Re: Interpretation of abbreviation #general

Susan Steeble

Deborah Blankenberg asked about the meaning of "c.o." on a passenger
manifest in the column for the type of relationship, name, and address
of the person that the immigrant was going to.

Since Deborah gave the names of the immigrants and the year and port
of arrival, it was easy to take a look at the full manifest page, and
I saw that this abbreviation was used only after the full information
was given for the first-listed member of the family. The next-listed
family members were going to the same person, so double quotation
marks (meaning "ditto," exactly the same) were used for the name and
address. However, when the relationship was different (and especially
when it was more complicated, such as first cousin-once-removed),
"c.o." was added to indicate that difference.

Note that this was also done in the column for the nearest relative in
the "country whence alien came." For the Bloch family, the relative
they left was the mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother,
respectively, for the husband, wife, and child of the family. The
person they were going to was (ostensibly) Otto's uncle, but "c.o."
was used instead of "husband's uncle" for Paula or "great-uncle" for
Hans. [I realize that the relative was actually the wife's uncle.
Presumably, either the Bloch family did not clarify whose uncle was
meant, or the ship's agent marked it this way for his own

In general usage (not specific to immigration documents), the term
"c.o " means "[in] care of." It is usually written with a slash as
"c/o," and you can see an example of this usage in the last entry on
the second page of the manifest, where the immigrant is going to an
unrelated person, a doctor. So it's possible that "c.o." can be
expanded to a slightly different phrase. But in any case, it seems to
be used as described above.

Susan Steeble
Baltimore, MD

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