Freitag, Juni 01, 2012

Digging Family History ...

Well, just had the idea to have a look at the Ellis Island Records and checkout how my extended family members traveled to the United States ... and see what: I'm not the first person in our family touching the ground of Hoboken:

Albert Christener
arrived 12. April 1910 with the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse of the Northgerman Lloyd.

This ship has a very special history:
It was shortly built after the Unification of Germany and was actually the first German ship in history winning the Blue Riband. This was the start of a long time of German supremacy over British ocean liners. 
1900 the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse narrowly escaped the Hoboken Pier Fire.


Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse arriving at New York
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse arriving in Hoboken (Wikipedia)





Ernest W Christener
arrived at June 15, 1914 in US
was neutralized at Sept 24, 1920
returned to Switzerland and arrived at May 20, 1921 as US Citizen living in Chicago at 11344 S Park Ave (maybe this is his business adress) with Aquitania from Cunard Line, which deaprted from South Hampton, UK.
He passed away in November 1982 in Boca Raton, Florida.

SS Aquitania
RMS Aquitania, Cunard Line
Maria Martha Christener This is acutally my great-grand aunt. She was born 1888 and was still alive when I was a kid. I probably inherited the ability to speak six languages from her.

She arrived first time 1919 in US on a diplomatic visa and worked most probably at the Belgian Embassy as a secretary. She traveled on SS Touraine, an old French steam ship. She afterward returned to Switzerland and came again.

It shows already in the emigration record of June 21, 1924 in the column of the languages, that she spoke and wrote "English etc.". Nobody else had this entry on the whole page. She traveled with the RMS Mauretania. The ship had at time of travel an overhauled power plant. She was actually one of the first ocean liners with steam turbine propulsion and was therefore very fast. The voyage started from Cherbourg since the shipyard workers in Great Britain went on strike.

RMS Mauretania

The passenger record Albert Christener unveils also the address of my great-grandaunt living in New York City at that time. The record shows this address:


It is actually 158 W 123th Street. Even this is hard to read here, I have a better one, which says clearly "123th Street".

This is actually in Harlem only one block away from the famous Sylvias's Soul Food Restaurant.
The house looks nowadays like this:



Martha made the following voyages to the united States:

Dec 22, 1906  from Bremen with Kaiser Wilhelm II (Norddeutscher Lloyd) - first voyage
Sep 05, 1911  from Antwerpen  with   Lapland  (Red Star Line)
Oct 11, 1913   from Antwerpen  with  Finland (Red Star Line)
Dec 01, 1919  from  Le Havre  with    La Touraine (French Line)
Jun 27, 1924  from Cherbourg  with  Mauretania  (Cunard Line)


She returned afterwards to Switzerland and worked for a while in the US Embasy in Zurich as well as in the Vatican in Rome, Italy.

Peter Schild & Louise Schild traveled also to the States, with the aime to stay. Only Louisa stayed, Peter returned home. This are relatives from Father's Mother. Peter Schild was born 1875, Louisa was only 16 when they immigrated.

updated: June 10, 2012


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