Thus far I have been unable to uncover who my great-grandfather Frederick Roeder’s parents were nor have I been able to find his immigration record. Census records indicate he immigrated to America in 1875 making him about nine-years-old on arrival. One thing that I have noted since starting genealogy is that birth years and immigration years vary. The census taker would ask the question and the person would answer not really remembering their birth year or immigration year. For example, the Milwaukee census records I have for my great-grandmother Steldt list her as having immigrated in 1885, 1887 and 1891! All that to say I have nothing for great-grandfather Frederick (sometimes Fritz, sometimes Friedrich) other than his guess he arrived in 1875.
I did get lucky and found out who my great-grandmother Emilie Steldt’s parents were. I discovered this information by finding the ship manifest that recorded their journey.
The name of the ship was the Rhynland. It departed from the Port of Antwerp, Belgium and arrived in New York on April 13th, 1887 thus confirming one of the census dates for arrival in America.
Here’s what I know about the ship:
Built by Vickers, Sons & Maxim Limited, Barrow-in-Furness, England, 1879. 3689 gross tons; 402 (bp) feet long; 40 feet wide. Compound engine, single screw. Service speed 12.5 knots. 1150 passengers ( 150 first class, 1000 third class ).
Built for Red Star Line, British flag, in 1879 and named Rhynland. Antwerp-New York service. Also chartered to White Star for Southampton to New York 1898. Sold to Italian owners, in 1906 and renamed Rhyna. Scrapped in Italy in 1906.
An article in the New York Times from 1890 describes the harrowing experience of the immigrant ship illustrating that it was not without risk thousands of people crossed the Atlantic on ships like the Rhynland.
The Red Star steamship Rhynland arrived late yesterday from Antwerp, after the stormiest passage which she has yet experienced. None of her officers can remember such severe weather during the last thirty years. (Full article in the attached PDF 103225572 )
It’s also interesting to note that the Rhynland carried 1000 passengers in third class. Unless I am mistaken third class is synonymous with steerage class. Things had improved on immigrant ships since the dismal 1840′s and 50′s when thousands of German and Irish immigrants made their way to America.
For one thing, the ships of the 1880′s were faster thus reducing the time you had to spend jammed into a tight place with 999 other people!
Even with improvements steerage class meant over crowding, food not very good, no privacy and limited sanitary facilities. Never-the-less, by 1887 and the fourth wave of German immigration of which my great-grandparents were a part millions had made the trip believing it worth it.
Great-grandmother Emilie is recorded as being 13 years old at the time of arrival. Emilie arrived with her family listed on the manifest as:
The Emilie Steldt Family on arrival
Father-Otto Steldt, age 46
Mother-Dorothea Steldt, age 46
Brother-Robert, age 22
Unknown-Whilie, seems to be a misspelling although it appears to be female ending in “ie” which indicates in the German a feminine name. She is reported to be age 9.
Census records show that the family arrived in New York but I have unable to find a record of them via Ellis Island.
According to the ship’s record the destination of the family was Chicago. This suggests that perhaps the Steldt’s had relatives already in America and they lived in the Chicago area. Thus far I have not been able to make a family connection in the Chicago area. (Chicago is about 90 miles from Milwaukee.)
At some point the family made their way to Milwaukee. I have a residence record for Otto in 1900 that lists him living at 1115 Janke Place in Milwaukee. His occupation is laborer.
In 1900 Frederick and Emilie Roeder (Steldt) are living at 1014 Center Street in Milwaukee (20th Ward) and according to the record have been married since 1890 although I cannot find a record. They have five children at this point:
1900 Milwaukee Census Record
Fred Roeder 33
Amelia Roeder 27 (note the alternative spelling for Emilie)
Elsie Roeder 9
Willie Roeder 8
Freddie Roeder 7
Selma Roeder 5
Edwin Roeder 3
My grandfather, Harry Roeder Sr., would be born two years later (b. 1902-d. 1962)