Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘immigrants

During my recent trip to Canada, I stopped in to see my Great Aunt Meta and Great Uncle Lex at their new apartment in an assisted living complex. Aunt Meta is the last of my maternal grandfather´s siblings. They are both doing remarkably well considering they are in their mid-90s. As I was about to leave after an enjoyable visit, I noticed a black and white picture of a large ship hanging on the wall beside the door. I leaned closer for a better look and saw it was a German ship called The Kronprinzessin Cecilie. Uncle Lex said, “You know what ship that is, don’t you?” Then it hit me, it was the ship that brought my great grandparents over to North America in 1911. I was so excited, I had to take a picture of it.

My Grandpa Mehrer had often mentioned this ship. He would have been 4 years old when they made the journey. Years later, he named his fourth child, Cecilia, after the vessel, Kronprinzessin (Crown Princess) Cecilie.

My cousin (Aunt Meta´s daughter) had been in New York and while doing a tour of Ellis Island, looked for the Mehrer records in the research area, where she found information about the ship and the ship´s manifest. She ordered a copy of the picture of the ship and the manifest for her parents. Some very interesting information was included in the manifest. When she learned of my interest, she sent me the link to the website. I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to see the names of my great grandparents, my grandfather and his three siblings listed on the ships manifest. It gave me goosebumps.

Here is some information I found about the Kronprinzessin Cecilie from the website. The ship was built in Germany in 1906 and carried 1,970 passengers (558 in first class, 338 in second class and 1074 in third class). The ship sailed under a German flag from 1906 until 1917 when, during WWI, it was seized by the United States Government. Under the American flag, it was renamed Mount Vernon and was used for the US transport service. It was scrapped at Baltimore in 1940.

Just think how many immigrants were brought to the new world on this vessel in its early days. The Mehrers, a German family originally from Johannathal, Russia, sailed second class from Bremen, Germany in 1911 with four children ages 4 years to 6 weeks. Because they traveled 2nd class they would have had their own cabin and were not processed through Ellis Island. US Immigration would have boarded the ship and processed them there and they would have been free to catch the train for the Dakotas as soon as they disembarked.  (This information from the manifest was given to me by my cousin Jean Saunders)

From North Dakota, they proceeded to Canada to their homestead where they eventually had 8 more children.

Andreas and Katharina Mehrer after settling in Canada and raising 12 children. My grandfather, the oldest, is sitting on the far left.

I recalled that my father’s family also landed in New York before they came up to Canada. I found their ship, The S.S.Scotia, and its manifest with their names on it as well. It is such an amazing site. If your ancestors came to North America through New York harbour, you will most likely find the name of the ship and the ship´s manifest. Keep in mind, the spelling of names was often incorrect so if you know the year they arrived, that will help. https://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger

The manifest of the S.S. Scotia listing my father´s family who immigrated in 1891

How exciting it must have been for my grandfather, a four-year-old, traveling on a big ship to a new country. I only wish I had asked him more about it when he was still with us.

I have blogged before about my amazing great grandmothers here and about my Mehrer great grandparents here. I consider myself blessed to have had ancestors with the fortitude and vision to embark on a voyage that changed the course of history for our family.

It´s now day 5 of the Five Day Challenge. This is how it works: Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.

This is my picture for day 5

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Family Picture 1909

This is one of my favourite family pictures. As you can see it is very old. It is of my Great Grandfather and Great Grandmother, Henry and Katherina Hoffman, my great Uncle Gust and Great Aunts, Tillie and Lindina. Great Grandmother is expecting  my grandmother in this picture. The family had just arrived in Canada from South Russia. As Germans living in South Russia, they could no longer stay due to the political climate at the time. After crossing the Atlantic in a cattle ship, they were about to travel by train across Canada to their homestead in southern Alberta. The journey was delayed by a stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where my grandmother, Lydia, was born. Once settled on the prairies, Great Grandmother gave birth to nine more children. I remember her as a strong, hardworking woman who always put family first.

This will be my last blog for a couple of weeks as I am travelling to Canada soon to attend a Hoffman family reunion in southern Alberta where the many descendants of these hardy, brave individuals will celebrate with food and stories, and carry on the tradition of family get-togethers. I expect to see well over one hundred relatives. We are all forever grateful that these incredible people made the decision to immigrate to Canada when they did.

Now I would like to nominate Marylin at Things I want to Tell my Mother Marylin writes wonderful stories about her mother, before the onset of Alzheimer´s, in a compassionate and often humorous style. You will enjoy her blog.

Thank you so much for following these posts.


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