I have send you an email from my captain albert account. I am very interested in seeing this photo. The Obdam/Onega was run by an American Operator
      There was also an Onega out there run by a Dundee Operator in 1862, and now there is an Onega with a London connection.

      I am very curious.

      best regards

      Captain Albert


    September 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Captain Albert,

    Sorry if my English is not perfect, I’m French!
    10 members of my family moved in Canada in 1895.
    They were in the OBDAM.
    They take on board the 30th May 1895 in Boulogne-sur-Mer.
    They arrived the 11th June 1895 in Ellis-Island.

    I have different questions:
    1/ Do you know the first name of the Captain W. PONSEN? Have you a photo of him? Have you more information about him?

    2/ The Harvest of Memories book of Domremy, Saskatchewan (Canada), place where my family members arrived (the AUTET), explained, the OBDAM help one other boat during the crossing. Have you information about this history during this crossing?
    I know, for sure, a baby born during the crossing, it’s written on the passengers’ listing!

    3/ Have you the listing of the staff of the boat?

    4/ Do you know the date of the boarding in Rotterdam for this crossing?

    Thank you for all,


    • Hello Albert,
      thank you for reading my blog. Please let me know if you receive this email, as we are currently repairing the blog site.
      To answer your questions:

      1. The captains full name was Willem Ponsen born on 21 sept. 1855. If you go back to my blog, on the top is a link about captains from the past. there you can find a photo of him with some information. More info will be uploaded in the near future.

      2. If there is any information of the Obdam helping another ship, then it should be in the New York times archives. I will have a look, as you mention the approximate date.

      3. I can get you the crew list of that voyage but it will have to wait until Jan 2015, when I visit the HAL archives again.

      4. Your parents were on voyage 53, which left Rotterdam on 29 May, called at Boulogne Sur Mer on 30 May, and arrived at New York on 11 June. The ship left New York again on 15 June and sailed back to Rotterdam, (arrival 29 june) again via Boulogne sur Mer.

      I hope this helps
      Best regards

      Capt Albert

  3. Hi Captain Albert-

    I came across your blog while searching for a picture of the Odbam. My great, great grandfather was the first ancestor to immigrate to the US and sailed on this ship in 1891. I’ve been trying to find a good picture of the ship to enlarge and give as a gift to my father for his birthday next month. Do you have any clear files of the ship that I can purchase from you?

    Thank you,
    Kiana Hayden

  4. Hello Captain Albert,

    I have been doing family research and have located relatives who were able to email me a photo of my great grandfather, Andras (Andrew) Rada, with my great grandmother and grandfather. Andras Rada sailed on the S.S. Obdam in 1895 from Rotterdam to Ellis Island and arrived on February 20th, 1895. Passenger number 102859030991.

    I would greatly appreciate it if you could email some photos of the ship. I have been creating a family chart/tree from Andras Rada to my son’s so they will always know their family history. If possible can you also send any information about the voyage and captain of the ship at that time.

    Thank you for your assistance,


  5. Good morning Captain Albert,

    That is a very interesting story about Captain Bakker and the challenges of commanding a ship in the 19th century. Thank you for retelling it.

    At the age of 10 years old, my grand-father came to Canada aboard the ss Werkendam which arrived in New York on 26th of June 1891. Travelling with his mother and younger sisters in third class, he told a story of having been caught in a violent storm which had required them to throw much luggage overboard. Would you have read or heard of any stories about this? Also, would you know when the ship left Boulogne on that particular voyage?

    Thank you in advance for any assistance,


    • Good morning,

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      The ss Werkendam (captain Willem Bakker in command) sailed on 13 june 1891 from Rotterdam. This was voyage nbr 12. The ship arrived in NY on the 25th of june and disembarkation started on the 26th.
      On the way out she called at Bologne sur mer on 14 june. She stayed in NY until 04 July and sailed back to Holland via Boulogne Sur Mer. I checked the NY times archives but I could no find any mention of
      a heavy storm which involved the Werkendam in june 1891. Maybe another ship, or another year ??

      I hope this helps. Anymore questions please let me know.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  6. Thank you so much for your quick response!

    Wow! Would this be the very same Capt. Bakker who would have trouble with the engine room crew on the Obdam in July of the same year? If so, it appears that he wouldn’t have gotten much rest between voyages since the Werkendam only left NYC on July 4, 1891 and the trip back to Rotterdam took about 12 days, if I’m not mistaken.

    I’m wondering if perhaps they hit some rough seas and in the mind of my 10-year-old grand-father, they were going down. He seemed to have a good imagination. Would there be any reason that cargo might be unloaded while at sea?

    Thank you again,

  7. Peggy Virnig Mnich

    April 10, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    There was a family who left Rotterdam in early November 1892, arriving New York on November 19, 1892. Ancestry has the passenger list for SS Werkendam, but I couldn’t find anything about this ship on the Internet. Do you know why?

    I am also curious when SS Werkendam left Rotterdam. Do you know?

    Thank you in advance for your help! 🙂

    • Good morning,

      There is very little about the Werkendam and I have not had the chance yet to upload anything about her yet to my blog. She was one of those ships
      which did not had anything exciting happening to her so not much to report. The voyage you are referring to, was voyage 24. In command Captain Willem Bakker. (This was another Bakker, then Capt. Bakker from the Obdam) The ship left Rotterdam on 05 November 1892 and sailed via France (Mail and emigrant stop at Boulogne Sur Mer) to New York, where it arrived on the 19th. She left NY again a week later on the 26th. and returned via Boulogne Sur Mer to Rotterdam. any other queries, please do not hesitate to ask.

      Thank you for reading my blog

      Capt. Albert

  8. I enjoyed reading your blog. Regarding the Werkendam, my grandfather’s voyage was some time in May 1890 from Rotterdam to N.Y. Would you have any details of that trip? Would the arrival have been at Ellis Island? Would it have been easy to book a passage from New York City up the Hudson River to eventually arrive in Buffalo? My grandfather ended up in Cleveland Ohio and we always wondered how he got there from New York. Thank you for all your historical postings! Jackie

    • Good morning,

      Thankyou for reading my blog. The Werkendam made two voyages in May 1890. voyage two and three. Master of the Werkendam was Capt. Willem Bakker.

      2 12 Apr – 14 may Rdam – BSM – NY (24 – 01) – BSM – Adam
      3 18 may – 20 jun Rdam – BSM – NY (30 – 07) – BSM – Rdam

      (BSM stands for a call at Boulogne Sur Mer in France and NY (24 – 01) means arrival New York on 24 April and departing again on 01 may.)

      Getting from Ellis Island to the City was very simple as there were two dedicated ferries shuttling between Manhattan and Ellis Island. As there was no private transport, trains and carriages were plentiful and easy to get as long as you had the money to pay of course. Most train companies offered special fares for emigrants and quite often the emigrants already had bought the train ticket from the Steam ship company they used to come over with. I think it was easier for your grandfather to get from Ellis Island to Ohio than to get to the ship and make the crossing.

      I hope this helps.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  9. Beth michielsen

    January 17, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Hello Capt. Albert, I have GG grandparents that immigrated in 1892 and 1893. I was told they were on the ship Obdam. I don’t have anymore information, I’m trying to get information on my own. I was wondering if there are better pictures of the ship. Your help would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

  10. Hello Captain Albert,

    I very much enjoyed reading your history of the SS Obdam. A family member sailed on her in 1891, arriving in New York on 21 August of that year. Would you have any information of the date of departure from Rotterdam, and was the vessel commanded by Captain Bakker on that voyage? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Thank you for reading my blog.

      Yes he was. Captain Geert Bakker was in command. This was voyage 20 of the ss Obdam.
      The ship left Rotterdam on august the 08th and sailed via Boulogne Sur Mer (for French passengers) to New York,
      where it arrived on the 20th of August. Disembarkation for emigrants started on the 21st.
      The ship remained in New York until 29 august and then sailed back via Boulogne Sur Mer to Rotterdam
      where it arrived on 11 September.

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  11. Hello,
    I believe my great great grand father was on the Obdam, he arrived in NYC on April 5th having sailed from Rotterdam. Do you show a Daniel de blocq Van Sytzama on board around that time?

    • Captain Albert

      April 16, 2020 at 7:29 pm

      thank you for reading my blog.

      I would need the year to be certain. If he sailed before 1900, then it is very difficult to din out, and then the only good source is Ellis Island records. If he is from past 1900, then please have a look at this site. At the moment they are busy with digitizing all the sailing manifest/records of Holland America Line and they are complete van 1900 to 1920.

      Link: https://stadsarchief.rotterdam.nl/zoek-en-ontdek/passagierslijsten/zoeken-op-passagiers/?mizig=231

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

    • Yes Bryan, your great great grand father Daniel, age 30, was on the Obdam, arriving in NYC on April 5, 1889. It was the first voyage of the Obdam departing Rotterdam March 23, 1889.
      He is listed as Daniel Sytsma on page 2, line 51. It appears he is traveling with 2 other family members (lines 52 and 53); Wilh (maybe short for Wilhemina) age 34 and a male child Hendr (maybe short for Hendrick) , age 2+.
      On the May 16, 1889 arrival of the Obdam in NYC there are 5 other Sytsma’s listed:
      Fetie born about 1837, Albert born about 1871, Roelof born about 1878, Hendr born about 1883, and Evert born about 1887.

      I hope you can pass this info on the Bryan. You can give him my email.

  12. Hi Capt Albert,
    I found my grandfathers naturalization records online that says he traveled on the SS Obdam arriving in NY Ellis Island on April 15, 1893. I would like to know who he traveled with and what the names of those travelers and any other information about them (my family) in your records. His Name was Herman Deckrow
    Thank you
    Tom Deckrow

    • Thank you for your commands.
      I am afraid I have to disappoint you as far as personal information is concerned. There are no passenger records saved from before 1900. the only thing there is are the records at Ellis Island where you can search for individual records but also for the complete ships landing manifest. I can only give you the voyage information. Captain in command: Willem Ponsen voyage nbr: 32. The ss Obdam left Rotterdam on 1 April and called at Boulogne Sur Mer in France, before starting the crossing. The ship arrived in New York on 13 April. In the next two days the ferries came to the ship and collected all the emigrants for processing, hence your grand father date was 15 April.

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  13. Captain Albert, I found and dived the Obdam many years ago, I still have the large Bell and the Twin Steam whistles, she had many shell cases on her and the four inch gun was laying off the stern and I still remember seeing a safe laying on the sand off her starboard side whilst ascending from the wreck, but never got to find it. A fantastic history for which I thank you. I would dearly like a bigger picture of her if you know where I could get one. Thanks in advance Frankie Ward, Devon, England.

    • thank you for your most interesting command, I will contact you from my email with a higher quality photo

      best regards

      Capt. albert

    • Hello,
      The steam whistles were made by Steven & Struthers, I think the large one is 5″ in diameter, a standard whistle for that size of the ship.
      The small one could be from another ship.

  14. Rowland FYI the large steam whistle and smaller one are leaded in the open position and were joined by a brass manifold with lever attached, so that when sounded they both let off together, the large whistle is 6 inches in diameter and five foot 2 inches tall, the smaller one is two foot 2 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter. When on the manifold they stand 7 foot tall, the reason they are seperated is that I can hardly lift the big whistle let alone when they are joined up with the manifold…hope this helps…..Frankie Ward.

    • Hello,
      Many thanks for the reply, these were made by Steven & Struthers of Glasgow,
      both whistles have independent valves set in the whistle.
      Would they be for sale to put in my whistle museum, please?
      Can you email me, please?
      Rowland Humble.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.