Monday, October 3, 2016

An Immigrant Family's Story: The Places They Passed (Part 2)

Adding details to our genealogy makes our ancestor's lives more interesting. Sometimes, we need to be creative to go beyond the "dates and places" that compose a large portion of our research.

Although I had both the Hamburg and New York passenger lists for my Peters family's immigration to America, I wanted to know more. In this case, an 1859 newspaper article, along with some research, gave me additional details to share about my immigrant ancestors. (For information on how I found the article, see my previous post.)


Steamship Bavaria., (Ham..) Laupe. Hamburg, via Southampton June 18. 1 P. M. with mdse. and 257 passengers to Kunhardt & Co. Passed Sandy Hook at 6 A. M., and arrived off the Battery at 7:50 A. M. Experienced strong westerly winds throughout the passage. Passed Cape Race June 27, at 10 A. M.; saw no ice. June 18, off St. Alban's Head, signalized Am. ship Sonora

The article mentions Southampton, Sandy Hook, Cape Race, and St. Alban's Head. Where were these places? And, how did they relate to the passage of the steamship Bavaria?

(Note: The locations are listed backwards in time, but I will list them in the order the ship would have passed them.)


Southampton shown within Hampshire
Location of Southampton in England from Wikipedia

The Bavaria was part of the Hamburg-America Line. According to The Ships List site, during this time period the North Atlantic route was from Hamburg to Southampton (England) to New York. Although my ancestors boarded in Hamburg on June 14th, they stopped in Southampton, England until setting sail for America on June 18th. 

St. Alban's Head

As they left Southampton on June 18th, they evidently passed the American ship Sonora off of St. Alban's Head and "signalized" her. St. Alban's Head is located in England and is the most southerly part of the Isle of Purbeck, which is actually a peninsula and not an island. The Sonora was probably arriving in Southampton from America.

Cape Race

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Bavaria passed Cape Race, Newfoundland, on the morning of June 27th and noted "no ice." Wikipedia explains that, "from 1859 to 1866, the New York City Associated Press kept a newsboat at Cape Race to meet ocean liners passing by on their way from Europe so that news could be telegraphed to New York." Five days later, the ship would arrive at the battery in New York City.

Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook at entrance to New York Bay (image from Wikipedia)
Sandy Hook is a "barrier spit" which is at the southern entrance of New York Bay. Evidently, ships must have signaled the Sandy Hook Lighthouse who would forward the message to the Battery that a particular ship was on its way. In this case, it took almost two hours for the Bavaria to travel from Sandy Hook to the Battery.

The source of the newspaper article: Arrived, The New York Times, New York, New York, 4 July 1859, page 8, column 5, digital image, ( : accessed 28 September 2016).

My Line of Descent:
  • Joachim Peters (~1814-~1894) m. Henrietta Bingher (1817-1874)
  • Carl "Charles" Peters (1847-1910) m. Fredericka Werther (1847-1888)
  • Emil Peters (1877-1955) m. Myrtle Mae Coppenbarger (1880-1970)
  • Hazel Peters (1910-1975) m. Edward Stewart (1910-1972), my grandparents

Do we have ancestors in common? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at


  1. A lot of detail here on your ancestors' passage! How lucky you were to find the news article. I'm puzzled about the "no ice" in June. Intriguing.

    1. I'm puzzled by the "no ice," too. I wonder when ice was an issue? If there had still been some recent sighting? Another thing I could look into. :)

  2. I'm guessing the ice/no ice question was probably part of a routine checklist for ships. Though Newfoundland is well north of New York, it is probably (hopefully) unlikely they would experience ice at that time of year.

    1. Thanks, Wanda. I was kind of assuming it was part of a checklist. I just wondered if they were actually required to report this year round, or if they'd actually seen ice recently. I live off the Gulf, so though it is hard to imagine ice up there during the summer, I really wasn't sure. :)


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