Sunday, August 28, 2016

JW Selker: Arriving at Ellis Island

This is the second post in the J.W. Selker Series. The series will be focused on Joseph William Selker's return trip to Germany in 1906. This would be Joseph William's first and only trip to Germany after departing 21 years prior.

Joseph William Selker applied for a passport application on January 25, 1906. After living in Pennsylvania for twenty one years he made plans to return to his home country of Germany.  The date of the crossing to Germany and the port of arrival are currently unknown.

When Joseph William didn't travel to Germany alone. He took his nine year old son Frederick William Selker, known to the family as "Fritz", with him. Frederick William Selker was born October 15, 1896 in Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Joseph William and Frederick William traveled to several cities to visit with their Selker family members. The cities they are known to have visited include:
  • Fürstenau: The party traveled to Fürstenau - the city of Joseph William's birth. While in Fürstenau they spent time with Joseph William's brother Gerhardt Selker and his wife Mary Agnes Rakers.
  • Bentheim: Joseph William's father, Hermann George Selker, was born in Bentheim. The party traveled to Bentheim to spend some time with Joseph William's uncle. The uncle, who's name is currently unknown, would have been a brother of Hermann George Selker
  • Montabaur: The party  traveled to Montabaur to visit with Joseph William's brother Karl Friedrich Selker who had relocated from Fürstenau. Karl Friedrich Selker owned a tailor shop in Montabaur.
It is currently unknown how much time Joseph William and Frederick William spent in Germany. It should be noted that the distance between Fürstenau and Montabaur is approximately 193.6 miles [312 km]. The map below, highlighted with the cities they visited, shows that the two traveled extensively during their visit.
Michelle M. Murosky: Blog Images &emdash; JW Selker Travels
On June 26, 1906 Joseph William Selker and his party departed Germany at the port of Bremen. The group set sail on the SS Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse. The SS Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse was built by the North German Lloyd shipping line. The 14,349 ton ship had four funnels and was 627 feet long. The ship was capable of transporting 332 first class passengers, 343 second class passengers and 1,074 third class passengers. The Hoboken Historical Museum has original plans of the ship available in their online collections database.
Colour drawing of the SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse by an unknown painter
Colour drawing of the SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse by an unknown painter
Source: Wikipedia, Public Domain image
Joseph William Selker and his party traveled in the second class cabin. The two additional members of Joseph William's party were his nieces - Johanna Anna Selker and Philomena Selker. His two nieces made the decision to leave Germany and relocate to Pennsylvania with their uncle.

Johanna Anna Selker was nineteen years old when she departed Germany. She was born September 5, 1886 in Montabaur, Germany. Johanna was the daughter of Karl Friedrich Selker and Margarita Wolf.

Philomena Selker was eighteen years old when she departed Germany. In the ships manifest she is recorded as Wilhelmine Selker. She was born January 27, 1887 in Fürstenau, Germany. Philomena was the daughter of Gerhardt Selker and Mary Agnes Rakers.

The ships manifest for the SS Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse  indicates that the party arrived at the Port of New York on July 3, 1906. The crossing took eight days. The party was processed at Ellis Island.

Michelle M. Murosky: Historical Records &emdash; NYT715_736-0692
Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse
Ship's Manifest - List 5
Arrival July 3, 1906 Port of New York
The nationality recorded for Joseph William and "Fritz" was USA. Johanna Anna and Philomena were recorded as German. Both nieces could read and write. Johanna is recorded as last living in Montabaur and Philomena is recorded as last living in Fürstenau. Their final destination is recorded as Clarion, PA.
Michelle M. Murosky: Historical Records &emdash; NYT715_736-0692
Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse
Ship's Manifest - List 5 [Excerpt]
Arrival July 3, 1906 Port of New York
The notes on the ships manifest indicate they were traveling with their uncle J.W. Selker who was from Clarion, PA.

Michelle M. Murosky: Historical Records &emdash; NYT715_736-0692
Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse
Ship's Manifest - List 5 [Excerpt]
Arrival July 3, 1906 Port of New York

Johanna Anna Selker and Philomena Selker both remained in Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania for the rest of their lives. Johanna Anna Selker married Stephen Charles Huefner on June 2, 1908 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Clarion, Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Philomena married Augustine Benedict Lauer Sr. on September 21, 1909 at St, Michael's Church in Fryburg, Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

References:
  1. Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Year: 1906; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 0736; Line: 2; Page Number: 87
  2. Ancestry.com. Passenger Ships and Images [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Kaiser Wilhelm Der Grosse.
  3. Image SS Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse by an unknown painter: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colour_drawing_of_the_SS_Kaiser_Wilhelm_der_Grosse_by_an_unknown_painter.jpg# 
  4. Handwritten Letter from Joseph William Selker to Karl Friedrich Selker dated 19 July 1906.
  5. "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VFWP-WN5 : 24 June 2016), Stephen Charles Huefner and Johanna Selker, 1908.
  6. "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VFWP-YC8 : 24 June 2016), Augustine Lauer and Minnie Selker, 1909.
  7. Maps of World. Germany Outline Map.

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