The Stiebelings Emigrate, landing June 19, 1869
on the steamship Hermann, Bremen to New York

Oil painting of the steamship HERMANN, signed Wettering 1870. [Picture from the Focke-Museum]
The steamship HERMANN was ordered in August 1864 and laid down for Norddeutscher Lloyd as the EUROPA by Caird & Co., Greenock, Scotland, and was launched in June 1865 as the HERMANN, in honor of the founder of Norddeutscher Lloyd (Hermann Heinrich Meier) and of the Germanic hero. 2,715 tons; 96,92 X 12,19 meters (318 X 40 feet; length X beam); clipper bow, 1 funnel, 2 masts; iron construction, screw propulsion, two inverted engines, with service speed of 11.5 knots. The HERMANN could accommodate 80 First Class passengers, 120 Second Class, and 500 in Steerage, in addition to its crew of 105.

Her maiden voyage was on 17 December 1865 from Bremen and Southampton to New York. In 1872 compound engines were added, increasing service speed to 12.5 knots and cutting coal consumption 30%. On 21 April 1884 the HERMANN, stranded on the Tegeler Plate off the mouth of the Weser River in Germany, broke her keel which resulted in a complete reconstruction with straight stem and triple-expansion engines. Her last voyage was from Bremen to New York on 22 December 1892. She was sold in 1893, again in 1895, and scrapped in Genoa in 1896.

50-year old Lorenz emigrated from Gedern with his three youngest children (including Lizzie, the youngest), ages 9-13, joining his four older children in America. The SS HERMANN, with 55 first class passengers and 792 second/deckroom and steerage passengers (predominantly male and German: 85% male, 11% female, 4% children, and 95% German), landed in New York (at Castle Garden), on 19 June 1869. The trip took two weeks, as reported by The New York Times:

Marine IntelligenceóNew York Times
Sunday, June 20, 1869

Steamship Hermann (N.G.) Wenken. Bremen June 5 and Southampton 8th with mdse and passengers to Oelrichs & Co.

Stiebeling passenger list 1869
369. Lorenz Stiebeling, 50, Male, Farmer, From Darmstadt, to U S of A, in Steerage
370. Ricke, age 13, " (male), " " " "
371. Sophie Stiebeling, age 11, Female, " " " "
372. Elise Stiebeling, age 9, " " " " "

Riecke (short for Fredericke) is a female, not a male.

Lorenz and Catherine watched their first-born son leave Germany, and then, after Catherine dies, the rest of the family emigrates in two waves. Son Hermann was the first to leave, only 14 in 1854 (with his cousins) and signed up nine years later for the Civil War (Union - not a popular position in the nationís capital, despite Lincolnís imposing presence there). Then, near the end of the war, three more children emigrated in 1865, two months after Lincolnís assassination: Edward and younger siblings Maria and William, both teenagers. Finally, four years later, Lorenz was able to emigrate with the last three daughters. Surprisingly, the highest period of emigration from Gedern was in the early 1840s, due to poor harvests, with many moving to Columbia, Missouri (a sister city today). For the Stiebelings, it was probably the draw of Americaís booming industrial economy, especially following the Civil War, and Lorenz' younger brother Dr. Georg Stiebeling in NY.

The whole family seems to have met the boat -- Hermann (and probably Maria and William) coming up from Washington DC and Edward from Baltimore -- but the joy of reunion after all these years must have been bittersweet, especially for Hermann, as his mother had died. All the Stiebelings then stayed in New York (Bronx) for about five years. Hermann, Eliza, Sophie and William move back to DC in 1874-1878, but Lorenz, Maria, Riecke and Edward stay in NY. After Edward moves to Hoboken, and dies there in 1878, and Riecke dies in NY in 1886, Lorenz also moves to DC in 1887 for the last three years of his life; Maria is left in NY alone, with Edward and Riecke's children nearby. It is unknown how the family felt about Riecke "marrying" her uncle Dr. Georg Stiebeling -- he left a wife and four children to start a family with Riecke, 25 years his junior.

Hermann and his wife Anna were childless, and must have treated our Lizzie like a daughter, and Alma like a granddaughter: Lizzie lived with them from immigration until her marriage to Charles Bischoff and named a son and daughter after them; Alma recorded their deaths in her diary (and none of other relatives).

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.

I also found a website about Columbia (Illinois) being a sister-city to Gedern ( The 1842 emigration from Gedern to Columbia predated the first Stiebeling emigration by over a decade -- 14-year-old Herman Stiebeling emigrated with his Deckenbach uncle to New York in 1854. However, in a small town like Gedern, the 1840s emigration of such a large contingent would have had an impact psychologically on the later emigration. This website describes the reasons for the 1840s emigration as follows:

The immigration to the United States by the Gedern area people was brought about because of poor economic development in the area, bad weather conditions and a poor harvest. the people of nearby Wernings, Germany (now part of Gedern) met at their village inn in 1840. Their leader, teacher Wilhelm Reifschneider, discussed the plight of the area and urged emigration to America. As a result of this meeting, a large group of people agreed to leave Germany and move to America--eventually settling in the Columbia and Waterloo areas.
January 29, 1841 a contract was signed between the German village and the Count of Solms-Laubach for the purchase of their houses and land. By August 22, 1842, the county court in Budingen officially permitted the emigration. August 30, 1842 they were discharged from the vassal union of the state of Hessen and set out for America.
After a difficult trip to the Bremen harbor and a nine-day wait for favorable winds, the emigrants set sail on October 8 on the Swedish ship "Mimer" commanded by Captain Sjoberg. The 156 passengers were not only Werningsers, but also people form neighboring communities. There were 118 adults, 14 youngsters 8-12 years, seven youngsters 4-8 years, nine youngsters 1-4 years, and eight babies. The oldest emigrant was an 89-year-old man and the youngest was not yet two-months-old.
The "Mimer" arrived in New Orleans on December 2, 1842. From there, the passengers continued up the Mississippi on a steamboat until large ice masses near Chester made continuation of the voyage impossible. They continued the journey to St. Louis by wagons, arriving on December 26, 1842, some 98 days after their German departure. Almost all settled in Illinois near Waterloo and Columbia. Today, only the ruins of the Marien Church and the house of the forester of the Count of Solms-Laubach remain in Wernings. (From the Columbia Sister Cities Book)