52 Ancestors: #29 Musical: Josephine, a Favorite Name in the LORENTZ-PREUSEN Family

Week 29 (July 16-22) – Musical: There seems to be a musician in every family. Who is the one in yours? Don’t have a musician? Which ancestor has a lyrical name or reminds you of a song?

1964-06 musiciansHow many songs have been written for a lady named Josephine and what is it about this name?

  • “Josephine”
  • “Hello Josephine”
  • “My Girl Josephine”
  • “Not Tonight Josephine”
  • “I’ll Be Right Behind You, Josephine”
  • “Yes Tonight Josephine”
  • “Come Josephine in My Flying Machine”
  • “Oh Josephine”
  • “Goodnight Sweet Josephine”

Before I have you humming or singing one of your favorite Josephine songs, let me tell you about the LORENTZ-PREUSEN family.

The LORENTZ-PREUSEN Family of Diekirch

Mathias LORENTZ was born and baptized on 27 May 1775 in Ingeldorf, Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. His parents were Michel LORENTZ (1733-1791)  and Cathérine STEINFORT (1733-1793), both of Ingeldorf. His godparents were Mathias MOSINGER of Bettendorf and Anna Maria PÜTZ of Nagem.[1]

1775baptism
1775 Baptismal Record for Mathias Lorentz[1]
Margaretha PREISEN was born and baptized on 13 July 1785 in Diekirch, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Her parents were Thomas PREISEN (1753-1801) and Anne Marie SCHRANTZ (1754-1832). Her godparents were Joannis Baptista FETH and Margaretha KESSELER, both of Diekirch.[2]

1785baptism
1785 Baptismal Record for Margaretha Preisen[2]
Mathias LORENTZ married Margaretha PREISEN at 8 o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, 28 November 1809 in Diekirch.[3] Only the mother of the bride was present at the wedding as the parents of the groom and the father of the bride were deceased. The marriage was published on the 12th and 19th of the month.

1809marriage
Signatures on the 1809 marriage record of Mathias Lorentz and Margaretha Preusen/Preisen[3]
Mathias and Margaretha were the parents of seven children. Unusual for the times, all of their children lived to adulthood. Two daughters died in their 30s while the rest of the children lived to until their late 60s.

Ch 1: Anne Marie LORENTZ (1810-1841) born 24 March 1810.[4]
Ch 2: François LORENTZ (1812-1880) born 14 June 1812.[5]
Ch 3: Maria “Marie” LORENTZ (1814-1851) born 1 April 1814.[6]
Ch 4: Marie Joséphine LORENTZ (1816-1884) born 16 July 1816.[7]
Ch 5: Elisabetha LORENTZ (1819-1884) born 18 January 1819.[8]
Ch 6: Joséphine “Cathérine” LORENTZ (1820-1890) born 14 September 1820.[9]
Ch 7: Philippe LORENTZ (1822-1892) born 12 March 1822.[10]

Mathias LORENTZ died 12 December 1822 in Diekirch at the age of 47. On the death record the informants were listed as Mathias BERINGER, 46 years old farmer in Diekirch and brother-in-law of the deceased, and Anton PREUSEN, 33 years old farmer in Diekirch and brother-in-law of the deceased.[11]

I could not fit Mathias BERINGER in as a brother-in-law. I took a closer look at the document and the signatures and found the first informant signed as Philippe BERINGER and not Mathias. Philippe was a known brother-in-law, husband of Marguerite PREUSSEN, a sister of Mathias’ widow Margaretha PREUSEN. Anton PREUSEN was the brother of Marguerite and Margaretha. Discrepancy solved!

When Mathias died his oldest child Anne Marie was 12 years old and his youngest child Philippe was 9 months old. Mathias had been a day laborer. What did his widow Margaretha do to support her family of seven young children? Did the children remain at home with their mother? Did the older children work as servants to supplement their mother’s income? The pre-1843 census which I need to access at the National Archives of Luxembourg may have the answers to these questions.

Ten years after the death of Mathias LORENTZ his first child Anne Marie LORENTZ married Mathieu KOENIG (1808- ) on 26 December 1832 in Diekirch.[12] She had six children, four boys and two girls. She named her daughters Joséphine[13] and Marie Joséphine.[14] Four days after the birth of her last child, Anne Marie LORENTZ died on 22 February 1841 in Diekirch at the age of 30.[15]

The day before Anne Marie’s youngest child was born her brother François LORENTZ married Marguerite JUNGELS (1815-1848) on 17 February 1841 in Diekirch.[16] Marguerite gave François four children before she died on 26 July 1848.[17]

Five months after François married, his sister Maria “Marie” LORENTZ married Johann “Jean” FABER (1813-1873) on 28 July 1841 in Diekirch.[18] Maria became the mother of two sons and three daughters. She was the second of the LORENTZ children to die on 11 February 1851 in Diekirch at the age of 36.[19]

The FABER-LORENTZ marriage was the last the mother of this family would live to see. Margaretha PREUSEN, died 17 November 1843 in Diekirch at the age of 58.[20] She left 7 children and 7 grandchildren.

Margaretha’s maiden name was spelled PREISEN on her baptismal/birth record and marriage record. When her first three children were born the name was also spelled PREISEN. At the time of the births of her last four children (1816-1822), the death of her husband in 1822, the marriages of her three oldest children (1832 and 1841), and her own death in 1843 her name was seen as PREUSEN. Even though her maiden name was PREISEN for the first 30 years of her life, I prefer PREUSEN as it was more commonly used, especially by her brothers who lived to adulthood.

A little more than a month after Marguerite’s death her now oldest single daughter prepared to marry by publishing her marriage banns on the 24th and 30th of December 1843. Marie Joséphine LORENTZ married Théodore MOHR (1814-1887) on 10 January 1844 in Diekirch.[21] They did not remain in Diekirch, moving to Harlange in the commune of Wiltz. This is where their first child, Maria Joséphine MOHR was born on 3 November 1844.[22] They also had four sons. The family moved to Echternach, the town of Théodore’s birth, in the late 1840s or early 1850s. They remained there until their deaths.

Grandchildren continued to be born and sadly some died. François LORENTZ who had lost his wife in 1848 married Gertrude KINNEN (1827- ) on 14 January 1850 in Diekirch.[23] They were the parents of six boys and a girl named Joséphine, born on 14 August 1852 in Diekirch.[24]

Joséphine “Catherine” LORENTZ was the next of Mathias and Margaretha’s children to marry. She married Vincent MEDERNACH (1823-1866) on 4 March 1852 in Diekirch.[25] They became the parents of 3 boys and 3 girls, including Joséphine born 4 October 1860 in Diekirch.[26]

The baby of the family, Philippe LORENTZ married Catharina POECKER (1824-1866) on 11 January 1854 in Diekirch.[27] She gave him four sons, one named Joseph[28], and two daughters before she died on 2 April 1866 in Diekirch.[29]

This was during the virulent time of the cholera epidemic in Luxembourg. In Diekirch there were 95 deaths in 1865, 314 in 1866, and 54 in 1867. Philippe did not wait long to find a new bride.  He married Elisabeth GETH (1836-1914) on 21 November 1866 in Diekirch.[30] She gave him a son and two daughters.

During the 1880s three of the LORENTZ children died. François, the oldest son, died 15 November 1880 in Fouhren at the age of 68.[31] His sister Elisabeth, the only child to remain single, died 11 June 1884 in Diekirch at age 65.[32] Their sister Marie Joséphine died 23 November 1884 in Echternach at age 68.[33]

Only the two youngest LORENTZ children remained to see the 1890s. The youngest daughter Joséphine “Catherine” died 4 September 1890[34] and the youngest son Philippe died 17 January 1892[35], both in Diekirch and at the age of 69.

Musical Theme Connection

Did you notice the red thread of music running through this family’s story? Josephine was a favorite name in the LORENTZ-PREUSEN family. They named two daughters Marie Joséphine and Joséphine. They had five granddaughters named Joséphine KOENIG, Marie Joséphine KOENIG, Maria Joséphine MOHR, Joséphine LORENTZ, Joséphine MEDERNACH, and a grandson named Joseph LORENTZ.

An Aside Turns Up Another Musical Tidbit

In my eagerness to use Josephine for the musical theme I nearly missed this tidbit about the Pfälzer Musikanten returning from their gig in America! What does America have to do with the LORENTZ-PREUSEN family?

While searching the old Luxembourg newspapers for articles on members of the family I learned one of Mathias and Margaretha’s grandchildren emigrated to America in 1886. Their youngest son Philippe’s youngest son from his first marriage, Antoine LORENTZ crossed the Atlantic in 1886 on the Waesland of the Red Star Line.[36] In the 2-3 October 1886 issue of the Luxemburger Wort there was a short article about 125 persons travelling from Luxembourg to Antwerp by train and from Antwerp to America by ship. The names, ages, and destinations of the five Luxembourgers in the group were listed and included Anton LORENTZ from Diekirch, age 22, destination San Francisco, California.

1886article
Luxembourg Wort[36]
In 1900 “Antone LAURENCE” was boarding with a Miller family in Nightingale Precinct, San Joaquin County, California, and working as a farm laborer. He was an alien and single.[37] Antoine LORENTZ died 8 January 1907 in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, and was buried on 10 January in the Rural Cemetery in Stockton. His death certificate shows he was still single when he died of typhoid fever with a contributory factor being pneumonia.[38]

The last paragraph in the newspaper article (above) contains the interesting information I nearly missed. During the week 95 persons returned from America on a Red Star Line ship and passed through the train station in Luxembourg City. Included in the count were 4 Luxembourgers and 50 Palatine musicians (Pfälzer Musikanten). Imagine the sound of music crossing the Atlantic on the trip home….

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, registres paroissiaux, 1601-1948 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790. 1775 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32421-7418-24?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL:1500890501,1500918030 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[2] Ibid., Diekirch > Baptêmes 1743-1790. 1785 Baptismal Record. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-32421-8798-97?cc=2037955&wc=STHZ-ZNL:1500890501,1500918030 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[3] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 751 of 1492. 1809 Marriage Record page 2. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11618-97569-83?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2N2:1627336735 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[4] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1024 of 1493. 1810 Birth Record No. 30. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-123273-95?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[5] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1111 of 1493. 1812 Birth Record No. 50. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-124783-20?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[6] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1173 of 1493. 1814 Birth Record No. 30. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-125996-59?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 27 Sep 2014).
[7] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1243 of 1493. 1816 Birth Record No. 55. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-125014-42?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[8] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1336 of 1493. 1819 Birth Record (upper righ). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-125349-70?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[9] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1393 of 1493. 1820 Birth Record No. 96. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-124288-70?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[10] Ibid., Diekirch > Tables décennales 1803-1892 Naissances, mariages, décès 1797-1800 Naissances 1800-1823 > image 1445 of 1493. 1822 Birth Record (upper left). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11030-125642-64?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-W38:129628901,130575701 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[11] Ibid., Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 1456 of 1493. 1822 Death Record (upper left). (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12052-51376-68?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2ND:n1913802954 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[12] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 1295 of 1492. 1832 Marriage Record No. 12. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11618-101783-70?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38:129628901,130301801 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[13] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1823 > image 334 of 1507. 1836 Birth Record No. 73. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11681-32472-98?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-BZ9:129628901,130131601 : accessed 18 July 2015).
[14] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1823 > image 438 of 1507. 1841 Birth Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11681-30998-83?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-BZ9:129628901,130131601 : accessed 18 July 2015).
[15] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 281 of 1358. 1841 Death Record No. 7.  (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-168659-69?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL:129628901,129628902 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[16] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 1456 of 1492. 1841 Marriage Record No. 4. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11618-106211-67?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-W38:129628901,130301801 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[17] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 396 of 1358. 1848 Death Record No. 35. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-159629-82?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL:129628901,129628902 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[18] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1879-1890 Mariages 1796-1842 > image 1461 of 1492. 1841 Marriage Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11618-102229-19?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2N2:1627336735 : accessed 02 Apr 2013).
[19] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 439 of 1358. 1851 Death Record No. 12. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-170657-76?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2NH:n538876208 : accessed 01 Apr 2013).
[20] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 317 of 1358. 1843 Death Record No. 37. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-160328-63?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2NH:n538876208 : accessed 04 Apr 2013).
[21] Ibid., Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 31 of 1493. 1844 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12052-48441-69?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929:129628901,129848701 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[22] Ibid., Harlange > Naissances 1809-1890 Mariages 1797-1859 > image 376 of 1477. 1844 Birth Record No. 39. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11670-144686-56?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-FM9:129686201,129875401 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[23] Ibid., Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 164 of 1493. 1850 Marriage Record No. 1.  (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12052-51345-93?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929:129628901,129848701 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[24] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1823 > image 737 of 1507. 1852 Birth Record No. 63. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11681-25813-10?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-BZ9:129628901,130131601 : accessed 18 July 2015).
[25] Ibid., Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 223 of 1493. 1852 Marriage Record No. 9. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12052-50475-54?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929:129628901,129848701 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[26] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1823 > image 968 of 1507. 1860 Birth Record No. 76. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11681-27594-78?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-BZ9:129628901,130131601 : accessed 18 July 2015).
[27] Ibid., Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 271 of 1493. 1854 Marriage Record No. 2. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12052-50778-46?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929:129628901,129848701 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[28] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances 1823 > image 1034 of 1507. 1863 Birth Record No. 16. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11681-31424-42?cc=1709358&wc=9RY4-BZ9:129628901,130131601 : accessed 18 July 2015).
[29] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 752 of 1358. 1866 Death Record No. 56. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-171208-63?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL:129628901,129628902 : accessed 19 July 2015).
[30] Ibid., Diekirch > Mariages 1843-1890 Décès 1797-1824 > image 520 of 1493. 1866 Marriage Record No. 29. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12052-51085-92?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-929:129628901,129848701 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[31] Ibid., Fouhren > Décès 1851-1890 > image 150 of 207. 1880 Death Record No. 7. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11564-92348-88?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-YWP:129626001,129625502 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[32] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 1217 of 1358. 1884 Death Record No. 36. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-163642-76?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL:129628901,129628902 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[33] Ibid., Echternach > Décès 1882-1890 > image 81 of 251. 1884 Death Record No. 83. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11022-10817-69?cc=1709358&wc=9RYM-92W:129623201,129706801 : accessed 11 July 2015).
[34] Ibid., Diekirch > Décès 1825-1890 > image 1351 of 1358. 1890 Death Record No. 69. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12147-168452-56?cc=1709358&wc=9RYC-2NL:129628901,129628902 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[35] Ibid., Diekirch > Naissances, mariages, décès 1891-1894 > image 253 of 332. 1892 Death Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11693-115958-28?cc=1709358&wc=9RYH-3TY:129628901,129717601 : accessed 12 July 2015).
[36]  Luxemburger Wort, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlage der St-Paulus-Druckerei, Luxembourg), Nr. 275 & 276, Saturday, 2 and Sunday 3 October 1886, p. 3 col. 2. Aus- und Einwanderung. (http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=939493&search_terms=anton%20lorentz#panel:pp|issue:939493|article:DTL43|query:anton lorentz : accessed 12 July 2015).
[37] Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900 population schedule, (ditigal images) Ancestry, FamilySearch, HeritageQuest, or Internet Archive citing National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., T623, 1854 rolls, California, San Joaquin County, Nightingale Precinct, ED 106, Sheet 24A, HH# 542-545, line 27. (http://www.ancestryheritagequest.com/hqa : accessed 18 July 2015).
[38] California, County Birth and Death Rec, (database with images), FamilySearch (original records at county courthouses, California), San Joaquin > Death certificates 1906-1907 vol 6 > image 176 of 352. 1907 Duplicate Certificate of Death, Local Registered Number 28. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-29228-1114-89?cc=2001287 : accessed 18 July 2015).

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Mathias LORENTZ
Parents: Michel LORENTZ and Cathérine STEINFORT
Spouse: Margaretha PREUSEN
Parents of spouse: Thomas PREISEN and Anne Marie SCHRANTZ
Whereabouts: Ingeldorf, Diekirch, Fouhren, Harlange, Echternach
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: husband’s 3rd great-grandfather

1. Mathias LORENTZ
2. Maria “Marie” LORENTZ
3. Elisabetha “Elisabeth” “Elise” FABER
4. Johann Peter “Jean-Pierre” MEDER
5. Marcel Mathias MEDER
6. husband of Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

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A Visit to the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp

logo_klengAre you curious about what your immigrant ancestors had to endure to come to America? Last May 24th I got a glimpse of what it was like. I participated in a day trip with my genealogy society Luxracines to Antwerp (Belgium) with a visit of the Red Star Line Museum. As always the trip was well planned with enjoyable transportation. Everyone had a good time visiting the sights in the city of Antwerp before going on the guided tour scheduled at the museum.

group
The Luxracines group. © Romain Krier, used with permission.

We were divided up into three groups, two guides spoke French and the third English. Of course I chose to go with the English group. Our storyteller Lien Vloeberghs gave us a wonderfully informative tour of the museum. I mentioned to her that I wanted to write a blog post about the visit and she offered to send me the museum’s press kit and answer any questions I would have.

The Red Star Line Museum tells the story of millions of people and the quest for happiness. It is a story we can all relate to.
~
Red Star Line Museum press kit

The Red Star Line Museum on the Rijnkaai in Antwerp, Belgium, opened it’s doors to the public in September 2013. The museum is in the restored departure warehouses for third-class passengers. It is full of remarkable exhibits documenting the history of the shipping line and the more than two million passengers who left through this port between 1873 and 1934. Did one of your ancestors arrive in America on a ship whose name ended with land? Then the ship was most likely one of the Red Star Line fleet.

Between 1815 and 1940, about 60 million migrants left Europe in hope of a better life.

Visitors follow in the footsteps of emigrants and experience their enthusiasm and anxiety, their tension and uncertainty; they experience the farewells and obstacles as well as the adventure, the discoveries and the hope for a new life on the other side of the ocean.
~ Red Star Line Museum press kit

poster
Red Star Line Museum exhibit, photographed during visit 24 May 2014.

In the late 19th and early 20th century the Red Star Line provided direct passage across the Atlantic to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston to migrants. Their journey began in their country of origin, usually Germany and Eastern Europe. The emigrants frequently left their countries because of poverty.

Several of my relatives from Luxembourg immigrated to the United States on a Red Star Line ship. A cousin of my great-great-grandfather André FOURNELLE (1838-1908) took this big step with his family.

Nicolas FOURNELLE (1830-1913) made the trip across the Atlantic on the Friesland in 1890 at the age of 59 with his wife Margaret HUBERTY 49, their children J. Baptist 17, Anna Maria 10, and Pierre 5, as well as, their son-in-law Frederick BROEDER 32, his wife Marie FOURNELLE 28, and their children Joh. Herm. 4 and Josephine 2. The group of nine went to join up with Nicolas’ son Jean Pierre and daughter Marie Catherine who had made the same trip on the Belgenland in 1887.

Let us join the Fournelle family on their journey

The Departure

The FOURNELLE and BROEDER families of Rodange most likely bought their tickets from the Red Star Line travel agency Derulle-Wigreux und Sohn in Luxembourg City. The travel agency advertised in local newspapers for all classes of passengers.

Ad
Luxemburger Wort Nr. 245, 2 Sep 1885, page 4; digitized by Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg [online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu : accessed 26 May 2014]
The Train Journey

station
Gare Centrale in Antwerp. Red Star Line Museum collection. Photo taken during visit.

The ocean crossing itself was only part of the voyage. Migrants first had to leave their country and take a long train trip to Antwerp arriving at the Gare Centrale which can be compared to Grand Central Station in New York.

For the families coming from Luxembourg the train trip was short compared to those travelling from Eastern Europe. These people may have had to make stops along the way to work and replenishing their money pouches. For some the trip lasted up to several years as they moved from one location to the next. The gaps between leaving the homeland and arriving in America should be taken into consideration when researching your families.

Staying in Antwerp

The migrants arrived in the dynamic city of Antwerp. Imagine these impoverished people walking to their lodgings and seeing the bustling shopping streets and luxurious buildings of the city. They often stayed in filthy hotels with swindlers waiting to cheat them out of their money or ticket. For most the stay in Antwerp was short but for others, who did not pass the controls or needed to earn more money for passage, their time in the city was longer than planned.

Entering the Museum (today)

Crossing the threshold of the “Shed” we entered the world of the European migrants who left their native countries in search of a better life. We were able to touch the walls that our immigrants touched while they endured the required procedures to allow them to travel to America.

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The Red Star Museum in Antwerp.

Showers and Disinfection

Passengers handed over their luggage to Red Star Line employees. Men and women where separated and took off their clothes to shower. Their clothes were put in a bag and with the luggage were placed in the large chambers which were hermetically sealed to be disinfected under high pressure steam.

chambers
Red Star Line Museum exhibit, photographed during visit 24 May 2014.

While their clothes and belongings were chemically treated the passengers were cleaned of lice by taking an hour long shower with hot vinegar and benzene.

Passengers recall that their clothes were damp when returned to them. It is unknown what chemicals may have been used to disinfect the clothes and baggage as no records have been found about the procedure. The chambers used to disinfect the belonging are long gone however a photo of the room with the disinfection kettles survives.

The Doctor’s Visit

Following the shower the migrants climbed the stairs that led to the doctors’ area
and the final judgment.

The Red Star Line enforced the rules of the American authorities as anyone who was refused entry in the United States would be sent back at the expense of the shipping line. The hygienic procedures were insisted upon by the American authorities to avoid bringing infectious diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and trachoma into the county. Migrants were put in quarantine if they came from an area known to have had an epidemic.

Doctors checked the passengers for lice running their hands through hair, lifting or pulling down eyelids to inspect for eye disease (trachoma), using instruments to press down the tongue to check for disease in the mouth. All examinations were done without the precautions that we are used to today.

Travelling Steerage

entry
Red Star Line Museum exhibit, photographed during visit 24 May 2014.

After the extensive checks in the building the migrants could finally embark and begin the ocean journey.

For the Fournelle family this meant that they would live together with other migrants in large dormitories for the circa ten day (to three week) trip.

Later, in the 20th century, crossing on ocean steamers was much more comfortable for passengers as companies began paying more attention to the comfort of third-class traveller.

In the museum’s exhibits the stark difference between the luxury of first class and the scarcity of third class can be seen.

Stories collected from former passengers tell of upper class passengers throwing food down to third class or of the migrants sneaking up to second class for scraps of food as there was no access to first class.

Frieslandsm
Passenger Ships and Images [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]
What happened to the migrants during their journey? Who did they meet, what did they see and feel, why did they leave? The collection of stories allow visitors of the meusum to learn more about the people who crossed the Atlantic.

header
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]

Steerages
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]

Broder-Fournell
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014]

Arriving in America

The Fournelle party arrived in New York on 12 March 1890. Tension was high as the crucial, last examination awaited third-class passengers. Crowd control barricades
lead them through the examination station.

Nicolas and his family finally passed through all controls and were able to continue their journey to Pawnee County, Nebraska, where they were reunited with 24 year old son John Peter FOURNELL (as he was now called) and 20 year old daughter Catherine. Not only were they reunited with these children but also with Nicolas’ sister Margaret (1833-1910) who immigrated about 1881 with her second husband Nicolas le jeune BOUCHÉ (aka Nicholas BOUCHE).

The Guided Tour Comes to an End

Our visit to the museum came to an end after climbing the observation tower which offers a 360° view of Antwerp. This showpiece, shaped like the bow of a steamer, was built on the new building between the corner building and the main building to replace a high chimney that was dismantled in 1936.

panoramasm
Panorama view from the observation tower of the Red Star Line Museum.

A heartfelt thank you to Lien Vloeberghs and the rest of the staff at the Red Star Line Museum for making this a memorial journey.

★★★★★★★

From the Red Star Line Museum press kit, two famous passengers:

Albert Einstein made two historic journeys with the Red Star Line: the first time the Belgenland brought him from the United States to Antwerp, where he announced that he would not return to Nazi Germany.
His second journey, on the Westernland, brought Einstein and his wife to America for good.

★ Israel Isidore Baline, later known as Irving Berlin, the composer of ‘White Christmas’, travelled on the SS Rhynland as a 5-year-old boy.

The Red Star Line Trailer – English Subtitles  

★★★★★★★

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey