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Shugaevsky Family

Part 13 Finding Leonid's Voyage

1910 – Leonid arrives in the United States

Click on images to enlarge.

1923 record-image_3QS7-99DQ-MYCP detail

Information from Leonid's 1923 passport application. We will find out his real emigration information on this page.

My initial internet searches for “Terbey” failed to find immigration documents.  After finding reference to a letter from a bank that was addressed “℅ L. Shugaevsky”, I searched for "L Shugaevsky" instead of "Marcus Terbey" or "Leonid Shugaevsky" and I found information attesting to a 1910 arrival in the United States.

1918 bank letter detail.jpeg

A “d” was misread as an “a” and “Leonid” became “Leonia”. The original document spans two pages and is a list of people who disembarked in Vancouver, BC and are applying to be admitted to the United States. Leonid's age is incorrect.


One of the challenges of this this research is understanding what I discover. I assumed that Leonid entered the country through Vermont until I found the information below.

In 1895 Canada and USA established a joint inspection system. Passengers on ships arriving in Canada who intended to go on to United States were inspected by US Officials at the Canadian Port of Arrival, then enumerated on US immigration lists.

Because this comprehensive set of records was compiled at Montreal, they would be better named the "Montreal Lists." But in later years INS moved its Canadian Border District Office from Montreal to St. Albans, Vermont. Thus when INS eventually transferred copies of the records to the National Archives, the records came from St. Albans, and it is from this latter location we derive the unhelpful name "St. Albans Lists." It is unhelpful because too many researchers assume from that name the records only pertain to arrivals across the Vermont/Canada border.


Required by the regulations of Secretary of Commerce and Labor of the United States, under Act of Congress approved February 20,1907

Port of Vancouver, B.C., Month of Oct 24th, 1910

  1. Leonid is in transit. 

  2. Age 28 (actual age is 24 or 25)

  3. Male

  4. Married (!)

  5. Occupation is “Fisherman”

  6. Can read

  7. Can write.

  8. Nationality is Russian

  9. Race or people is Russian

  10. His last permanent residence is given as “Vancouver Canada”. Written above is “ exit via S.F.”, most likely San Francisco and the city where Leonid entered the U.S.

  11. Name and address of nearest relative is his uncle, Pavel Shugaevsky, “Dvoransky Bank”, St. Petersburg

  12. Final destination is Canada with “via San Francisco” written above (confusing)

  13. (We are now on page 2) line number (same as page 1)

  14. He does not have a ticket to his final destination

  15. He paid his own passage

  16. He has $200

  17. Was never in the United States before

  18. “Whether going to join a relative or friend”; answer is “In transit” which is the same as most other entries for that question

  19. Not recently in prison, almshouse, insane asylum etc

  20. Not a polygamist

  21. Not an anarchist

  22. Not coming by way of an offer of labor.

  23. Mental and physical health is good

  24. Not deformed or crippled

  25. Height is 5’ 11.5”

  26. Complexion (can’t decipher)

  27. Hair is brown, eyes are hazel (if I deciphered the abbreviations correctly)

  28. No identifying marks

  29. Place of birth is St Petersburg, Russia

  30. Seaport of landing is Vancouver

  31. Date of landing is September 26, 1909

  32. Name of Ship is Empress of China

  33. Date of examination is October 8, 1910

1910 List .jpg
1910 List p2 .jpg

Immigration list with Leonid's name

According to the document above, Leonid applied for admission to the United States one year after arriving in Canada. In the application he claims to be a fisherman. Perhaps upon arriving in Canada he needed to earn some money right away. There would have been a ready supply of (difficult and dangerous) jobs in the fishing industry. He earned enough to have $200 in his pocket when he left Vancouver for San Francisco, 

My mother, Ariadna, remembers that Leonid was married more than once, but until this document I only had evidence of his last wife, Amanda. In this document the 24 year old Leonid claims to be married – and that is all we know for certain about any wife predating Amanda. Ariadna “thinks” he had a Russian wife.

It is interesting that Leonid names his Uncle Pavel as his nearest relative. Leonid’s father was still alive at the time. I know very little about his Uncle Pavel except that he worked for the Noble’s Land Bank (Dvoransky Bank) which was located in St. Petersburg. Both my mother and I assume the St. Petersburg birthplace is false and that Leonid was born in Ukraine. I wonder if some errors were made because Leonid was still learning English.


Next we follow the trail back to the passenger list from his voyage

The RMS Empress of China

Not taking anything for granted, I verified that the the Empress of China did arrive in the port of Vancouver that date and by going page by page I found Leonid on the passenger list. Unfortunately the resolution was such that I couldn’t make out the details. I finally found a better digital image elsewhere on the internet.

Manifest 1 detail.jpg

Enlargement from the manifest of the RMS Empress of China. The full image is further down on right.

On this voyage, the RMS Empress of China left from Hong Kong, making stops in Shanghai, Nagasaki, Kobe, and Yokohama on its way to Vancouver. I assume that Leonid got on in Shanghai since it is in China and had a sizable Russian community, and my mother remembers that he lived in Shanghai. The journey from Shanghai took nineteen days.


An artists rendering and two photos of the RMS Empress of China. The bottom photo was taken after the ship hit a reef in Tokyo harbor, two years after Leonid’s passage. It was towed to Yokohama for scrap.

RMS Empress of China manifest, page 16

Leonid traveled in steerage, the least expensive accommodations on the ship. 

Ticket number is 15846

Amount of cash is $50.

His last name is spelled as shown above; Chugaevski or Chugaevska.  This is a French spelling.

Age is 24 (by my calculations he was about to turn 23 or 24).

He claims to be single.

He plans to permanently reside in Canada.

He is a Russian from Russia.

Vancouver is his final destination.

His occupation is “clerk”. Perhaps he worked as a clerk in China to make the money for passage.

His religious denomination is given as “Greek Church” same as nine of the ten other Russians

It is interesting to note that most of this list is organized by “Race of People” and the Chinese “race” far outnumbers all the other passengers combined. Vancouver has had a significant Chinese population since the 1890s. Today it about 30% Chinese. 

Manifest 1.jpg
Manifest p18.jpg

Pages from a manifest for the RMS Empress of China. Leonid's information is in the bottom image.

There we have it. Leonid arrived in Canada in September 1909 and emigrated to the US in October 1910. It appears that he worked as a clerk in Shanghai. In Canada it appears he worked as a fisherman. 

Now we know that the emigration date on his passport was false and that he didn't sail from Liverpool. We will learn why he created a false identity further along.

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