Interesting Exchanges on the Austria Mailing List

Mailing ListThe following is a small selection of some interesting questions and informative answers. If you feel that a certain question/answer should be included in this list, please notify me.

Searching Passenger Arrival InformationDecember 28, 2000
I was hoping someone here can help me on the right path to try to narrow down the possible ship line, port they would have left from at that time, ship names and arrival dates in NY or any and I found that Joseph SCHRAMEL left from Havre, France on the vessel Paris in 1922, and Michael GROLLER left from Antwerp Belgium on the vessel Zeeland in 1901.

Instructions for HOW to research immigrant passenger arrival records have filled numerous books, and is thus a pretty large topic to address adequately on a mailist. There are dozens of web sites which will provide instructions and guidance to assist one in obtaining the steps for how to research this topic. Each person's specifics will be a little (or a lot) different, and there are simply too many variations on where/how etc to provide explanations for successful research. There were probably over 40,000 ship loads of people immigrating, and close to a thousand ships on which someone could have traveled.

It is often helpful to conduct a web search with any Internet search engine to find information one is seeking. This is often more convenient than obtaining a book at the library for example. Use the search term "passenger arrival record", immigration records, immigrant arrivals, etc. and several sites should show up.

The port of departure is not initially all that useful (interesting, but not of first importance for locating records). ALL immigrant passenger arrival records to the US are microfilmed BY PORT OF ARRIVAL. For each port, everything is microfilmed by DATE of ship arrival. Without these two things, a passenger list will not be located. There are several ways one can find this information depending on what information one already has.

There are 14+ indexes and soundexes which have been made in order to find the above information when only a name is available. One has to search each index as each one is specific for different ports, and different sets of arrival dates. The Port of New York for 1843-1897 has no index, so it is not possible to find someone by name if they arrived there/then. (the actual ship's lists are microfilmed, but there is no index). One usually starts with searching the New York arrival indexes, then Baltimore, then Philadelphia, then Boston etc. as these were the major ports of arrivals. If an index card on the person is found, it will contain information on the arrival date, and sometimes the ship name. (the info in the indexes varies widely). With that information, one then obtains the microfilm containing the actual ship manifest, and locates the person on it.

It is a two-step process (if all one has is a name) just like US Federal census research.

The major obstacle to doing this research is finding a place where ALL the needed indexes and actual manifest microfilms are available. The Washington NARA has all the info, and the Ft. Wayne Genealogy Library in Indiana has ALL the films. Most State Genealogy libraries will have some of the microfilms, and State historical societies may have some here and there. NARA Regional offices may have some microfilms as well.

One can rent NARA films through interlibrary loan at your public library.

Or, use the Family History Library Catalogue of the LDS church and find the LDS microfilm number that corresponds to the NARA film number and rent it from Salt Lake to be viewed at a local FHC. Search by location, not by topic (the lists for New York are catalogued under New York City, for Baltimore, under city of Baltimore etc) as everything in the LDS library is catalogued by LOCATION, and then by topic. Search for the online catalogue is located at (use the Place option)

One can write to NARA in Washington and request that a search be made, but is best to do in the case above where the actual YEAR of arrival and PORT has already been established.

The following are web sites which will provide more in-depth information about researching and obtaining immigrant passenger arrival records.

The Morton Allen Directory is online at

1st Experiences with ChurchesSeptember 18, 1998
Thought I'd pass this along (to whom it may interest). As you may know I'm a newbie here but have dug in from afar with great interest, having exhausted the obvious search engines and tel books and secured whatever family documentation was available I took the next step and tried to contact the Austrian churches...

After getting confirmation from GFS and LDS that for the Graz region no microfilm copies exist I located the online web site for the Catholic Church and the Dioezes of Graz-Seckau. I sent a very general eMAIL naming my documented vor-fathers and their birth dates and the parish where they where registered and requested confirmation.

A number of days passed and no eMAIL response so I left it for not, but surprise surprise some 8 days after the original eMAIL request a nice 2 page letter arrived.

Now I must state that I made the effort to write in German and the response was also in german, no problem for me but I must admit my formulations where not that time I'll use the online samples which are on the AustriaGenWeb site!

Anyway, I received a nice letter confirming dates and areas, and in addition the Magistrat who handled my request provided me with employment status of the parent, registered address of the birth. The person who handled the case tried to do a general search of the area looking for relatives (came up empty handed) but did make valuable suggestions on how to continue my search. The person did add that they have duplicates of all the 'matriken' birth, marriages and deaths from 1835 to 1959 for the Graz-Seckau region they are in the process of becoming the central location for all the documents. Approximately 100 parishes worth of info will be centrally located in Graz.

Now here is something to be aware of, the role of the archive and the limit of their involvment is restricted to assist searchers for the first information not to conduct complete exhaustive searches.

Addresses for both Graz-Seckau and the Dioezesanarchiv for Klagenfurt are already on the AustriaGenWeb pages.
Unfortunately the Church in Klagenfurt are not online!
Still I'm making progress!

Private Mail:
Work Mail:

1851 EMMIGRATIONJuly/August 1998
Two sources have identified Carl BICKER emigrating from Lippe-Detmold(N.W. Germany) to America in 1851.
My questions are these:
1. If Carl Bicker was Austrian, is it probable he would have emigrated from Lippe-Detmold?
2. Where would an Austrian typically depart from in 1851?
Any comments or suggestions welcomed. Thank you in advance.
Frank Bicker

You wrote: what ports would have austrians used in 1851?
The vast majority of immigrants from the Austrian Empire used Hamburg, and to a lesser extent LeHarvre and Bremen. Every once in a while, an Austrian immigrant used Liverpool. Trieste and Fiume were not used with any frequency until the end of the nineteenth century. Trieste's importance as a port only occurred after the Imperial Government decided to develop it as a merchant port during the last quarter of the century to compete with the north German ports. Remember that Austria lost its status as part of Germany with its defeat by the Prussians in 1866.

do you - - know whether emmigrants from silesia and galicia were more likely to have used polish ports?
The northern part of Poland was under the dominion of the Russians in the 1850s; so in reality, we are considering russian ports. However, there was little, if any regular transatlantic travel, from Russia during this period (1850s). Therefore, emmigrants from Russia (including Poland, Latvia, Ukraine) migrated to the U.S. in two stages: The first was to a western port, e.g., Hamburg, Rotterdam, Liverpool, and then, to America. The passenger ship records of the 1850s confirm the passage of emmigrants from Galicia, Bohemia, etc. from such ports; none, as far as I have found, directly from Russia or Russian Poland.

Richard Camaur
Küstenland List

Banat - Donauschwaben - ZELLERSeptember 1998
Looking for info on my gg grandparents, Joseph Zeller b. 1862 in Austria d. 9/1/1943 in Buffalo, NY and Agnes Zeller b. 1866 and d.1/16/21 also in Buffalo.
I have located them on the United States census for NY and my gg grandfathers name is listed as Joseph Zeller of Austria, but his burial records from the cemetery in Buffalo state that his name was Jacob Joseph Zeller.
It is said that they came from Sanmiclaus which I have located on a Romanian Map. Could Sanmiclaus have at one time been part of Austria-Hungry?
I have also found that the name of the ship that brought Joseph to the United States was the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria which supposedly sailed out of Hamburg in 1906. He traveled with a man named John Hartman that later married my g Aunt Magdelena. Where would I look for passenger lists for this ship?
Agnes arrived in the US about 1907 with 5 children :
Joseph Zeller b. about 1890 in Austria d. 1916 Buffalo.
Magdelena Zeller b. 1897 Austria
Mary Zeller b. 1901 Austria
Barbara Zeller b. 1902 Austria
Agnes Zeller b. 5/23/1904 Austria ( My Grandmother)
Any guidance gratefully appreciated.
Dori Maw-Settlemyer

Your ancestors were DONAUSCHWABEN or Danube Swabians. Danube because that is how most of the settlers got to the Banat, at least to Vienna were they registered for their land, given money and tools to ply their trade as well as a house. These records still exist in Vienna.
Swaben/Swabian because many of the settlers came from that area in Germany. Though this is a generic terms and not all familes came from Swabia in Germany.
The area that they settled in is called the Banat. Sometimes the people are called Banat Germans or Banater. It was settled during the 18th century mostly German speaking immigrants from Germany, Lorraine, Luxemburg and Austria, though there were a few French speaking settlers.
You'll probably find links to all these places. It was administered directly by Vienna during the 18th century as a military frontier against the Turks, this was land siezed by Austria from the Turks, and was then later governed by the Kingdom of Hungary as part of the dual monarcy of Austria-Hungary and there was a forced Magayarization of public life during the 19th century, including church records.
I've been to Sanmiclaus, though by the choice of an unfriendly Securitate not my own. It's a fairly nice large town from what I can remember. The towns is this area are very much like towns in Austria, though most of them were well planned out in a grid.
A good place to start your research
You can also join the Banat mail list and post messages to others with family from Sanmiclaus.
DONAUSCHWABENS are very good at maintaining their genealogical records and have a general orginisation as well as individual originstions for each town. They still gather every two years at Ulm in Germany.
Hope this helps.
John Donis


Last Update: 28 Dez, 2000

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