Re: Emigration

Hi Bonnie: If I may put my 2-cents in - no,it was not common for single females to travel alone but yes, it did happen more frequently than you might think. Two of my grandmother's sisters and possibly a third made the trip entirely alone. I think that Berndt's idea that the two lovers connived before they ever left Germany is right on. And since it appears that his family was going anyway, what could have been easier than to take her along? She might have been 27 but her father would have had absolute control of her until she married (or was declared a spinster). And fear of the military was not a factor in 1848. That only entered into the picture after the conquest by Prussia in 1866-71. But remember, the year 1848 was a year of political turmoil all over Europe - so much so that those emigrants were called the 48ers. Richard Wagner escaped from Saxony to Switzerland; Karl Schurtz (a journalist of New York fame) escaped from Baden to the US., etc.
Re: the trunksful of silver, linens, she certainly would have needed help with that but could they have belonged to his family? Or might she have gone back for a visit later? And yes, even back then she would have needed a "sponsor" in order to enter the US unless his family claimed she was travelling with them. Hope this is some help to you. Jane

Jane Swan
Why Wait? Move to EarthLink.


       The distance between Norden where SHE came from and Veckenstedt where
HE came from is quite far. I would think it more likely that they met on
the ship. Anybody's guess...

      By the way, Bonnie, there are three references to Hoffmanns from
Norden on this website: You can run a search there. Perhaps you can
contact the persons who put their pedigrees there.

Good luck,

I aggree with Barbara,
the distance between Norden and Veckenstedt is 363 km, about 250 miles, to far!
There was not a train or car to Norden on this time.

Thank you for the link to, Barbara. And I tend to agree that the distance between their home towns made it unlikely that they knew each other before immigration, but they could have met in Bremen in the time it took waiting for their ship to come in.

After reading all your comments, I also tend to think Christiane must have had a relative or friend she was going to meet in the U.S., at least that makes the most sense to me. But I will look into the other single woman listed in the passenger list, as there is a good chance she may have been traveling with her.

I don't know the reason the Hartmann family emigrated, but I do see that nearly half of the passenger list is from the same village of Veckenstedt, so maybe it was an economic thing and/or the political turmoil. Christoph and his family were shoemakers in Germany, but all had enough money to buy farms in Sheboygan, Wisconsin when they arrived. Christoph's father and all of his nine brothers and sisters emigrated except one married sister who we don't know what happened to.

It is interesting to me that some have commented on Christiane's age (27) at marriage as though she was what we now call an "old maid". Yet in researching the records of Veckenstedt in the 1800s, also in different areas of Pommern, I have found that the overwhelming majority of men were married in their late 20s to early 40s, and women generally anywhere from 19 to late 20s. From my fairly extensive research 27 was not an uncommon age for a woman to be married, although around 23 was probably more common.

I do have the will for Christoph which mainly deals with the dividing the farm and money, but I understand Christiane also made a will, so I will send for that and see if any of her "riches" were mentioned. Thank you for the suggestion.

And thank you all again for all your thoughts and suggestions. It has been most helpful!

Bonnie Hartmann

Have you checked the church's Familienregister (less likely in the Geburts/Taufregister) in Christiane's home town? Often the minister would list dates of emigration and possibly even their destination. This would help you determine if other family members or people in the same town emigrated before she did, and/or give a hint as to whom she might have been going to meet in the U.S.


Hi Bonnie:

Another side to the story.

For those famlies who had a store or "Rights of Inheritance," what was known as Impartible inheritance was generally practiced in the Kingdom of Hannover & NW 'Germany.' This practice awarded the property, or store to one male child instead of all the children.

It was often the youngest son that inherited the property. At the time the oldest son was ready to marry and set up household, the parents were not ready to "retire" and give up the main haus and move to a smaller house on the property. The parents then tried to marry the older sons(s) to the daughters of other farm families who had no sons. Traditionally the farms, [or - the store] were turned over to their about-to-be-married youngest son shortly before the wedding. In return for the farm, the new owners accepted certain obligations regarding the retirement of the parents. This process was names Altenteil - the part of the old ones.

Obviously, the older males didn't want to work for a younger brother - certainly after marriage. There were 'settlements made with other siblings - what we would call a grubstake. This assured that there would be no further claims on the property or business.

The Altenteil was a contract and usually consisted of: a small monthly payment of money, free room and board with care and nursing in sickness and old age. Sometimes the details were laid out exactly, e.g., which parts of the house(s) and farm the parents had the rights of entrance, where meals were to be served and who was responsible for heating and cleaning the rooms in question and various food product to be supplied by the "receiver." Sometimes the "giver" retained rights to certain fields or gardens. The success of this contract naturally depended on the relationship between the couples. Altenteil still exists today. However, today the farm doesn't go to the eldest or youngest, but to the child who went to Agriculture school or the one that manages the best.

Sounds cold - but very practical.

Gary Stoltman

Mercerville, NJ

Hi Bonnie,
    You caught my attantion when you said "Christoph and his family were
shoemakers in Germany, but all had enough money to buy farms in Sheboygan,
Wisconsin when they arrived."
     Aparently shoemaking could be a very lucrative trade in Hannover during the
late 18th to mid 19th century. My great-great-great grandfather was a
shoemaker at the end of the 18th Century and is reported to have made a "small
fortune" during the "Coalition War" against the French Republicans. He settled
in Osterwald ca 1797 and continued to make shoes. By 1816 he was able to
purchase "one of the largest Vol Meierhof's in the town". He essentially paid
cash for it!
Don Roddy

----- Message from ---------

Dear Bonnie and List,

I have a story I want to share about old maids..

My mom's mom was born in 1910. She married in 1935....

If you do the grandmother was 25 years old when she got married.

She attended school until about 8th grade...Then she went to secretarial school.

She retired as secretary for local union of electricians in St. Louis, Missouri.

My mom was born in 1939. Mom was her first born. The doctors told here that she would not be able to carry a child...ever. grandmother was staunch catholic. She lit novina candles at chuch in the hope of becoming pregnant and giving birth. When she gave birth to my mom ... finally in 1939..she named mom .. thanks to the virgin.