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Published Passenger Lists:
A Review of German Immigrants
Germans to America, Volumes 1-9 (1850-1855)

Michael P. Palmer


Table of contents:



For an excellent account of American ship passenger arrival records, see Michael Tepper, American Passenger Arrival Records; A Guide to the Records of Immigrants Arriving at American Ports by Sail and Steam (updated and enlarged edition; Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993). Chapter 3, pp. 63-100, contains a detailed discussion of Customs Passenger Lists, and forms the basis of the following account. Return to text.

The annual reports of the Secretary of State were published as House Executive Documents. Legislation in 1874 dropped the requirement that customs collectors send copies of the ship lists to the Secretary of State, and the collectors were instructed instead to send only statistical reports on passenger arrivals to the Secretary of the Treasury. Return to text.

In fact, even the New York index for 1820-1846 is also imperfect, since it is an index not to the original lists, but only to the copies. Return to text.

A Supplemental Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Coast Ports (Excluding New York), 1820-1874 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M334) does indeed include New Orleans to about 1850, but it is not comprehensive, and the date at which it ceases to include New Orleans is unclear. Return to text.

Bremen was throughout the 19th century far more important than Hamburg as a port of emigration: indeed, in the 1840's and 1850's between two and three times as many emigrants sailed from Bremen as from Hamburg. The Bremen ship passenger departure lists, begun in 1832, no longer survive. Contrary to what still appears occasionally in English-language genealogical publications, the Bremen ship lists for the 19th century were not destroyed during World War II, but, beginning in 1874, as a matter of government policy two years after they were created. Zimmerman and Wolfert's work is the first major English-language publication to give an accurate account of the fate of the original 19th-century Bremen ship lists. Return to text.

Since the National Archives microfilm substituted copies for missing or illegible originals, the "original" on the microfilm may not be the list submitted by the captain. Return to text.

In particular, Peter Marschalck, Deutsche Überseewanderung im 19. Jahrhundert, Industrielle Welt, 14 (Stuttgart: Klett, c1973). Return to text.

Statistical Review of Immigration, 1820-1910 / Distribution of Immigrants, 1850-1900, Reports of the Immigration Commission, 61st Congress, 3rd Session, Senate Executive Document No. 756, vol. 3 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1911), 23-29. This figure is for the year beginning 1 October 1846 through the calendar year 1867, and includes citizens of the Austrian Empire. Return to text.

The breakdown by volume is as follows: 3.22 percent (27,270 out of 847,232 immigrants) for 1847-1854; 5.98 percent (26,030 out of 435,500 immigrants) for 1855-1862; and 8.11 percent (34,320 out of 423,180 immigrants) for 1863-1867. Return to text.

The name appears to be "Anna Mangels," aged 19, servant, from Hannover [ship Elise, manifest dated 11.i.1850, National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Reel 85, No. 21 (published in GTA, vol. 1, pp. 6-7); for a full discussion of this manifest, see Part 2]. Return to text.

GTA, vol. 1, p. vii. Return to text.

Marschalck, op. cit., p. 35, Tabelle 4. Return to text.

For a discussion of these lists, see Part 2. Return to text.

31st Congress, 2nd Session, Serial Set 598, House Executive Document No. 16 (4th quarter 1849-3rd quarter 1850); 32nd Congress, 1st Session, Serial Set 644, House Executive Document No. 100 (4th quarter 1850-4th quarter 1851).
32nd Congress, 2nd Session, Serial Set 679, House Executive Document No. 45. For the 4th quarter statistics for New Orleans, see page 75.
33rd Congress, 1st Session, Serial Set 723, House Executive Document No. 78.
33rd Congress, 2nd Session, Serial Set 788, House Executive Document No. 77.
34th Congress, 1st and 2nd Sessions, Serial Set 851, House Executive Document No. 29.
The official figures have been altered to omit immigrants from Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, and Moravia.
Return to text.

The statistics for Switzerland are puzzling, since the annual report of the Secretary of State for 1852 lists only 2,788 Swiss entering the United States during the year. Return to text.

The greatest discrepancy found between the date of arrival and the date of the passenger manifest was found in the case of the ship Kossuth, which arrived at New York from Liverpool on 16 January 1854; the passenger manifest is dated 19 January 1854, 3 days later (National Archives Microfilm Publication, M237, Reel 136, No. 75; published in GTA, vol. 6, pp. 282-285). Return to text.

Tepper, op. cit., p. 81. Return to text.

National Archives Microfilm Publication M575. Return to text.

German immigrants through miscellaneous ports, 1850-1855, by quarter:
Charleston, SC: 5 (4 males/1 female) from Bremen.
Charleston, SC: 43 males from Bremen.
Charleston, SC: 6 (4 males/2 females) from Bremen.
Charleston, SC: 122 (85 males/37 females); Mobile, AL: 6 (3 males/3 females).
Savannah, GA: 43 (24 males/19 females).
Mobile, AL: 1 male.
Charleston, SC: 2 males.
Charleston, SC: 2 males; Mobile, AL: 2 males; Portland & Falmouth, ME: 4 males. The 2 males at Mobile intend to return.
Charleston, SC: 96 (73 males/23 females); Mobile, AL: 1 male; Portland & Falmouth, ME: 123 (106 males/17 females); San Francisco, CA: 89 (70 males/19 females).
San Francisco, CA: 38 males from Germany, 1 male from Hamburg.
Charleston, SC: 208 (139 males/69 females) from Bremen, 25 (15 males/10 females) from Prussia; Edgartown, MA: 68 (48 males/20 females); Mobile, AL: 3 males from Prussia; Portland & Falmouth, ME: 34 (20 males/14 females); San Francisco, CA: 1 male from Prussia, 126 (95 males/31 females) from Germany.
Passamaquoddy, ME: 1 male; Portland & Falmouth, ME: 9 (6 males/3 females); San Francisco, CA: 129 (87 males/42 females).
Mobile, AL: 1 male; Oswego, NY: 1 male; Passamaquoddy, ME: 2 males; San Francisco, CA: 31 (25 males/6 females) from Germany, 2 males from Prussia.
Charleston, SC: 9 (5 males/4 females); Oswego, NY: 3 males; Passamaquoddy, ME: 1 male; San Francisco, CA: 2 males from Prussia, 77 (69 males/8 females) from Germany.
Charleston, SC: 166 (103 males/63 females); La Salle, TX: 56 (32 males/24 females); New Bern, NC: 1 male; Oswego, NY: 5 males; San Francisco, CA: 100 (74 males/26 females) from Germany, 1 male from Prussia.

Surviving records (National Archives Microfilm Publication M575): Edgartown (copies, 1820-1870), Mobile (originals, 1820-1879; copies, 1849-1852, not microfilmed), Passamaquoddy (copies, 1820-1859).

Records apparently do not survive for the following ports: Charleston, SC; La Salle, TX; New Bern, NC; Oswego, NY; Portland & Falmouth, ME; San Francisco, CA; Savannah, GA.
Return to text.

National Archives Microfilm Publication M575, Reel 3, is devoted to the surviving Galveston records. These records have been transcribed in Galveston County Genealogical Society, Ships Passenger Lists, Port of Galveston, Texas, 1846-1871 (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984). Pages 34-51 contain the surviving records for 1850-1852. Return to text.

GTA, vol. 1, p. ix. Return to text.

Walter F. Willcox, ed., International Migrations (New York: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1929), vol. 1, p. 692, Table II. Return to text.

Willcox, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 66, Table IV (taken from the Jahrbuch für Volkswirtschaft und Statistik, 1-5 [Leipzig 1853-1857]), and p. 688 for an explanation of the figures. Figures for 1855 are not available. Return to text.

Willcox, op. cit., vol. 1, pp. 601-602 and 613, Table XI (statistics for Havre); Peter Marschalck, ed., Inventar der Quellen zur Geschichte der Wanderung, besonders der Auswanderung, in Bremer Archiven, Veröffentlichungen aus dem Staatsarchiv der freien Hansestadt Bremen, 53 (Bremen: Staatsarchiv der freien Hansestadt Bremen, 1986), p. 47, Anlage 2 (statistics for Bremen). Return to text.

The ships, taken from the New Orleans Daily Picayune, are: Return to text.

In addition to the Annapolis, Venice, William Nelson, and Peter Marcy, listed in note 25 above: Return to text.

Indirect emigration via Bremen was apparently of little importance and was not recorded (Willcox, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 687). Concerning indirect emigration from ports other than Hamburg, see below, note 31. Return to text.

Parliamentary Papers 1854, XXVIII 1, 14th General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, p. 13. Return to text.

Ibid., Appendix 4, p. 88. Corroboration for the Liverpool number is provided by the report of the Prussian consul at Liverpool to his superiors in Berlin that in 1853 20,000 Germans emigrated through that port (Willcox, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 689). Return to text.

Willcox, op. cit., vol. 1., p. 689. Return to text.

Whatever the case, it is important to note that Hamburg was not the only port of origin for indirect emigration. If it were, the statistics concerning indirect emigration via English ports kept since 1852 by the Hamburg authorities should approximate the numbers of "foreigners" emigrating through Liverpool and London. However, for 1853, a year in which approximately 20,000 Germans emigrated through Liverpool to the United States, the Hamburg authorities list a total of only 10,511 indirect emigrants (Willcox, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 693, Table IIa). The Hamburg figures thus account for just over half the German emigrations via Liverpool, and does not even take into account the number of German emigrations via London; if the number of Germans emigrating through London in that year is estimated at 9,000, the number of German emigrants via England who began their voyage in Hamburg drops to just over 36 percent of the total. Return to text.

1851 and 1852:
Parliamentary Papers 1852-53, XL 65, 13th General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, Appendix 28, p. 104.
Parliamentary Papers 1854, XXVIII 1, 14th General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, Appendix 4, p. 88.
Parliamentary Papers 1854-55, XVII 1, 15th General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, Appendix 3, p. 66.
Parliamentary Papers 1856, XXIV 325, 16th General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, Appendix 4, p. 56.
Return to text.

Parliamentary Papers 1854, XXVIII 1, 14th General Report of the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, Appendix 22, pp. 125-126. Some of the figures are quite difficult to read on the Recordak microprint of the report available at most large university libraries, and a photocopy of the "original" report ordered from the Public Record Office in London has not arrived. However, the numbers are generally accurate, although the final digits may be incorrect. Return to text.

Sheridan, arrived 11 December/manifest dated 12 December 1853 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Reel 134, No. 1249). Return to text.

Silas Greenman, arrived 26 November/manifest dated 28 November 1853 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Reel 134, No. 1205; published in GTA, vol. 6, pp. 115-118); Charles Crooker, arrived 15 December/manifest dated 16 December 1853 (M237, Reel 135, No. 1266; published in GTA, vol. 6, pp. 176-178); Kossuth, arrived 16 January/manifest dated 19 January 1854 (M237, Reel 136, No. 75; published in GTA, vol. 6, pp. 282-285); Princeton, arrived 2 December/manifest dated 3 December 1853 (M237, Reel 134, No. 1229; published in GTA, vol. 6, pp. 124-127). Return to text.

New World, arrived 28 November/manifest dated 28 November 1853 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Reel 134, No. 1204). Return to text.

Washington, arrived 23 October/manifest dated 24 October 1853 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Reel 133, No. 1091). Return to text.

Albert Gallatin, arrived 30 October/manifest dated 31 October 1853 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, Reel 133, No. 1105). Return to text.

Return to text.

In addition to the bark Ernestine, Post, Rebecca, Jno. Lange, British bark Gem, Oldenburg bark Oldenburg, Bremen ship Gustave, Bremen ship Ocean, listed in note 25 above: Return to text.

Ira A. Glazier to Daniel C. Helmstadter, November 23, 1988. The 17 manifests which date from the period 1-19 July (viz., the beginning of the quarter), and the one that dates from 29 September (the end of the quarter) were most probably misfiled among the records of the preceding and following quarter, respectively, either by the customs collector or by the National Archives staff when it accessioned the records. Return to text.

Daniel C. Helmstadter to Kevin Tvedt, December 7, 1988. Return to text.

Tepper, op. cit., p. 65. Return to text.

The first group includes the ships Livonia, Kunigunde, Magdalene, Adelheid, Itzstein & Welcker, Elise, and Leontine, the second the ships Charlotte Read, George F. Patten, India, Josephine, Norma, Columbia, Humboldt, Magdalene, and Wieland, listed in note 39 above. Return to text.

See [note 42]. Return to text.

T. Michael Womack, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale Collection of Western Americana, WA MSS S-1291: Archiv des Vereins zum Schutz Deutscher Einwanderer in Texas (New Haven, Connecticut, 1987), pp. 45-48; for a history of the collection, see pp. 4-6. See also T. Michael Womack, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale Collection of Western Americana, WA MSS S-1316: Friedrich Armand Strubberg Collection (New Haven, Connecticut, 1988), a catalogue of the related Friedrich Armand Strubberg Collection, which contains approximately 40 percent of the files missing from the "Adelsverein" collection. Catalogues for both the Adelsverein Collection and the Strubberg Collection are accessible on the internet. Return to text.

44 U.S.C. § 2112; 28 U.S.C. § 1732 (b). Return to text.

In addition, determining ethnic affiliation on the basis of surname forms alone, if taken to its logical extreme, has the potential to miscarry, excluding large numbers of surnames--"non-German" in form, but born by German nationals--from counting towards any percent requirement for publication in GTA. In Middle Germany (roughly the area of the former German Democratic Republic) Slavic surnames, such as those ending in "-witz", are common, while many people whose origins lie in Northeast Germany (the former Prussian provinces of East and West Prussia and Posen) bear surnames ending in the "Polish" suffix "-ski" or "-sky". In both cases, however, the bearers of these surnames consider themselves unequivocally "German". Likewise, descendants of Huguenots who settled in Germany in the years following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 consider themselves German despite their distinctly "French" surnames. However, a strict interpretation of this selection criterion would exclude all such surnames from being counted towards fulfillment of any percent requirement. Return to text.


This article is copyright © 1990 Michael P. Palmer, but may be republished, in whole, or in part, with proper attribution.

An earlier version of this article was published in German Genealogical Society of America Bulletin, vol. 4, No. 3/4 (May/August 1990), 69, 71-90.

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