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During the 19th century, thousands of people left Ceredigion to emigrate to America, Canada, Australia and Patagonia.

What did they take with them?

From the 10 rules of the emigrants when on board ship from Caernarfon to Canada in 1818:

Rule 10 ' Let no family keep the contents of their pots filled during the night until people rise in the morning. Be careful, rather, to take them up on deck and throw the contents away'. These were chamber pots not cooking pots!

Edward Roberts, (writing in Welsh) went to Melbourne in 1886, possibly on a Free package - paid for either by the Australians or by the local Poor Law Commissioners. When he was shown his bunk on board, it had a mattress, 2 sheets, a quilt, a tin cup and plate, knife, fork and two spoons and a small box of soap. He took some bara brith that his mother had made. He also had tinned salmon and tinned milk.

What did they wear?

A young woman ('a buxom mountain maid') wanted to go to Australia with neighbours but her father wouldn't pay for the trip, nor would he let her take her Sunday wardrobe. Her neighbours paid for the journey, but we don't know what she wore to chapel when she arrived there. This implies that they may have taken a set of 'best' clothes.

William Shadrach Jones left Caernarfon in 1853. He wrote:

'I would advice those that come out not to bring a large stock of clothing [because] clothes are cheap there and money makes money' (i.e. better to take money).

What did they do on board?

Thomas Rees of Neath wrote to a friend in October, 1852 that they spent the first week of a 104 day journey fitting up their births with nails to hang pans, lamps, knives, forks, spoons etc, but he spent much of his time when not cooking reading, studying maths and playing chess. 'We never missed a night without music and dancing'.

What should they have taken with them?

Daniel Jones, a law clerk, left for Australia in October 1856. Like many on board he was in a cabin rather than in steerage (for the poor), and like others who kept diaries of their voyage, he was educated and well off.

He said that other there was plenty of food, but he would have liked more jam and coffee.

'of material things we found hammers, nails, saws, ropes, string, coffee mills (portable ones), brick dust [presumably to polish the rust off knives], solder and soldering irons [possibly to repair pots and pans], rosin [possibly for violin bows] etc, etc, etc extremely useful and desirable but not readily procurable'.

He recommended that emigrants took old shirts and threw them overboard when very dirty [there was not enough fresh water to wash clothes in].

He also recommended taking: spices and seasonings [presumably to give some variety to the rather limited range of food]; tins of sardines, raisins, flour, dried yeast, crockery plates and cups and a half pint mug since 'tea and coffee does not taste half so well out of tin pannickins and tea cups commonly used aboard ship'

He suggested taking some items that could be sold on board including onions, tobacco pipes, cheese, bacon, herrings and apples.

He also suggested that people take only what is required for the journey and throw away anything [such as hampers that held food] not required in Australia so that they would be unencumbered with bags when they arrived. Sensible advice, perhaps for someone with money. As to money he recommended having a bankers draft rather than cash except for pocket money.

Peter Thomas, Strangers from a Secret Land (voyages of the brig Albion and the founding of the First Welsh Settlements in Canada)', University of Toronto Press, 1986, Lewis Lloyd, 'Australians from Wales' (Gwynedd Archives, 1988)

A few of the ships that took emigrants from Ceredigion Ports

Some went in large ships from Liverpool while others went in smaller ships from Ceredigion ports.

Local ships went to North America to bring back timber, and to South America to bring back guano (bird droppings, used as fertiliser) so taking emigrants back was a bonus for the ship owners.

name: type: size: built at: date built: sailed to:

Active: snow: 142:Cardigan, 1802: St John's, New Brunswick

Albion: brig: : Cardigan, 1815: St John's, New Brunswick

Friendship: brig: 92: New Quay: 1817: USA

Triton: snow: 260: Cardigan: 1836: Canada and USA

Credo: snow: 257: Sunderland, 1840: Quebec

Tamerlane: barque: 1,100: 1847: Quebec

The Albion arrived in St John's New Brunswick on 12.6.1819 with 27 families

The Tamerlane left Aberystwyth for Quebec with 462 men , women, children and crew in June, 1847.

The Credo and the Elizabeth left Aberystwyth on the 16th April, 1849 for Quebec with a total of 58 passengers.

J Geraint Jenkins, Maritime Heritage, the Ships and Seamen of South Ceredigion, (Gomer, 1982).

Lewis Lloyd, The Port of Aberystwyth in the 1840s, Cumru a'r Mor, V,

Examples of some of the objects that may have been taken by emigrants to their new homes:

Knives, forks and spoons, Chamber pot, Cooking pot, Coffee pot, Spice box, Large mug, Oil lamp, Clay tobacco pipes, Soap, Razor.

Presumably they also took basic foodstuffs including flour, rice, yeast, salted meat, cheese, coffee beans, jam tobacco (they were able to catch fish while sailing), a bible and prayer book, books.

Family mementos. After about 1860 they may have had 'Carte de visite' photographs of their family, and may well have sent photographs of themselves back home.