Nordlyset was built in 1853 by J. H. Løve & Søn at Tønsberg, Norway. In 1855 she was owned by G. Backe in Christiania. Her tonnage was 159 Norwegian Commercial lasts
(330 register tons). The first year she brought emigrants from Norway to North America was in 1856. She departed Christiania on May 2nd, and arrived at Quebec on July 2nd. Her master was Capt. J. A. Hansen. Because the National Archives of Canada [NAC] did not start the archiving of passenger lists before 1865, and the Norwegian emigration records did not start before 1867, there is no surviving passenger list for this voyage in any of those archives. In 1857 she departed Christiania on Apr. 25th and arrived at Quebec on June 18th. Master was Capt. Hansen. There is no surviving passenger list for this voyage, see above. In 1858 the owners announced that they would take passengers for America, but we have not been able to find any confirmation for a voyage this year.
In 1859 she departed from Christiania on May 4th and arrived at Quebec on June 18th. Master was Capt. Hansen. Ole Dahl's personal account of his voyage on the Nordlyset to America in 1859.
In 1860 she departed from Christiania and arrived at Quebec on June 21st. Master was Capt. Hansen. No surviving passenger list. In 1861 she departed from Christiania in ballast on Apr. 27th and arrived at the quarantine station on Grosse Îile on July 7th. She was detained in quarantine for 3 days. She proceeded to Quebec and arrived there on July 10th. She was carrying 5 cabin and 297 steerage passengers. At arrival to Grosse Îile 4 passengers were sick and 29 had died during the voyage. She was mastered by Capt. Hansen and had a crew of 14.
An old sailor named Erik Olsen had his first journey as a sailor on this ship. He did not say what year this happened, but the information seams to fit quite well with the 1861 voyage. He told that the Nordlyset had 330 passengers on board, twice as many as the regulations said it could take (according to her tonnage and the passenger act). They were at sea for 3 months, and had storms and head winds all the time. The passengers were suffering from seasickness, and they were all
kept down in the hold. Because of the rough weather the hatches were closed, and the conditions
down there became sickening. The passengers could not get up on deck. 30 of them, mostly children, died from the terrible sufferings before the ship reached America. In 1862 the Nordlyset departed from Christiania on Apr. 30th and arrived at Quebec on June 27th. This year she was mastered by Capt. Abrahamsen. There is no surviving passenger list for this voyage, see above, but we have a fragment from a newspaper notice, se below. It is included in our online database.
Newspaper notice from Morgenbladet July 30th, 1862; The master of the ship Nordlyset, Capt. Abrahamsen, which has brought us and other emigrants from Christiania to Quebec, has under the voyage shown a polite and caring attitude at all times, and shown willingness and been in all ways helpful with advice. Even though we are not sailors we must add that Capt. Abrahamsen at all times has shown skillfulness and enthusiasm in making progress on the voyage in the unfavorable weather we were exposed to during the Atlantic crossing. Quebec June 30th, 1862. [Signed by several of the passengers]
In 1864 she departed from Christiania on Apr. 22nd and arrived at Quebec on June 16th. Mastered was Capt. Abrahamsen. There is no surviving passenger list for this voyage, see above.
In 1865 the Nordlyset, rigged as a ship, departed from Christiania in May 12th and arrived at Quebec June 29th. She was mastered by Capt Christophersen and was carrying 175 passengers. a crew of 12. The passenger list was archived by the National Archives of Canada [NAC].
In 1866 Nordlyset (now rigged as a bark
) departed from Christiania on Apr. 18th and arrived at Quebec on May 24. She was sailing in ballast, and was carrying 169 steerage passengers, and 3 in cabin. The child Marie Martinsdatter Egeberg, age 1 died of convulsions (teething) during the crossing.
The master was Capt. Christiophersen and she had a crew of 12. The passenger list was archived by the National Archives of Canada [NAC].
In 1868 she departed from Christiania on May 28th and arrived at Quebec on Aug. 2nd. She was carrying 204 passengers. There were 3 deaths and 1 birth on the voyage. The passenger list was archived by the National Archives of Canada [NAC], and the emigrants were listed in the Christiania Police Emigration Records.
In 1869 the Nordlyset departed from Christiania May 7th, and arrived at Quebec July 8th. She was sailing in ballast, and was carrying 193 steerage passengers and 2 cabin passengers. 21 of the passengers were sick as the ship arrived at the quarantine station on Grosse Île. There were three deaths on the voyage, two adults and one child. There was also one birth. The Nordlyset was mastered by Capt. Christophersen as usually, and had a crew of 12. The passenger list was archived by the National Archives of Canada [NAC], and the emigrants were listed in the Christiania Police Emigration Records.
In 1870 the bark Nordlyset departed from Christiania May 14th, and arrived at Quebec Aug 4th. She was sailing in ballast, and was carrying 200 steerage passengers and 8 cabin passengers. Eight children died from diarrhoea and debility on the voyage. [only five of them are noted on passenger list]. There was one birth. Mastered by Capt. E. Christophersen, with a crew of 12. The passenger list was archived by the National Archives of Canada [NAC], and the emigrants were listed in the Christiania Police Emigration Records. Reported in the "Morning Chronicle" (Quebec)
for August 2, 1870: Reported from Gaspe. The Norwegian barque Nordlysith [sic], Capt. Christopherson, from Christiania to Quebec with 250 emigrants, eleven weeks out, anchored here yesterday afternoon short of
Provisions and water - all well.
A voyage on the Nordlyset in 1870
On May 13th we sailed from Christiania and arrived in Drøbak on the 14th at 8 in the morning. On the 17th we sailed from Drøbak but it was a strange day. We were hit by a terrible storm and all of the emigrants were throwing up everywhere. When we were approaching Ferder lighthouse we had to turn around and sailed back to "Vallø saltverk" where we arrived on May 18th. We departed from there on May 21st. On June 1st an June 2nd two children between 4 and 6 years old died. On the 3rd they were buried in the sea, the two children were laying in the same coffin. Night to the 4th an other child died and in the morning we could see England and a town called "Duaver" [Dover?]. On June the 8th we came out in the Atlantic ocean in the morning. On the 14th a 2 year old child died, and at dinnertime died a child. On the 27th Died a child (and that was son of Andreas R.) The 29th died a child. On July 1st Edvard Vangen died. At 9 o'clock on the morning on July 21st we could se the shores of America, and it was a place called "Stepol" [St. Paul's Island (between Nova Scotia and
Newfoundland)]. On the 23rd in the evening we could se an island which was called Antikorti [Anticosti Island on the north side
of the St. Lawrence channel]. On the 25th we could see land, and we were so close that we could see the houses very clearly, and we were supposed to go in there to get food and water, but we were drifted out to sea again. On the 27th the pilot came aboard, and we came to shore so we could get food, water and timber for burning. On August the 2nd at 8 in the morning a pilot came aboard again and on the 3rd we were laying at anchor. On the 4th we had favorable wind and on the 5th too. On August the 6th in the evening we arrived in Quebec. [This account was most likely written by one of the Habberstads]