Early Explorers in Egypt and Nubia

This blog is intended
both as an instrument for researchers on early explorers in Egypt and Nubia, providing useful tools in the On-line Resources section (On-line books, Archives, Map Collections, Photo Collections, etc.), and as a place to publish original documentation and research on the subject (i.e. List of travellers, Accounts, Letters, etc.). Anyone who would like to contribute with suggestions or articles is warmly welcomed!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Passport of Benjamin S. Walcott, 1852-53

I am most grateful to Neil Kaplan for sending me these photos and allowing me to publish them. Benjamin S. Walcott is listed in the previous post with the list of American travellers compiled by Andrew Oliver.

N. 5644 Vu à la Légation des Etats-Unis
à Paris, le 3 novembre 1852
Bon pour l’Italie
accompagné d’un courrier
nommé John Bedair agé de
37 ans

Vu au Consulat des E.U. d’Amérique
au Caire le 24 Mars 1853 Bon pour le
voyage de Monsieur Walcott accompagné
par Madame son epouse et pour son
Courier J. Bedair, et allant à Jérusalem
Syrie et par Suetz, Sinaï, Hahaba
au Oidy Nakel
Le Consul Gérant
C. Kahil

Consulate of the United States
Beirut June 9. 1853
Good for Smyrna & Constantinople
J. Hosford Smith

Reg. K N. 3425
Vu au Consulat Gen.l de France
Bon p.r la France par Calais a Boulogne
Londres le 16 Novembre 1852

Age 68 Years
Stature 6 Feet 1 Inches Eng.h
Forehead High
Eyes Blue
Nose Stout
Mouth Large
Chin Round
Hair Gray
Complexion Florid
Face Oval

N. 5202
I the Undersigned Secretary of State of the
United States of America hereby request all
whom it may concern to permit safely and
freely to pass Benjamin S. Walcott
accompanied by his wife

Citizens of the United States and in
case of need to give them all lawful Aid and
Given under my hand and
the impression of the Seal of the
Department of State, at the
City of Washington the 22.d day
of October A.D. 1852
in the 77th Year of the Independence
of these United States.

N. 195
Vu à la Légation des Etats Unis d’Amerique à Londres ce
24 Nov.bre 1852
Bon pour le Continent


N. 1261 Londres le 23 9bre 1852
Vu à la Légation de Sardigne
Bon pour les Etats du Roi


N. 3979 Gratis
London der 23 Nov.b 1852
Gesehen bei der K.K.
Oesterreichischen Gesandeschaft
Für din k.k. […] Ottenfels

Firenze li 18 Dicembre 1852
[…] per Roma
Vale a partire da […] tre giorni


  1. Daniele,
    You may be interested to know that John Bedair (as mentioned above) was my great great great grandfather. My father and I are currently researching, trying to find out more about him. It appears he was born in Cairo, converted to Christianity, lived in London, married an English lady (quite the scandal back then) and worked as a dragoman.
    By any chance have you come across any other references to him?
    Thank you for your work and your scans.
    Warm regards

    Alexander Bedair Finlayson

    1. John Bedair [Bedayr]

      I have known of John Bedair for about 10 or more years so I am pleased to discover that he has descendants and would be interested in learning more about him. I don’t know where you are based but I am in London and would be happy to follow any leads you may have.

      My knowledge of John Bedair comes from working on a biography of James Burton [Haliburton]. He was in Egypt 1822 to 1833. He returned to England from Alexandria, travelling via Naples, Cette, Bordeaux, Paris, and Calais, until arriving home at St Leonards on Sea on Christmas Day 1835. Burton was accompanied on the journey home by his secretary / companion Charles Humphreys who had been with him since 1822, Adreana Garofalaki a Greek girl he bought from the slave market in Cairo (and whom he later married), and two Egyptian servants whose names he does not give. However, one is John Bedair – and this I know from several early travel handbooks. The other servant was Mohammed Abdeen. I know Mohammed worked for Burton for many years but John is not mentioned – yet it has to be imagined from the references below that he must also have been with Burton for some time – and both men were in Bordeaux. I also have the names of a several Egyptians who spent many years with Burton on his meanderings about Egypt.

      I look forward to hearing from you.

      Neil Cooke

    2. two years later and we finally make contact Neil! My sincere apologies!

  2. Dear Alexander,
    thank you very much for this exciting update. I have not more info about your ancestor, but if you write me an e-mail, I can pass you the e-mail address of the kind person who sent me these photos (which do not cover the entire passport): salvoldi.daniele at gmail dot com.

    1. Dear Daniele,

      I have sent you an email today... a little over 2 years later! My sincere apologies. It was only through Neil Cooke (commenting above) contacting me in another way that I found my way back here. I flit in and out of researching our family tree and I haven't done for quite some time (two years and 7 days apparently!)

      All the best

  3. Dear Daniele,

    It is truly amazing to read the replies, rich in detail and information!

    Would you be able to assist in translating the old Turkish (?) visa above the US visa issued in Beirut, June 9. 1953? I am interested to know if it was issued/stamped in Turkish Palestine...


    1. So sorry for this late reply: unfortunately I can't read Turkish, but perhaps I can check among my academic friends whether they can help me. Sorry again for a five years delay!