Monday, March 1, 2010

There's More than the Ship's Manifest!

Saturday I attended the 35th annual conference of the DuPage County [IL] Genealogical Society titled “Genealogical Building Blocks”. Among the excellent speakers was John Philip Colletta and especially helpful to me was his last session, “Discovering the Real Stories of Your Immigrant Ancestors”.

Why was it so helpful to me? Because he reminded me of some research I had planned to do some time ago but never got around to. Even though I have Charles & Salome on the ship’s manifest for the SS Ernst Moritz Arndt on 20 March 1873, I wanted to find the newspaper account of the ship’s arrival. (And there was John Colletta showing similar accounts for his ancestors! What a great reminder to get home and search!)

My first opportunity came yesterday, Sunday, and after several failed attempts (trial and error is usually how I find the right keywords to get what I’m looking for from most any search engine: Google, Bing, Ask; it matters not.) At last, I was looking at some articles from the New York Times Archives for March 1873 through http://spiderbites.nytimes.com/free_1873/articles_1873_03_00000.html. This comes in two parts and, of course, I had more searching to do on the site. This time after looking through the titles of the articles several times I was able to use my FIND option to locate only the specific titles I thought to be most promising.

After a relatively short time (way shorter than looking through reels of microfilm) I found the ship’s arrival but also noticed there was a section for ships being cleared.
That brought to mind something else from Mr. Cottetta’s talk, the fact the steerage passengers were being detained on the ships for a week before entering the post due to the fear of the spread of cholera. Further searching revealed the “Ernst” being cleared on 29 March 1873. That would be the date that this young couple first set foot on American soil.

Of course, as with so many genealogical finds I have some new questions to be answered since finding this information.





For instance, the manifest read that the ship came from Stettin, Germany. However, the arrival information shows it first stopping in London and LeHavre, then Stettin. There were very few cabin passengers but two were from England; Other than 6 English steerage passengers, all the rest (all steerage) were from France. Would those Alsatians be inclined to leave through a German or through a French port? There’s always more work to do.

1 comment:

  1. Having some time to consider the above finds, I determined what I believe was the route of the Ernst. It left Stettin (quite empty I think), then picked up its few English passengers leaving London on February 27, then it stopped in Le Havre where it was filled with Frence emmigrants leaving for America on March 4th.
    After the Franco/Prussian war any Alsatian who didn't want to be under German rule has to move into the interior of France by October 1872; many of these refugees made their way to the US.
    Now it all makes sense:)

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