Truth in the Family Story
In the â€œAncestry Weekly Journalâ€ of May 5th, you wrote about hyperinflation in Germany due to the country being hit with billions of dollars in war reparations in the 1920s.
My mom had always said her Uncle Hugo and his family went back to Germany after WWI to make a better life. The family story was that Uncle Hugo thought they could live less expensively there. According to my mother, they ended up broke and had to work on the boat to earn passage back to the States. Was this a family fable? Ancestry brought answers.
My Grand-uncle Hugo Fischer was sixteen in May 1891 when he immigrated to the U.S. with his mother and three siblings.
When Ancestry added the U.S. Passport databaseÂ not long ago, I found an application, from 1920, for Hugo, his wife Regina, and their children, Elisabeth and Herman C.Â
The passport was to be sent to Hugo Fischer in Bedford, Ohio and included great photos of the family. However, the passport stated that they were traveling for one year to Holland, Belgium, and Switzerland to â€œsettle an estate and visit relatives.â€ Not a mention of Germany. What happened to the family story?
Again Ancestry answered, with my search of the New York passenger lists. On board the â€œGeorge Washingtonâ€ arriving in New York City, 07 April 1923 from Bremerhaven (page 135 out of 135, under â€œList of Aliens Employed on the Vessel as Members of Crewâ€), I found Hugo:
â€œ. . . Fischer, Hugo; Asst Steward; hired: 3/27/23 in Bâ€™haven; Paid off in NYC . . .â€
I found the other family members arriving on other ships in the weeks and months that followed. So it turned out that Grand-uncle Hugo did work his way back to the U.S. and â€œThe Year Was 1923â€ gave a clear illustration of the reason. Thanks.
Incorrect Birth Dates on Death Records
I just wanted to make a comment about birthdates on death certificates. In my husband’s family, the birth years are all listed incorrectly on their death records. His aunts were very vain and even after one sister’s death they put down incorrect birthdates so that people would think she was younger than she was. It totally confuses the family historian. Fortunately, the census lists them in correct birth order with their correct ages.
I have used WorldCat (www.worldcat.org) to get the publication information that I failed to write down when I was researching.
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