My Grandfather was coming from Romania to the UK around 1910. He went through immigration at Antwerp. How do I find the ship he was on? His name was Stan Cancea.

Last night I found his immigration papers in Antwerp so he came over in March 1908. It most probably was just a ferry so will be difficult to find. His birth date is different on his immigration paper to his death certificate. So obviously he was older than we all knew! I think I shall try and find out why he came over ie what the situation was like in Romania then and was there lots of immigration?

  • 1
    Sarah, how do you know he passed through Antwerp on his way to the United Kingdom? Was it from a story passed down through your family? If it's an estimate you made, how did you work that out? Knowing what you've done already helps us write a better answer for you. See genealogy.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 28, 2016 at 17:25
  • Thanks for giving us more information (and congratulations on finding the papers again)! If you'd like to add more information from the immigration papers you found, we can probably help you find out more about the ship. For the differences in birth date on different records, that's very common! Remember, your grandfather only knew his own birth date from what people told him, so it's secondary information, and he couldn't have reported what his own birth date was for his death certificate. People do the best they can, but as information passes from person to person, mistakes creep in.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jul 29, 2016 at 16:07
  • Perhaps you can edit your question to revise it into the single question you are now seeking an answer for. Alternatively, it may be that some of your additional information could be placed into an answer to the original question.
    – PolyGeo
    Jul 30, 2016 at 1:03

1 Answer 1


Passenger lists to and from Europe were not routinely kept in the UK; only passenger lists from ports outside Europe were recorded. In a few cases passengers are listed where they joined at an intermediate stop (e.g. Melbourne to Antwerp to London).

The record you mention I believe are records of immigration created by the Antwerp authorities for foreigners residing there. They do often note dates of exit as well for those who moved on to other locales. His full file can be seen on Familysearch and begins here, going on for several pages.

The second page of his file is a statement dated 10 Jun 1908, which indicates that Stan Cancea has left for London some 15 days ago, without intent to return (to Antwerp).

If you go forward to page 641, this is the original documentation of his arrival in Belgium. Summary of relevant information:

  • Resident Rue du Printemps, 19, house of Mr Klein
  • Name: Stan Cancea
  • Born Bailesti, Romania, 20th August 1881
  • Single.
  • Father Tencu, born Bailesti, aged 78
  • mother Stephanie Firtulescu, born Bailesti, aged 68
  • legal residence Bailesti, Romania, at the house of his parents
  • previous residence London, Welberen? Road, 145, Tott??? (Tottenham?)
  • Date of arrival in Belgium - 21 Feb 1908
  • Papers - passport No. 4985 dated 28 September 1905, issued by authorities in Craiova, Romania.

Now, this suggests that the stop in Belgium was not his original arrival to the UK - he seems to have been resident in London, came for a short trip to Antwerp, and then returned to London.

The places listed all line up - Băileşti is in Dolj county, Craiova is the capital of that county, so it makes sense that he had to get his passport from there.

We can therefore presume from these documents that he left for the UK sometime after 28 September 1905, when his passport was issued in Romania, and before 21 Feb 1908, when he entered Belgium and was listed as previously residing in London.

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