The Widmanns Emigrate, landing May 31, 1867
on the SS Bellona, Havre to New York

SS BELLONA: Picture is unavailable; it will look similar to: the SS BAVARIA (Krieger ship -- both 3-masted with one funnel)

Sources checked for picture include: Langsdale Library (Baltimore), Texel Holland Museum, Smith & Rodger of Glasgow, Harland & Wolff, Historic New Orleans Collection, National Maritime Museum (San Francisco), Peabody-Essex Museum, Mystic Seaport, The Mariners’ Museum (Newport News), Scottish Maritime Museum, TAMH—Tayside-A Maritime History, the University of Glasgow, and the London and New York Steamship Lines records, as well as the sources for the other pictures -- Palmer List of Merchant Vessels ( and the Focke-Museum in Bremen.
The BELLONA was an iron built ship, launched in 1863 by Smith & Rodger of Glasgow for the London and New York Steamship Line.

She was a 1914 gross ton vessel, length 300.3 feet x beam 34.2 feet, and holds 24.1 feet deep (making her twice as long as the sailing ships). She had a clipper stem, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sails), iron hull, and a single screw with a speed of 10 knots. She could accommodate 20-1st class, 50-2nd class and 500-3rd class passengers.

The BELLONA left London on her maiden voyage to Havre and New York on September 26, 1863 and stayed on this service until her last trip for this company on April 29, 1870. She was then sold to the Hughes Line of Liverpool who used her on their UK to Bombay service. Resold in 1882, she was renamed BENBRACK, fitted with compound engines and wrecked on January 23, 1889 off Texel, Holland.

Konrad Widmann, age 52, with wife Katie, age 43, and seven children, ages 4-19 (including William, age 17) boarded the BELLONA, most assuredly in Havre (now known as Le Havre, France), for the 17 day voyage (what a difference steam makes!). They traveled in third class, along with 435 others, plus cabin passengers. 65% of the passengers were male, and 64% were German, despite the ship’s non-German departure. While it is possible that the French departure was due to lack of German emigration papers (if Conrad Jr. and William were avoiding German military duty), it is probably due to economy (a cheaper trip). They landed in Castle Garden, New York.

Marine Intelligence - New York Times
Saturday, June 1, 1867
Arrived: Steamship Bellona (Br.,) Dixon, London May 12 and Havre 14th, with mdse. and 471 passengers to Howland & Aspinwall. May 25, 1st. 45 4, lon. 50 8, saw bark Sarah, bound W. 26th, 1st 44 14, lon. 54 49, saw ship Themis, bound E.

There is also an overview of some of the reasons why our ancestors emigrated, a list of the sources used in data collection and summaries, and a summary of the history of Germany in the middle of the 19th century.