The Trip to America

In the spring of 1852, August and Sophie packed up their belongings, enough food for the 40 day trip, their two children, Fred and John, and headed west to America. August’s Declaration of Intent for citizenship to the United States filed in 1856, confirms that August was born in Meckleburg-Schwerin on or about the year eighteen hundred and seventeen and that he emigrated to the United States, and landed at the port of Buffalo, on or about the month of August in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-two .

Extensive media has been archived recording the names of whole groups of immigrants from Europe. I researched the immigrant ship archives for both the United States and Canada and was unable to find a perfect match for August and Sophie. In the Hamburg Sailing records I found one family that very closely resembles that of August and his family. The only discrepancy is the place of birth of August. The record states :

Jonas, August, Frau u 2 Kdr 1/2 3 J. Place of birth Neustet. Destination: Quebec. Ship Vorwarts.

This translates to: Jonas, August. Wife and 2 children (ages) 1/2 and 3 years. This listing would match that of our August and Sophia and their two sons who would have been age 3 and 1/2 at this time. The discrepancy is in the part of the entry listing the place of birth of August. Place of birth: Neustet, Thueringen. This probably refers to Neustaedt, a village just west and slightly north of Eisenach, in Thuringia, central Germany. It would be unusual for August to state the he was from this area, unless he was hiding his identity for some reason, perhaps hiding from the authorities in order to escape compulsory military service.

The ship was the Vorwaerts, Prussian, Capt. J. Finck. Vorwarts was a 500 ton ship, built in 1849, purchased in 1850, and was in service until 1876. The family’s destination was Quebec, sailing date 19 June 1852. Filled with hope and optimism they boarded the cramped ship and lived in deplorable conditions as they made their 40 day trip across the ocean.

In researching the ship Vorwarts, records show it landed 22 August 1852. Because there was no direct water route from the Atlantic Ocean to Buffalo, immigrants had to first disembark in another port city such as Quebec, then crossed the bridge to Buffalo. There are no passenger lists for people arriving in Buffalo, so I have been trying to find border-crossing records.

Next: Why Manitowoc County, Wisconsin?

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