|photograph of Steamship Deutschland|
|postcard of Steamship Deutschland|
Charles Bischoff and his son Paul took her just two months after her maiden voyage -- what a wondrous sight this must have been for their "once-in-a-lifetime" trip, and such a change from the ships of 25 years ago, with their sails plus steam engines, and whose top speed was 10 knots per hour.
Deutschland's vibration problems resulted in a complete refit in the years 1910-11, downsizing the engines to reduce vibration, but bulking her weight to 16,703 tons, and she became the luxury cruise ship Victoria Luise, with accommodation for 487 first-class guests. Her hull was painted in white, and she would receive the reputation of the finest cruise ship in the world. The Victoria Luise remained in Germany during the hostilities between 1914-18. Due to engine problems she was not used as a troop-ship. When Germany lost WWI in 1918, all of the major German liners were handed over to the victorious Allies or sunk -- all but the former Deutschland, as she was not of interest because of her operational problems. In 1921, the former Deutschland was refitted yet again, this time with two funnels, and renamed Hansa, 16,333 tons gross, with capacity for 36 cabin and 1,350 steerage passengers. The Hansa was designed for the emigrant route, but as America had restricted its immigration-laws after the war, she was never fully satisfactory in her new role. In 1922 she was reaccommodated yet again for 224 cabin and 1,065 steerage passengers. In 1925, it was evident that the ship was old, and since no fit use could be given her she was sent to the scrappers in Hamburg that year.
Local Marine News—New York Times,
Sunday, September 23, 1900
SS Deutschland (Ger.,) Albers, Hamburg Sept 15, Southampton and Cherbourg 16th, with mdse, and passengers to the Hamburg-American Line. Arrived at the bar at 2:13 P.M.
Advertisement on same page:
Twin-Screw Express Service to Plymouth (London), Cherbourg (Paris) and Hamburg.
DEUTSCHLAND Sep 25 4 PM - COLUMBIA Oct 4 10 AM
K FR'D'CH Sep 27 10 AM - A. VICTORIA Oct 11 10 AM
- DEUTSCHL'D Oct 16 10 AM
Twin-Screw Passenger Service to Plymouth, Cherbourg and Hamburg
*Bulgaria Sep 25 8 am - Belgravia Oct 9 5 AM
Pennsyl'a Oct 6 3 PM - Pretoria Oct 13 9:30 AM
*Sails for Hamburgh direct
Hamburg-American Line, 37 B'way, N.Y.
|Charles and son Paul on their return home passenger list from Hamburg (click here for a view of the whole page of the German list)|
As far as can be determined, this is Charles' last trip back to Germany, and Elizabeth Stiebeling Bischoff never made a return visit. This strongly suggests that Charles left significant family behind in Germany, while all the close Stiebeling relatives had emigrated to America. Charles and Paul both applied for passports on June 21, 1900, which were apparently granted the same day. Unfortunately, there are no records for passengers leaving America for Germany, so the exact trip length may never be known; it is assumed to be 1-3 months.
|Photograph of Braunschweig circa 1900|
This visit was only found because the records are now computerized, and showed up in a random "Bischoff" search at a subscriber genealogy site (Ancestry.com). Ellis Island had been closed due to a fire in 1897, so the Bischoff's were processed at the Barge Office. Ellis Island was closed from June 14, 1897 to December 17, 1900 -- the only ancestors I could find who would have been processed at Ellis Island were Americans Oliver Perry and Mary Emily Hay when they returned from Switzerland in 1902!
Charles and Paul would have taken a train from New York to Washington, DC.
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.