I'm trying to track down additional information on the ship (HERO) mentioned below, apparently set sail in late March 1870, and arrived in May. My ancestors came from Sweden, although I'm not sure where this ship sailed from. The following is a story documented by my great aunt, which was told to her by her father.
"He alway started with the voyage through the Sea of Skagerak, which was a very rough passage out into the North Sea. The North Sea could be much worse than the Atlantic at times. The HERO was a wooden ship and I don't recall if it was powered by steam or sail but most of the ships of that era were steam ships. As it moved through the Atlantic, a bad storm blew up and the ship was tossed about wildly. In attempting to steer the ship, the rudder was broken and a big hole was bashed in the side of the ship. To keep the ship from sinking, mattresses were stuffed into the hole tightly to keep the water from rushing in and sinking the ship.
When the storm was finally spent, the boat was adrift on the sea for many days until the rudder and the hole in the side of the ship were repaired. The ship had drifted well of course for many days. The voyage which was supposed to be over in 10 days went on for 6 weeks. Food had been used up so the people were hungry and had little hope for survival. The ship finally made port in May.
Our Grandmother (Anna Lena) was pregnant when she boarded the ship. We can only wonder how far into her pregnancy she was, but during the voyage at some point she went into labor.
Another woman who was bunked near by came to her aid. The only light they had was candlelight but the candles in the emigrant quarters had been used up. But rats came to the rescue! Rats ate the tallow that was used to make the candles and stole them from the First Class passenger cabins and brought them down into the ship's hold to eat them. The emigrants killed the rats with sticks and took the candles from the rats."