Prof. Dr. Antonius Holtmann, Universität Oldenburg, Germany

Once again: Germans to America is not to be trusted ...

On March 30, 1857, Jacob Damschen, of Minden on the Weser, announced that he would be on his way to Bremen and Bremerhaven, with his wife and five children, and they would then cross the Atlantic to America.

I did not find his name in Germans to America (Germans to America, Vol. 9-13. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources 1989-90) on the lists that cover April and May, 1857. Had a list been overlooked? The microfilm of the National Archives with the New York lists also does not contain these names in the corresponding period of time. However, I found them on the Baltimore microfilm. Also, I leamed that Germans to America does not include these lists at all.

Germans to America, Vols. 9-13 contains none of the lists of ships that arrived in Baltimore between August 4, 1856 and January 17, 1860. However, they may be seen on Rolls 11 and 12 (National Archives Microfilm Publications M 225: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore.) There are lists of 79 ships from Bremen/Bremerhaven with around 10,000 emigrants from Germany on board, most of them registered with their places of origin. The lists not overlooked by Glazier/Filby are „City Lists“. I hypothesize that only the lists kept at the National Archives were used for Germans to America, leaving out the microfilmed collection made some years earlier. Ira A. Glazier and William P. Filby have neglected to compare their lists with the lists stored on microfilm. Thus, they even left out the only „City List“ that is to be found on the microfilms in the time period from January 1, 1850 up until August 4, 1854: that of the sailing ship „Minerva“, which, coming from Bremen, landed in Baltimore. The basketmaker Christian Mueller, 18 years old, for example, from Kleinschmalkalden, disappears into the depths in Glazier/Filby on his way to „Phensilpanien“, as does the maidservant Rosalie Schnitzer from Hoehndorf, 24 years old, who wanted to go to „Marieland“.

Each entry in Germans to America must be checked against the microfilm, and whoever finds no entries in Germans to America has a chance of finding them on the microfilms. I found Jakob Damschen and his family on a Baltimore list, although Glazier/Filby had not recorded them in their volumes. I do not trust Germans to America.

Glazier/Filby make it difficult for historians and genealogists: This basically helpful name index is at the same time an annoying burden, because each and every one frequently has to examine the film rolls, which require some effort to obtain. This applies especially to the emigrants who came through Bremen to America. Here, unlike the situation in Hamburg, the ship registrations have not been kept.

In the preceding „Baltimore“ situation, there remains the possibility of looking through the following microfilm collections in the National Archives.

Once again: Ira A. Glazier and William P. Filby allow about 10,000 German emigrants to disappear in volumes 9-13 of Germans to America. I can not rule out the possibility that Glazier/Filby, from January 1860 on, lack Baltimore lists („City Lists“) that can be found on the microfilms of the National Archives.

I can not be silent about a comical chance error:
Most of the passengers on the bark Johannes Kepler (October 28, 1865, Bremen-New York, M 237, Roll 258; Glazier/Filby 16, 42ff) lose not only their places of origin. Glazier/Filby allow 219 people to sail back to the place whence they came from, with „Destination“ given as Prussia, Hannover, Hessen and Baden. Only 60 travelers are marked as having an „unknown“ destination, and three citizens of the USA are traveling to the USA Routinely and without thinking, the phrase „Country Claiming Allegiance“ became known as „Destination“.

Volume 59 is also not to be trusted.

Volume 59 (Glazier/Filby: Germans to America Volume 59. Wilmington/Delaware: Scholarly Resources 1998) covers the time frame from May 1, 1890 up to November 28, 1890 (pp. 1-419).

I have searched the time from August 22 up until November 28 (pp. 239-419) found on the microfilm rolls of the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (National Archives Microfilm Publications).

Glazier/Filby have taken in consideration 125 passenger lists with names of German emigrants, on ships that arrived in New York (M 237, Rolls 554-559), but 42 were not included in this compilation. Of these 42 lists, 24 belong to ships that left German ports, and three belong to ships that left Stettin. Nineteen of these passenger lists contain the places of origin of the travelers. („Hailing Place or Place of Starting“).

Thirty-eight of the lists considered give the places of origin. None of these lists is reproduced correctly. At least 20-60% of the travelers „lose“ their places of origin.

Twenty-two ships with German passengers arriving in Baltimore from August 22 up until November 28, 1890 are registered with their lists on Roll 48 (M 255) of the National Archives. Only eleven of these were taken in consideration in Germans to America (Volume 59). Four of these „forgotten“ ships came from Liverpool, 4 from Bremen and 3 from Hamburg, the last-mentioned with passenger lists containing the places of origin.

Film Roll 74 of the National Archives (M 259) documents four lists with 36 passengers from Germany arriving in New Orleans during the aforesaid time period. Germans to America (Volume 59) „suppresses“ them.

Glazier/Filby make full use of lists of ships from Liverpool and Glasgow, London and Hull, that docked in New York or Baltimore. However, the port city of Boston remains neglected. Twenty-three of the ships coming from England with 141 German passengers on board dropped anchor there between August 22 and November 28, 1890. Neither the ships nor the passengers appear in Glazier/Filby, although practically all lists contain statements of the travelers as to their nationality. (M 277, Roll 112/113).

The corresponding roll for Philadelphia, T 840, Roll 14, is not a my disposal. It goes from July 6, 1890 to April 22, April 1891. I consider it unlikely that no Germans landed here during this time period. Glazier/Filby make full use of 136 lists of ships with Germans on board, who reached New York and Baltimore, New Orleans and Boston between August 22 and November 28, 1890. They did not make full use of 80 lists. 37% of which designated Germans.

Thus, it must once more be pointed out:

Whoever finds included the Glazier/Filby lists, repeatedly, the origin codes „000“ or „ZZZ“ („unknows village“) can assume that the places of origin for these emigrants are on the microfilms. I have already stumbled across 5 lists that shows the origin of all passengers, whereas Germans to America gives not a single place of origin:

Whenever, of the microfilm lists of ships which came from Hamburg, one finds as origin only „Deutschland“/„Germany“ or one of the German states (for example, „Preussen“/„Prussia“) one can, as a rule, find the origin with aid of the Hamburg registrations (1850-1934), which are also available on microfilm. Help in searching is available from:

The Historic Emigration Office
Elizabeth Sroka
Postfach 1012249
Steinstr. 720095 Hamburg
Internet:   http://www.heo-online.de
E-Mail:   esrokaheo@aol.com

Tel.: +49(0)40-30051282
Fax: +49(0)40-30051220

Germans who emigrated from Russia or Austria to the USA are not taken in consideration in Germans to America, but included are „Germans“ who emigrated from Switzerland or France.

We must make these charges to their account: Who does not have a successful find in German to America must make use of the microfilm indexes for New York (1820-1846) and Baltimore (1820-1897), for New Orleans (1853-1899) and Boston (1848-1891) and Philadelphia (1800-1906) and, naturally, the microfilm index to the lists of ships which arrived in „Atlantic, Gulf and Great Lakes Ports“ (1820-1874), and, above all, of the many, many microfilm lists vor New York, for the period 1846-1897. Ships can be overlooked and places of origin can disappear as nameless, unknown places (000, ZZZ). Quite certainly, Volumes 1-38 of Germans to America have persons who died at sea going on land, in so far as one believes them.

First published in: The Palatine Immigrant 24 (1998) 1, 21 - 24

Research Center German Emigrants in the USA: DAUSA * Prof.(pens.) Dr. Antonius Holtmann Brüderstraße 21 a -26188 Edewecht - Friedrichsfehn *Kontakt: antonius.holtmann@ewetel.net