Sunday, October 07, 2007

Castle Garden

I've located the ship manifests, posted online by, for the ships on which my German ancestors arrived in America. My father's great grandparents, Wilhelm and Maria Lubach, arrived in New York at Castle Garden on July 12, 1856, on a ship called the 'Ann Washburn' which departed from Hamburg with more than 300 passengers on board, nearly all of them German, including my father's grandfather, Wilhelm, listed as an infant, and Wilhelm's brother, Carl, age 2. The family surname, Lubach, was transcribed online as Subach, which did not make finding the manifest any easier. The elder Wilhelm Lubach was 29 years old and his wife, Maria, was 26.

Maria Lubach's parents, Wilhelm and Dorothea Ebert, arrived a year earlier, July 9, 1855, on a ship called the 'London' which departed from London. They were accompanied by their children and by a son in law, August Heise, whose wife, Sophia, is listed twice on the manifest, once as the daughter of Wilhelm Ebert and a second time as the wife of August Heise. She was 22 years of age in both instances. The couple accompanied their two children, Carl, age 3, and Amelia, an infant.

There appears to have been possibly a third Ebert sister, Louisa, age 17, who is not listed as an Ebert in the 1860 census for Sheboygan County in Wisconsin. The brothers, Wilhelm, age 11, and August, age 9, are also listed on the ship's manifest as part of the Ebert family. The name of another female, age 19, listed by first name only as traveling with August and Sophia Heise and children, is difficult to read. The transcriber identified the name as Sabe. I would submit that this could have been August Heise's younger sister.

Castle Garden was a receiving station for immigrants at the tip of Manhattan Island, the predecessor to Ellis Island. It officially opened for business in August of 1855, a month and several days after the 'London' arrived, but the ship's manifest is maintained by NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) and transcribed as part of an effort to make the Castle Garden records available to the online public. Castle Garden is currently known by its original name, Fort Clinton. It's where visitors to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty buy tickets and board ferries for those destinations.

The elder Wilhelm Ebert's age was listed as 50 on the London's manifest which would make him two years younger than the Wilhelm Ebert buried at St. John's New Fane Cemetery, but the date of birth listed on his tombstone is July 9, the anniversary of his arrival in America.

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