German-American Connections as Part of an International Genealogical Exchange

The following announcement was written by the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände (DAGV):

RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City is the world´s largest genealogy event. Dirk Weissleder, national chairman of DAGV (Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbände, ( and 2nd Vice President of IGGP (International German Genealogy Partnership, (, will lecture there on genealogical research in Germany and about the “key position” of surnames in any research plan. But Weissleder first made a stop-over in Sacramento to get the latest information about this city as the location for an upcoming International German Genealogy Conference to be held June 15-17, 2019. The conference will be hosted by the Sacramento German Genealogy Society (, and it will be the largest worldwide gathering on the specific topic of German genealogy this calendar year.

In Burbank on February 16, 2019 in a jointly sponsored event between IGS (Immigrant Genealogical Society, ( and the German Interest Group of SCGS (Southern California Genealogical Society, (, Mr. Weissleder lectured on his newest international research project, “The Pribislaw – A vehicle through stormy times, or what a sailing ship can tell.” This concerns the history of, and passengers aboard, the Mecklenburg bark Pribislaw which was launched in October 1847. The occasion marked the very first time that a lecture was given on that topic on American soil. Weissleder said: “A sailing ship is not just pieces of wood, it is a vehicle through a time window and from continent to continent.” The Pribislaw anchored at more than 65 harbors on six continents. It made three long voyages from Hamburg with more than 560 German emigrants, mostly from Mecklenburg: in 1849/50 to Australia, and in 1851 and 1853/54 to the USA. After 1854 it was used as a freight carrier and, following severe damage in the Scottish Shetland Islands in February 1870, the Pribislaw was taken out of service and used as a storage hulk. The lecture gave a vivid idea of the situation on board and the nature of migration in the mid-19th century. The Pribislaw was not only moving through stormy waters, but also through disruptive times of revolution and technological change.

Genealogy is about connecting people, and so the aforementioned lecture moved beyond familiar topics in reporting about the Pribislaw – a ship few would recognize – and her voyages in 1851 to New Orleans and in 1853-54 to New York. Weissleder stated that it would be great to find American descendants of former Pribislaw passengers, such as has already been accomplished in Australia where a large reunion of descendants will be held in April 2020 near Melbourne. August 23, 2019 will mark the 170th anniversary of her voyage to Australia. The American chapter of this story began at the Burbank event in January, with the opening of the search for descendants of the second and third voyage German emigrants, mostly coming from Mecklenburg:

1. Surnames of passengers on board the Pribislaw to New Orleans, with arrival on June 27, 1851: Ahne, Beck, Behm, Behrens, Bentzen, Bock, Busacker, Busch, Caddle, Dahl, Dählurg, Dietzel, Förster, Gosmann, Grünwohldt, Harberg, Hoppe, Jacobs, Kästner, Kautwerke, Koch, Koss, Krabbenhöft, Koch, Krambeck, Lage, Lembcke, Lemcke, Löhr, Magner, Menge, Meyer, Morath, Oehlcke, Pägel, Papp, Petersen, Pfeiffer, Plügge, Reinhard, Reinhold, Rickhof, Roehs, Roth, Schirmeyer, Schmalfeld, Schmidt, Schneckloth, Schönthal, Schröder, Schulze, Sindt, Stammann, Suckrow, Thess, Tiedemann, Trepte, Tricke, Walther, Weil, Wendt, Wetz, Wiedow, Wiese, Will, Wonnenberg.

2. Surnames of passengers on board the Pribislaw to New York, with arrival on January 15, 1854: Amon, Bathmann, Biermann, Blumberg, Brueschaber, Buelow, Buettner, Bumann, Donner, Dose, Druver, Ehlers, Fischmann, Gangling, Gazow, Gehse, Gernentz, Gost, Gramkow, Grantopf, Grothkopf, Haltz, Hoppenrath, Huebner, Jurgens, Karner, Karrberg, Kiepke, Klasak, Kremer, Krueger, Kruse, Lange, Linow, Lorenz, Mall, Mathews, Mohl, Pansperin, Prister, Puestow, Reincke, Riebel, Ruhde, Sass, Schlicker, Schuemann, Schwark, Stapelmann, Steinhaus, Stuhrhan, Timm, Tischel, Triepel, Weidemann, Westphal, Zahn.

Meanwhile, a group called “Friends of the Pribislaw” has been formed, a first newsletter is already out, and the international network of interested researchers is growing. At the International German Genealogy Conference (IGGC) in Sacramento, annotated passenger lists of all three voyages will be presented together to the public for the first time. The “Friends of the Pribislaw” eventually want to link ancestors of the former German emigrants in the mid-19th century with their American descendants living today.

This project opens new doors in genealogical research for Americans and Australians by concentrating not on one’s own ancestor or family, but by taking a wider look at all passengers to determine, for example, the elusive place of origin of that ancestor or family. The project also allows a whole new understanding of voyages by sailing ships at this time, gives a realistic impression of the situation on board, and shows the individual researcher from a concrete example how sources and creative methodology may be applied to obtain valuable information one might otherwise overlook.

Following the motto “Pribislaw – The Voyage Continues,” you are invited to learn more about the sailing ship at Should you see any connection of your own family to this Mecklenburg bark, the “Friends of the Pribislaw” urge you to get in contact by writing to:

One Comment

Hello Mr. Eastman –
Thank you for the information above. I am new at research and appreciate your knowledge in genealogy research. I am researching my Jewish ancestors who came from Mogilno, Poznan. So great to know about the new millions of documents online


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