GERMANS TO AMERICA --
50 VOLUMES THAT ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED

(A review of Germans to America. Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports. by Ira A. Glazier/William P. Filby. Volumes 1-50 (Jan. 2, 1850-Nov. 29, 1884). Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources Inc., 1988-1996.)

Prof. Dr. Antonius Holtmann, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Postfach 25 03, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany holtmann@hrz1.uni-oldenburg.de

(First published in: The Palatine Immigrant 22(1997)2, 80-87)

The dead go ashore, travelers disappear, ships do not show up, towns remain unknown . . .
Historians and genealogists are promised, in the introduction, an extensive body of data that supposedly should make a detailed reconstruction of these migration movements possible. With this edition, supposedly, "researchers [are] in a position . . . to study this migration micro-historically, to follow individuals and families from their places of origin to their destinations, and to concentrate on their personal conditions . . . Scholars are now able . . . to give this mass movement a more human dimension." Ira A. Glazier attests to the diligence and conscientiousness of the co-workers of the Temple-Balch Institute's Center for Immigration Research in Philadelphia.
None of that proves to be true. The renowned scholar would have done better to remain silent.

The Dead Go Ashore and Other Impossibilities

In letters from February and March 1854, August Dreseler and Carl Sieveking portrayed for their parents in Herford the terrible conditions on the "New England" and reported 65 deaths by Nov. 16 and 110 deaths by their arrival in New Orleans on Dec. 27.
The passenger list, which Captain Isaac Orr turned over to the port officials in New Orleans on Dec. 27, 1853, contains the names of the 380 survivors, but also a "list of passengers who died during the voyage" with 64 names (National Archives Microfilm Publications (NAMP), M 259, R 37: "New England," 27 Dec. 1853, Bremen-New Orleans). Glazier/Filby, though, book these 64 people as immigrants: they let the dead go ashore (Glazier/Filby (GF), 6, 211-214). They maintain this habit until Volume 38. ("Information about cases of death is not contained in these volumes."): "Immigrants" disappear without a trace, and genealogists are set off on the wrong track and entangled in senseless exertions.
Glazier/Filby make more unreasonable demands on genealogists and social scientists. We do not find out who, already possessing American citizenship, has merely returned to the USA from a visit. "Americans" with German citizenship (still) are retained for us, if the nationality was (also) noted.
But someone who, for example, is registered only under "Cincinnati," because agents, captains, or US officials were not interested in nationality, is not a German from America for Glazier/Filby; he is not mentioned to the readers. Whoever immigrated via Galveston, TX, and other smaller ports or whoever immigrated via the Great Lakes certainly is not going to show up, nor those who emigrated between 1850 and 1855 on ships that transported fewer than 80% Germans; a ludicrous proposition - the scholars' fear of big numbers?
Now who all are the Germans who are taken into consideration as of 1856? "Only those who called themselves 'German"'? Germans from Luxembourg, Switzerland, and France are included; why not Germans from Austria-Hungary and Russia? Why not at least German Austrians up to 1866 (the year of Austria's forced exit from the German Federation), and in any case Germans from Alsace-Lorraine as of 1871 (reunion with Germany)? Citizenship would have been a plausible principle to use, but nationality (ethnicity) as well for Southeastern and Eastern Europe, considering how many of the German-Americans define themselves if their ancestral ties are with Bohemia and Transylvania, Ukraine and the Volga region. Why is Louise Riegelmann from Vienna in Austria eliminated, but Niclaus Walter with wife Anna and children Rosa and Emma from Mühledorf in Switzerland included? Marcus Schankstaedt from Wilna (Russia) vanishes, while Debora Blondiaux from Walineoit (Northern France) remains. Glazier/Filby cannot know if she presented herself as a German and whether she boarded in Hamburg or LeHavre. We only know that Glazier/Filby eliminated a person from Russia with a German name, but recognized a person from France with a French name to be a German. Once again: why are Germans from France and Switzerland accepted, but Germans from Austria and Russia rejected? (NAMP, M 237, R 482: "Westphalia," 22 Nov. 1884, Hamburg/LeHavre-New York; GF 50, 413-14).
One can argue against the exclusions and abbreviations with good reasons, but unequivocal meaning must be insisted upon here. Therefore, there is no excuse for an inadequate codification of towns of origin. Glazier/Filby commit the mortal sin of any data handling: they assign one and the same code multiple times. In Volumes 1-3, "OOO" stands for Obermoellrich (o, zero, zero), in Volumes 4-7 for Oberdorf (o, zero, o) too, and in Volumes 8 and 9 Oberhof (zero, zero, o) is added as well. This practice becomes truly annoying through the fact that especially lists and names that give no locations are coded, in regard to places of origin, with "OOO" (zero, zero, zero = unknown town); X-thousand from Obermoellrich? This "OOO" (from Vol. 25 on marked ZZZ) changes carelessness into deceit - from Volume 1-50 also, when villages are included in the original list. Glazier/Filby cannot read them or do not want to read them, or they do not know how to locate all these villages; but they do not give this deviation from the original any code of its own, and there is also nothing in the introduction about these manipulations. Many users of this edition must then give up their search if they trust these scholars, by whom they are carelessly led astray.
From Volumes 10-24 Obermoellrich, Oberdorf, and Oberhof are no longer in the list of village codes. From Volume 45 on, though, 116 other towns and states have to share a code, for example Heinrichswalde shares with Bergzabern, Metz with Indiana, Milwaukee with Relzow, Hellsheim with Marienberg, Winnweiler with Washington.

For example: "Marianne"(1854) and "New York" (1863)

Aboard the "Marianne" there are 191 passengers, each with his or her town of origin. In Glazier/Filby 82 of 166 recognized Germans lost it.
There they let Bielefeld and Schencklengsfeld disappear, Schroek and Altona, Schwarzenhasel and Westerbuchau, Schützingen, Glashütte, Marburg, and Varendorf (Warendorf)--towns that are just as neatly written as Crainfeld and Mühlhausen, Ulmbach and Freckenhorst, which they register. The self-assuredness of Glazier/Filby is unbroken: what they do not know, do not want to read, or cannot read in the case of place names, unlike with names of persons, does not even get generalized to "illegible." Quite naively generalized, it becomes "unknown village," i.e., no village listed. And that is an untruth, because for every person on the ship's list the place of origin is given.
The list of the "New York" shows the debacle of this edition. Here, too, all the passengers have their towns of origin in the original, some of them their state of origin, but nobody merely "Germany." Registered are 400 persons. Glazier/Filby quietly eliminate 101 non-Germans. And of the remaining 299, 235 lose their place of origin. Simmern and Benrath are decoded, but not Marl and Tübingen. Newhaven and Springfield become "known" towns in Germany, and London and Switzerland "unknown" German communities. The city Baden-Baden turns into the state Baden, and the city Meiningen becomes SaxonyMeiningen. We do not learn where "First Cabin Lower Saloon" starts and where the "Lower Deck" begins. We do not learn the percentage of foreigners, above all German-Americans, amongst the voyagers in the three classes. L. Dumont from France is deemed a German, travelers from Bohemia are deemed, already before 1866, "non-Germans": Gustav Heller and Elisabeth Klinisch and Joseph and Marie Wirth and Marie and John Perina. Ferd. Fritsch from Austrian Bregenz remains German as "Ferd. Iritsch" [sic] from an "unknown town." Agst. Schöft of Vienna is dropped. (NAMP, M 255, R 10: "Marianne," 26 April 1854, Bremerhaven-Baltimore; GF 6, 449-451. - NAMP, M 237, R 235: "New York," 28 Oct. 1863, Bremen-New York; GF 15, 118-120).

For Example: "Main" (1869) and "Pollux" (1882)

Whoever deciphered the neatly written passenger list of the steamer "Main" - the printed result is both a tragedy and a farce. Tübingen, Einsiedel, and Holtenau disappear as "unknown" cities in Germany, while Göttingen, Heiligenstadt, and Stolzenau find clemency. Papenburg is assigned to Germany, but not Westerrauderfehn (Westrhauderfehn), 10 km to the northeast: the town is situated as "unknown" in an "unknown" country. The Rhine Province is expanded to Germany, and Hockenheim sinks away as "unknown place" in Baden. Travelers from Bohemia and Vienna are eliminated from the list as non-Germans; Swiss, though, are accepted but handled quite haphazardly: Chur and Basel become "unknown" cities in Switzerland, Zürich becomes a "known" city in Germany; St. Gallen, which exists in Switzerland and Austria, becomes German; Menzingen, a Swiss but also a German town, is slapped down only in Switzerland and as "unknown." Randersacker is a well known town in Lower Franconia near Würzburg, Bavaria--especially by wine connoisseurs; for Glazier/Filby, though, it is German, although indeed "unknown." (NAMP, M 237, R 311: "Main," 31 May 1869, Bremerhaven-New York; GF 22, 475-479).
In Volume 42 (1882) nothing has changed. Of 669 passengers on the "Pollux," Glazier/Filby did not take 213 Dutch into consideration. On the list are 456 Germans. In the original they all have their towns of origin; in Glazier/Filby 147 of them lose it: "ZZZ" = "unknown village."
The search for passengers from Holzleuten and Dunningen, Bersede and Heimsen, Wehlen and Oerlingshausen, Freren and Wiesloch, Battenheim and Ihrhove remains futile.
The Frey family from Ihrhove is robbed of its place of origin by Glazier/Filby, but also wrenched apart nationally and familiarly: they let the 3-year old Goeke and the 1-month old Reka travel alone with their mother Steintje, while father Hayo and sons Harm, Hendrik, and Jan, and daughter Mettje disappear from the list as supposed Dutch; in the original on p.l9, Ihrhove is incorrectly assigned to The Netherlands, and Glazier/Filby go right along unconcernedly with this grave mistake: another four passengers from Ihrhove become Dutch, thus do not belong to the "Germans to America," nor do the 16 emigrants from the East Frisian (i.e., German) communities of Ditzum, Pogum, and Landschaftspolder. Whoever seeks, for example, Swaantje Vos, Aaltje Peters, and Evert Otter does not find them in Glazier/Filby--but indeed in the original. (NAMP, M 237, R 448: "Pollux," 7 April 1882, Amsterdam-New York; GF 42, 81-84)

Volume 50--and Nothing Has Changed

On Nov. 22, 1884, the "Westphalia" from Hamburg and LeHavre arrives in New York. The list registers 341 passengers; Glazier/Filby consider 157 of them; 63 lose their town of origin: e.g., Martha Ackermann from Pfieffe by Eschwege, Christ. Hamann from Rosenhof in Pomerania, Leonhard Hofmann of Gerabrunn (Gerabronn) in Württemberg, the seven-member family Aster from Prenzlau near Berlin, and Wilhelmine Friemel from Schönau, a placename for at least 30 localities in Germany - unknown towns? Glazier/Filby let Carl Berg from Duwitz (Dussvitz?) in Prussia journey to America, but not his wife Johanne; she is overlooked. The same happens to Catharina Wolf from Hamburg, Georg Graulich from Lauterbach in Hesse, and Mathilde Levinsohn from Schieselbein in Prussia (Schippenbeil, East Prussia?). They should not have been classified among foreigners in the register. . . (NAMP, M237, R 482: "Westphalia," 22 Nov. 1884, Hamburg-New York; GF 50,431f.).
The steamer "Moravia" arrives in New York on Nov. 14, 1884, with 755 passengers. Glazier/Filby recognize 453 Germans, from 279 of whom the place of origin is deleted. These are mostly emigrants from Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Pomerania, and East Prussia, whose American descendants have had unrestricted access to these regions in Russia and Poland and in the former East German States only since 1989. Whoever looks for Heinrich Wüstenberg should not be satisfied with just Mecklenburg; on the original the place of origin is Uelitz. And Josef Spiralsky came from Friedheim in Brandenburg, Paul Bottke from Schneidemühl in West Prussia (now Polish Pila), and Carl Grabowsky from Insterburg in East Prussia (now Russian Cemjahovsk). But also the West German Ernst Schopf is left merely in Württemberg; the original offers the place of origin Grosssachsenheim as well, a good 10 km north of Stuttgart. (NAMP, M 237, R 481: "Moravia," Hamburg-New York, 14 Nov. 1884; GF 50, 387-390).
North German Lloyd's "Main" casts anchor in New York on Nov. 20, 1884. It has 521 passengers on board. Glazier/Filby take 417 into consideration, 207 of whom lose their place of origin. The editors see to it that there are further irritations in this list. Some small towns are transferred into other states. But shouldn't these American Germany experts have noticed the plunder when they made Bremen Bavarian, Stuttgart Prussian, and Heidelberg Saxon? When geographical precision matters, as it does in the search for places of origin, Glazier/Filby can really let you down. (NAMP, M 237, R 482: "Main," Bremen-New York, 29 Nov. 1884; GF 50, 422-425).
On Oct. 24, 1884, on the high seas, the steamer "Rhein" took on board passengers and crew of the burning "Maasdam." Nothing about that in Glazier/Filby. They do mention, however, the "Ship Rhein & Maasdam." The new arrivals are not reported as such, and the officers and crew of the "Maasdam" (with mostly Dutch names), who are on a separate list in the original, become passengers with an unknown origin and with the US as a destination--while the real Dutch passengers of the "Maasdam" are simply eliminated by Glazier/Filby. (NAMP, M 237, R 481: "Rhein" and "Maasdam," 31 Oct. 1884, Bremen-New York; GF 50, 345-349).
The "Werra" brings 1102 people to New York on Sept.20, 1884. Glazier/Filby register 666. They let 508 of them follow Pawel Czallak from Hersfeld in a mass exodus: they allegedly all come from his place of origin, including Hermann Bartels from Thuringia, Johann Blendermann from Oldenburg, and Barbara Müller from Baden and, and, and. . . (NAMP, M 237, R 480: "Werra," 20 Sept. 1884, Bremen-New York; GF 50, 217-222).
Once again, the computer ran amuck. Of 501 of the "Habsburg's" passengers included (703 were on the ship), 439 become followers of August Zülsdorf of Warzin, who wants to go to Wisconsin, but who, according to Glazier/Filby, comes from the Prussian city Wisconsin! The same happens as well to Johann Büsing from Brake and Emilie Wachs from Leipzig and Caroline Bahr from Aschwaren and, and, and. . . (NAMP, M 237, R 481: "Habsburg," 27 Oct. 1884, Bremen-New York; GF 50, 329-333).
The 338 (of 532) passengers on the steamer "Ems," all considered to be German, lose their places of origin: throughout they are assigned the code "GRZZZ." From Alsheim to Windheim, all become unknown towns in Germany. (NAMP, M 237, R 481:"Ems," 10 Nov. 1884, Bremen-New York; GF 50, 375-378). Already in Volume 2 the editors managed to rob all but 12 of 183 passengers on the "Diana" of their places of origin. (NAMP, M 259, R 34: "Diana," 25 May 1851, Bremen-New Orleans; GF 2, 1-2).

Excerpt from the passenger list of the "Diana," Bremen - New Orleans, 25 May 1851, and from the corresponding Glazier/Filby version of this list. August Mueller keeps his place of origin; the others (East Frisians), from Filsum to Burden (Bühren) lose theirs

. And some ships do not even show up in Glazier/Filby: 1850, e.g., the "Columbia;" 1852, e.g., the "Goethe;" and 1854, e.g., the "O.Thyen" (NAMP, M 237, R 90: "Columbia," 13 July 1850, Bremen-New York; NAMP, M 255, R 9: "Goethe," 27 Sept. 1852, Bremen - Baltimore). NAMP, M 259, R40: "O. Thyen," 8. Nov. 1854, Bremen - New Orleans).

What Remains?

A sufficiently correct index of names as preliminary access to the passenger lists on microfilm at the National Archives, even if lapses occur such as a Johann Schnaecker turned into Johann Schuhmacher (NAMP, M 237, R 373: "Saxonia," 17 April 1873, Hamburg-New York; GF 29, 152-157), or when real old Brandenburg nobility, as in the case of Wilhelm von Quitzo(w) from Rostock, is demoted to plain bourgeois: Wilhelm Vonomitzo from Hesse (NAMP, M 259, R 37: "Copernicus," 18 Nov. 1852, Hamburg-New Orleans; GF 4, 176177).
No entry can be trusted: the dead arrive in America, travelers are missing, ships are missing, towns are missing--these most of all. Users are thoroughly led astray, while the pretense of thorough scholarly work is upheld. Whoever finds a name should be happy-and then double-check all data in the original. Whoever finds nothing should not give up, but rather work with the originals, since they could share light on, e.g., Hayo Frey from Ihrhove in East Frisia with his children Harm, Hendrik, Jan, and Mettje, who were turned into "Dutch" by Glazier/Filby.
If one does not believe his eyes upon stumbling across the Radfahrer ("bicycle rider") John Reger in Glazier/Filby, one should trust the original: there we find a "butcher" instead. The two-wheeler was actually first invented in France in 1867. . . (NAMP, M 255, R 9: "Harvest," 3 June 1853, Bremen-Baltimore; GF 5, 45-47). Could it be a wink and a nudge from a student assistant that with Glazier/Filby nothing is impossible?

Suggestions

What does the Glazier/Filby team need?

What do users of the edition "Germans to America" need?
Patience, a sense of humor - and access to all originals on microfilm: e.g., in Washington, Fort Wayne, Salt Lake City (obtainable in the USA and in Germany through the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints).
Or they can be found in Oldenburg, where the University Library has the passenger lists from 1820-1897 on microfilm (Mediothek, Phone: 0441-798-3194), and where the Research Institute "Lower Saxony Emigrants to the USA" can give assistance with searches.
A hint to help everyone out of possible jams: The places of origin should no longer be coded, but rather printed as they are written in the originals. Variations and corrections belong in the footnotes. That would help toward an acceptable scholarly edition, and the deceptions would, for the most part, be eliminated.

This article appeared previously (in German) in Genealogie, Heft 9-10/1996. We thank the author and the publisher, Verlag Degener, for permission to publish. We also extend thanks for the translation, which was provided by James P. Ziegler, with review by the author and Dr. Eberhard Reichmann, Max Kade GermanAmerican Center, Indiana Univ. - Purdue Univ. Indianapolis, 401 East Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204. Office: 317/464-9004; Home: 812/988-2866; FAX: 317/630-0035; e-mail: reichman@indiana.edu .


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