RAILWAY PASSENGER LISTS OF OVERLAND TRAINS TO SAN FRANCISCO AND THE WEST. Two Volumes. By Louis J. Rasmussen. Hardbound, 2 vols., (1966,1968), reprinted 2011, Surname Index, Geographical Index, Subject Index, 408 pp. and 504 pp.
When the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, there was great celebration of being "connected to the rest of the world." The West was no longer separated by the snowy reaches of the Sierras, and the railroad brought to the Pacific States and Territories a mighty flood of prosperity, as well as new immigrants. To the rest of the United States, as well as other countries, it also brought an improved means of transportation for visiting the fabled region which had, theretofore, been only accessible by ship to the outward opening of the Golden Gate, or a long, difficult journey by wagon or horseback.
The original Overland Train passenger lists are no longer in existence. In the absence of such records, this ambitious work provides a reconstruction of passenger arrivals between 1870 and 1873 using contemporary sources, such as journals, diaries, letters, magazines and newspaper lists. This effort addresses Overland Trains, bound west, with passengers tabulated at the time of passing Ogden, Utah; Carlin, Nevada; Battle Mountain, Nevada; and Mojave, California. A number of entries in Volume I tabulate passengers on board Union Pacific Overland Trains passing Omaha, Nebraska, bound west.
This two-volume work covers the period of 1870 to 1873, and contains approximately 32,000 names. Volume I catalogues departures and arrivals from July 28, 1870, to November 13, 1871; and Volume II catalogues primarily departure dates from November 12, 1871 to April 23, 1873. Interest in these two volumes is predictably heightened by the fact that the passengers come from all parts of the United States, as well as from many European countries.
The passenger lists are arranged chronologically, and, generally, contain departure date, arrival date, or "passed through" date; passenger names; and place of residence. When families were traveling together, an indication of "spouse", or "child", with no name given, will often follow the passenger entry. At the conclusion of Volume II, Mr. Rasmussen has included a superb Name Index, Geographical Index, Subject Index and 50 pages of Notes, which contain further explanation and/or correction of entries.