Passenger Departure Lists of German Emigrants, 1709-1914
by Friedrich R. Wollmershäuser, 1997
During the 18th century, emigrants usually used transportation on boats or rafts downstream to ports of overseas embarkation (mainly Rotterdam). As a result of the Navigation Act of the seventeenth century, European goods (and immigrants bound for the English colonies had to be transported via England as from 1664. Therefore all such ships had to touch an English port (usually London or Cowes) before leaving for America.
The completion of the German railroad system in the 1840s enabled the emigrants to choose among several competing ports of embarkation. All such choice may have depended upon the passage rates and conditions offered by the travel agent, the experiences that other emigrants had made at a specific port and whether the emigrant left his country illegally (and thus tried to get abroad as quickly as possible by choosing a foreign port).
The contemporary newspapers carried numerous advertisements of travel agents offering their transportation services to overseas ports.
This lecture outlines the passenger lists and supporting records discovered so far, under the relevant ports of embarkation:
Served as a port of embarkation for emigrants from Russia, including Russia-Germans. No information available.
Stettin (today Szczecin, Poland)
This port had very limited importance from 1869 onwards. Passenger lists for the years 1869 to 1898 have been preserved at the Greifswald state archives (Vorpommersches Landesarchiv Greifswald, Rep. 81 no. 28, 29, 30, 31, 251, 319, 397, 406, 458)
Xerox copies of all lists are in the hands of the lecturer and currently being prepared for print.
No emigration lists preserved for the period before 1850. The Staatsarchiv Hamburg (SAHbg) has the following lists for the period after 1850, which were discovered about 1940 in a shed of the port admini
1850-55 passenger lists contain name, often also first name and occupation, place of birth or former residence, name of ship, port of destination, date of departure.
After 1855 passenger lists contain first and last name, age, former place of residence, country or province, occupation, numbers or names of family members, destination, name of ship and of captain, date of departure.
Direct emigration (from Hamburg to an overseas port of destination): 1850-1914 280 vols. and 140 index vols. (SAHbg Auswanderungsamt VIII.A.Nr 1f.).
The lists for 1850-1855 are arranged according to the first letter of the surname, later lists are arranged by ships with a separate index. There is a gap from January to 25 Sep. 1853 (in the lists of direct emigration only).
1871-1887 2 vols. persons who went overseas with other than emigrants' ships (ibid. Nr 3).
1850-1914 3 vols. lists of emigrants' ships leaving Hamburg (ibid. Nr 4).
Indirect emigration (from Hamburg to an English port and then overseas):
1854-1910 122 vols. and 25 index vols. (SAHbg Auswanderungsamt VIII.B.Nr 1f.)
1911-1914 indirect emigrants are found in the lists of direct emigrants.
1905-1907 lists of returning Jewish emigrants (SAHbg Auswanderungsamt VIII.C. Nr 1).
Marriages of emigrants:
1850-1853, 1857-1865 certificates of marriages performed before the US consul at Hamburg, usually amoung emigrants who could not get a marriage license at home (for details, see Clifford Neal Smith, Encyclopedia of German-American Genealogical Research, New York: R. R. Bowker 1976, p. 197).
Indexes to these lists:
(1) the regular indexes from 1855 on only run by the first letter of the surname and are hard to use.
(2) an incomplete card index to the years 1856-1871, compiled by a group of Latter Day Saints volunteers in 1969. It is unknown how complete this index is.
(3) the card index to the direct lists 1850-1870 and the indirect lists 1850-1867, compiled during the last few decades by the Hamburg genealogist Karl Werner Klüber. This index is kept at the Staatsarchiv Hamburg (address below) and copies are on microfilm through the Family History Library.
(4) The indexes to the Germans to America book series which includes passenger arrivals of ships from Hamburg.
The original passenger lists and the original indexes are not available for public use any more. They have been microfilmed, and there are several ways to obtain access to these films:
(1) The films may be checked at the Staatsarchiv Hamburg, ABC-Straße 19A, 20354 Hamburg, West Germany (advance registration necessary).
(2) The films may be checked in the branch libraries of the Latter Day Saints church.
(3) The Historic Emigration Office does not exist any longer.
Index (2) seems to be available only through the Latter Day Saints libraries, index (3) only at the Staatsarchiv Hamburg.
Erika Suchan-Galow, 'Hamburger Quellen zur Auswandererforschung'. Deutsches Archiv für Landes- und Volksforschung 7(1943) 90-98 (Hamburg as a port of embarkation, survey of available sources).
Karl-Werner Klüber, 'Die Hamburger Schiffslisten'. Archiv für Sippenforschung 0(1964) 386-390 (and other articles by the same author with a description of the Hamburg passenger lists and name-lists of passengers).
Karl-Egbert Schultze, 'Zur Bearbeitung der Hamburger Auswandererlisten, insbesondere: kann man sie drucken?'. Zeitschrift für niedersächsische Familienkunde 41(1966) 7-9 (thoughts on the feasability of publishing these lists).
Karl Werner Klüber, 'Die Hamburger Auswandererlisten (Schiffslisten)'. Mitteilungen der westdeutschen Gesellschaft für Familienkunde 56 (1968) 278-282 (response by K. W. Klüber to Schultze's considerations).
The Genealogical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ed.), The Hamburg Passenger Lists. Salt Lake City 1976 (Hamburg as a port of emigration, description of the lists and their indexes, case studies).
Birgit Gelberg, Auswanderung nach Übersee. Soziale Probleme der Auswandererbeförderung in Hamburg und Bremen von der Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts bis zum ersten Weltkrieg. (Beiträge zur Geschichte Hamburgs 10). Hamburg: Christiansen 1973 (social problems connected with the trans-
portation of emigrants).
'The Hamburg Passenger Lists', The Genealogical Helper 44(1990) 28. Martin A. A. Diestler, 'Some suggestions on tracing emigrants through Hamburg police records', The Palatine Immigrant vol. 14 no. 1 (March, 1989) pp. 16-18.
Partial publications of the Hamburg passenger lists, in chronological order (PILB = William F. Filby (ed.), Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900. Being a Guide to Published Lists of Arrivals in the United States and Canada. (Detroit(MI): Gale 1981). - This list also contains some passenger lists taken from American arrival lists.
1845 to New Orleans see PILB 6127.
1849 ship Deutschland see PILB 3967.
1849-1851 Karl Werner Klüber, 'Deutsche Auswanderung nach Australien
1849-1851'. Genealogie 15(1966) 186-194 (emigrants to Australia, partially from the Hamburg passenger lists).
1849-1855 see PILB 3879 (entries in the Hamburg passenger lists compared with emigration announcements in the gazettes of the Bavarian districts of Oberpfalz and Oberfranken).
1850 see PILB 3948 (emigrants from Thuringia ).
1850 Karl Werner Klüber, 'Badische Auswanderer nach Übersee'. Badische Familienkunde 8(1965) 131-138 (emigrants from Baden).
1850-1851 see PILB 3941 (emigrants from Bavaria).
1850-1851 see PILB 3935 (emigrants from the Prussian Rhine Province).
1850-1852 see PILB 3886 (emigrants from Anhalt and the Prussian districts of Magdeburg and Merseburg).
1850-1855 see PILB 3960 (emigrants from the city of Leipzig).
1850-1875 see PILB 0087 (emigrants from Foehr Island).
1850-1903 see PILB 3914 (emigrants from the city of Dresden).
1850 ship Helena Sloman, see PILB 3921.
1850 Clifford Neal Smith, Reconstructed Passenger Lists for 1850: Hamburg to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile and the United States. (German and Central European Emigration Monograph, 1). McNeal(AZ) 1980, Reprint 1981, 1983 (four parts with 4,074 emigration cases and an analysis of 1,750 places of origin).
1851 idem, Reconstructed Passenger Lists for 1851: Hamburg to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United States, and Venezuela. (German and Central European Emigration Monograph, 2). McNeal(AZ) 1984.
1852 ship Sophie see PILB 2494.
1853-1862 Karl Werner Klüber, 'Auswanderer aus Wesenberg in Mecklenburg anhand der Hamburger Schiffslisten' Mitteldeutsche Familienkunde 14(1983)45-46.
1860 see PILB 3956 (emigrants to New York via Hull and Liverpool).
1868 ship Liebig to Quebec see PILB 2802.
1873-1878 see PILB 2960 (reference to PILB 6920-6925 and a few more names).
1874 ship Schiller see PILB 2969.
1875 ship Cimbria see PILB 0439.
1899 ship Patria see PILB 5183.
Harburg was in the Kingdom of Hanover, across the Elbe river from Hamburg. Transportation of emigrants started 10 April 1851 (see the Karlsruher Zeitung 16 April 1851) but never gained much importance.
Hans-Georg Mercker, Alphabetisches Register der von und über Harburg ausgewanderten Personen von 1841 bis 1884. Typescript 1964, one copy located at the Genealogische Gesellschaft, Sitz Hamburg e. V., Postfach 302042, W-2000 Hamburg 36, Germany (list of emigrants from and through
the port of Harburg, 1841, 1851-54, and returning emigrants).
Emden was in the Kingdom of Hanover, Ostfriesland. Transportation of emigrants never gained importance.
Some passenger lists published for 1855-1857 see PILB 9670.
Due to limited space and to the idea that the emigrants would be lost for their German native country, the Bremen passenger lists were destroyed in 1875, except for the two preceding years, and this procedure was continued until about 1907. The emigration lists from 1905 to May 1914 were preserved. They contained surname and first name of the emigrants, age, number of persons, last residence including country or province, name of ship and country or port of destination. Non-German emigrants were also listed. Passenger lists of ships to England were missing, those of ships to East Asia, Australia, North and South America were incomplete. These lists were taken to the Statistisches Landesamt (Bureau of Statistics) in Bremen in 1931.
In addition, there were police registers from 1898 to 30 July 1914 with the names of German emigrants who traveled in the steerage and by third class. These lists were preserved in the "Nachweisungsbüro für Auswanderer" in Bremen.
8500 emigrants from Westphalia for the years 1898 to 1914 were extracted by three students in 1941. A small part of this material is preserved in Nordrhein-Westfälisches Staatsarchiv Münster, section Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland (VDA), carton 55, 56 and 128.
When doing this work, duplicates of the lists for 1905 to 1914 were discovered in a shed on the Loyd platform of the Bremen main railroad station. An evaluation was begun by the Deutsches Auslands-Institut (DAI), Stuttgart during the summer of 1941. Twenty students were ordered to the Marburg State Archives where one felt safe from air raid ("Liederbücher und Instrumente mitbringen"), and the lists (600 kilograms) were trucked there from Bremen.
The students first extracted all entries but it soon turned out that 80 per cent of the emigrants were Slavs, Hungarians or Jews, so the job was limited to Germans or people of German descent.
At the end of four weeks, only a fifth of the entries had been extracted, mainly for the years 1907-1908 and 1913-1914. The lists and the extracts were taken to the DAI and stored there. The extracts for German emigrants were sorted into the Central Emigration File (now in the
Bundesarchiv Koblenz, R 57 Kartei 1), the others, mainly Eastern European extracts were sorted according to the country of origin and year (now in the Bundesarchiv Koblenz, R 57 Kartei 12) (the address of these archives is Am Wöllershof 12, 5400 Koblenz 1, West Germany. Written inquiries will not be handled, permission for checking these records in person is necessary in advance. In the meantime, these card files were microfilmed by the LDS church).
The lists in Bremen were totally destroyed in an air raid on 6 Oct. 1944. The duplicates in Stuttgart were probably destroyed when the DAI building was hit by bombs on 12 and 19/20 Sep. 1944. Possibly they were stored for safe keeping somewhere in the Württemberg countryside at the end of the war from where they were not recovered.
In 1989, the archives of the Bremen chamber of commerce (Handelskammer) only had very few passenger lists of 1834, 1854, and 1866. The lists for 1920-1923 and 1925-1939 have been returned from GDR in 1988. The chamber of commerce is currently unable answer questions, they may be
able to do so from 1994 onwards.
Bodo Heyne, 'Über bremische Quellen zur Auswanderungsforschung.' Bremisches Jahrbuch 41(1944)358-369 (survey of available passenger lists from 1834 on) (quoted as Heyne).
Gustav Wehner, 'Das Schicksal der Bremer Auswanderer-Listen' Norddeutsche Familienkunde 1(1952) 74-78, 96-98, 113-118 (quoted as Wehner).
Rolf Engelsing, Bremen als Auswandererhafen 1683/1880. Ein Beitrag zur bremischen Wirtschaftsgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts. (Veröffentlichungen aus dem Staatsarchiv der Freien Hansestadt Bremen 29). Bremen: Schünemann 1961 (detailed account on Bremen as a port of emigration).
Peter Marschalck (comp.), Inventar der Quellen zur Geschichte der Wanderungen, besonders der Auswanderung, in Bremer Archiven. (Veröffentlichungen aus dem Staatsarchiv der Freien Hansestadt Bremen 53). Bremen: Staatsarchiv Bremen 1986.
Gunnar Nebelung, 'Auswanderung über Bremerhaven', Genealogie 41(1992) 250.
The following list includes publications of the Bremen lists and of passenger arrival lists for ships coming from Bremen:
- 1826-28 lists of emigrants to Brasil: Staatsarchiv Bremen 2-C.12.e. Published by Peter Marschalck, 'Brasilienauswanderer aus dem SaarHunsrück-Raum in Bremen 1826-1828'. Zeitschrift für die Geschichte der Saargegend 34(1986).
- 1832-1849 Friedrich Spengemann, Die Reisen der Segelfregatten "Isabella" "Pauline" "Meta" und "Uhland" nach Nordamerika. Bremen: Vahland & Co. 1937. (passenger lists from a logbook, indexed in Wehner 75ff.).
- 1834 67 passenger lists of the shipping companies F. D. Lüdering and Westhoff & Meier still existed in 1944 (Heyne p. 363), two of these lists having been published:
- 1834 ship Ferdinand see Heyne p. 368 (76 persons to Baltimore).
- 1834 ship Wallace see Heyne p. 369 (76 persons to New York). All of these lists were stored at a safe place at the end of the war but have not been recovered.
- 1842 ship Friedrich Lucas see PILB 5270.
- 1845 to New Orleans see PILB 6127.
- 1845 to Texas see PILB 2474-2476.
- 1847-1854 Gary J. Zimmerman, Marion Wolfert (eds.), German Immigrants. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1847-1854. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company 1985 (includes only those passengers whose German place of origin is given in the New York passenger arrival lists).
- 1848-1869 (mainly 1850-1855) numerous passenger lists have been published in print in the contemporary paper Allgemeine Auswanderrungs-Zeitung and are currently being published in print by the lecturer (30,060 entries).
- 1848 ship Burgundy (shipwrecked) see PILB 5153.
- 1850 ship Itzstein and Welcker see PILB 3967.
- 1851 ship Reform (and Magnet) to Galveston, see PILB 2514.
- 1854 ship Johann Georg see Alfred Rubarth, 'Auswanderer' Zeitschrift für niederdeutsche Familienkunde 51(1976) 92-93 (26 names).
- 1855-1862 Gary J. Zimmerman, Marion Wolfert (eds.), German Immigrants. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1855-1862. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1986 (continuation to the book mentioned above for 1847-1854).
- 1863-1867 Gary J. Zimmerman, Marion Wolfert (eds.), German Immigrants. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1863-1867. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1988 (continuation to the book mentioned above for 1855-1862).
- 1864 Karen P. Neuforth (ed.), 'Passenger List: The Bark Atalanta Bremen to New York, 1864' Omnibus 11(1990) 692ff.
- 1875-1876 see PILB 2966.
- 1875 ship Ohio see PILB 2969.
- 1876 ship Mosel see PILB 2971.
- 1882 ship Salier see PILB 6206.
- 1886 Hans Arnold Plöhn, 'Im Februar 1886 nach New York ausgereiste Personen' Zeitschrift für niederdeutsche Familienkunde 54(1979) 73-74 (emigrants on the steamer Ems to New York, 20 Feb. 1886).
Although the actual passenger lists are lost, the Bremen state archives has records about the births, marriages and death on board of Bremen ships from 1834 to 1939, and questions about a certain ship and the passage can usually be answered, often even a picture of the ship is available. (Staatsarchiv Bremen, Am Staatsarchiv 1, 28203 Bremen, Germany).
Apparently many German emigrants took the train from Hull to Liverpool and embarked there to continue their journey at the cheap British fares. No passenger lists have been preserved for Liverpool before 1890, probably none for England before that year at all. To have a search done in the Passenger Lists Outwards, it is necessary to know the name of the ship, the year and month of departure, and the port from which the ship sailed. Presumably a search in the Passenger Lists Inwards requires similar data. These records are open to public search at the Public Record Office (Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU).
'From the Old World to the New. The Half-Way House to the West.' The Liverpool Review, 5 and 12 May 1888 (observations on emigrants' housing and transportation in Liverpool).
Public Record Office, Lists and Indexes Supplementary Series No. IX, Board of Trade Records to 1913, London: 1964.
Known to have been a port of embarkation for Russia-Germans in 1879, 1905 and 1911. No additional information available.
According to a letter from Gemeentearchief Amsterdam, 18 Jan. 1987, there are no passenger lists in the Archives of the Waterschout (Port Administration). No passenger lists have been found at all, and it is doubtful whether any were kept at all.
Rotterdam is at the mouth of the Rhine river and was thus the main port of embarkation during the 18th century. Only the passenger arrival lists for the port of Philadelphia have been preserved for the years 1727 to 1808. These were edited by Strassburger and Hinke.
The available passenger lists of the mass emigration of 1709 have been published:
Walter Allen Knittle, Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration. Philadelphia 1927, Reprints Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company 1965, 1970 (pp. 243-282 include the Rotterdam sailing lists of 1709, the London Census of the Palatines of 1709, not in the original order
and with some errors).
Lou D. MacWeathy, The Book of Names (etc.), St. Johnsville(N.Y.) 1933, Reprint Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company 1969 (pp. 75-111 the London Census of the Palatines of 1709, with some errors).
Henry Z. Jones, John P. Dern, 'Palatine Emigrants Returning in 1710'.
Karl Scherer (ed.), Pfälzer-Palatines. .Kaiserslautern: Heimatstelle Pfalz 1981, 52-77 (lists of passengers who returned from London to Rotterdam in 1710).
Henry Z Jones, jr., The Palatine Families of New York. A Study of the German Immigrants Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710. 2 vols. Universal City(CA): privately published by the author, 1985 (this is not a publication of the passenger lists, but an extensive investigation on those emigrants who later settled in colonial New York and New Jersey).
John P. Dern, London Churchbooks and the German Emigration of 1709. Die deutsche Auswanderung von 1709 in den Londoner Kirchenbüchern. (Schriften zur Wanderungsgeschichte der Pfälzer 26). Kaiserslautern: Heimatstelle Pfalz 1968 (listed here as it pertains to the 1709 emigration).
According to a letter from Gemeente Rotterdam, Archiefdienst (Robert Fruinstraat 52, 3021 XE Rotterdam, Netherlands), 18 Jan. 1987, the Archives of the Waterschout were destroyed in the Second World War, including the passenger lists. The archives of the Holland-Amerika Lijn shipping company contain "passagestaten" and "passagiers-registers" from 1900 on, these passenger
lists contain many Germans.
G. Kurgan, E. Spelkens, Two Studies on Emigration through Antwerp to the New World. Brussels: Center for American Studies 1976 (contains an essay by G. Kurgan-van Hententryk on Belgian emigration to the United States and other overseas countries at the beginning of the twentieth century, and a statistical investigation by E. Spelkels on Antwerp as a port of emigration 1843-1913).
Only the embarkation lists of 1855 have survived and been published: Charles M. Hall (ed.), The Antwerp emigration index. Salt Lake City: Heritage International (n.y.)(name, age, place of origin, name of ship and place where passport was issued for about 5.100 emigrants, many of them from Germany).
Registers for other years were destroyed by German troops in 1914. The Ludwigsburg State Archives preserves a list of Württemberg emigrants on the ship Vaterlands-Liebe, leaving Antwerp for Philadelphia in May 1817 (Staatsarchiv Ludwigsburg D 41, Büschel 4408, reproduced in Günter
Moltmann (ed.), Aufbruch nach Amerika. Tübingen: Wunderlich 1979, 263-268).
Additional records in the City Archives of Antwerp have been checked for names of German emigrants: hotel registers 1801-1821 and 1858-1887 (MA2641, MA2645, MA2669, MA2672), lists of emigres 1793-1815 (MA447/1, MA450/1), sojourn registers 1840-1871 (MA2670/1-12, MA2671/1), general records on German emigrants 1850-1856 (MA674/1), passport and visa registers 1798-1857 (MA2643, MA2643, MA2644), passenger arrivals from Rotterdam and London 1843-1844 (MA2636). Most of these lists are incomplete, none contains German emigrants in transit.
The port of LeHavre was mainly used by emigrants from southern Germany during the period from about 1830 to 1870.
Jean Braunstein, ' L'emigration allemande par le port du Havre au XIXe siecle.' Annales de Normandie 34(1984) 95-104 (statistical evaluation of the available data).
The passenger lists are kept at the Archives D‚ partementales de la Seine Maritime, Cours Clemenceau, 76036 Rouen Cedex, France (6 P 6 no. 1-600 for 1750-1898, also for later years) and give name, description and destination of the ship (mostly to French colonies), name, sometimes age and occupation of the passengers, their place of birth or residence (or the place where their passport was issued), and the names or numbers of family members.
These lists were delivered by the captains when they returned to Le Havre, which may have been one or two years after their departure. They are filed by the date of delivery and therefore hard to locate. Only passenger lists for French ships were delivered, and therefore these lists only cover a small part of the emigrants through this port! A card index to about 40.000 passenger entries was discovered in the 1980s and thus saved from destruction.
For details one may write to Cercle Genealogique et Heraldique de Normandie, 17 rue Louis Malliot, 76000 Rouen, France (without any guarantee to get an answer).
The civil registration (Etat civil) registers do not contain entries on German emigrants who were married or had a child born in LeHavre. Entries of this kind might be found in the registers oæ the churches (mainly of the Saint Francois Church). The marriages from 1867 to 1870 have been published:
Jean-Paul and Elisabeth Portelette (eds.), 'La Chapelle des Allemands du Havre'. Revue genealogique normande no.17(1986) 11-14 (list of 148 marriages, not giving the places of origin, which are not also given in the original records, Archives Departementales de la Seine Maritime,
I J 368).
The names of 3987 satisfied and a few disappointed passengers from 1848 to 1855, mainly 1850 to 1854, will be published by the lecturer under the title Vielen Dank, Herr Bielefeld.
Sources replacing the passenger lists of various ports
- Lists of emigrants signing a letter of thanks to the travel agent for his good services. These lists were then published by the agent for advertising purposes. Lists of this type are found in many German newspapers of the 1850s and sometimes 1860s.
- Ship passenger lists published in the Allgemeine Auswanderungs-Zeitung (printed in Rudolstadt 1846-1871). Two lists of this type (for the ships Itzstein & Welcker leaving Bremen for New Orleans, and Helena Sloman, Hamburg to New York, both in 1850) were published by Karl Werner Klüber (see PILB 3967 and 3921).
Clues (a magazine of the American Historical Society of Germans From Russia) regularly publishes lists of Russia-German passengers to US-American and Canadian ports.
The remaining passenger arrival lists of the US-American ports from 1850 onwards are being published in the following book series: Ira A. Glazier, P. William Filby (eds.), Germans to America. Lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports[, 1850-1855]. vol. 1ff. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources 1988ff. and continued.
Michael Palmer, 'Published Passenger Lists: A review of German Immigrants and Germans to America'. German Genealogical Society of America Bulletin vol. 4 (1990) pp. 69, 71-90 (and not continued) (a very detailed account on the available US arrival lists and the completeness and quality of their publication).
Thanks to Ms. Sheilagh C. Ogilvie for proofreading and corrections.