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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Creative Sailing to the Right Passenger List

My 3rd great-grandfather traveled from France to the US in 1854. Niçolas Schmitt and his oldest son Jules François arrived at the port of New Orleans in April of that year.

Based on the ages of the two American-born children who appear in the 1860 Cincinnati Ohio census, Nicolas' wife and French-born children joined him before 1855. Daughter Elizabeth is my direct line ancestor and it was she on whom I focused many fruitless passenger list searches.

Today instead I looked for each of Elizabeth's siblings. Within 10 minutes I located Marie-Anne with nine of the Schmitt children on the passenger list of the Ocean Home's May 1854 journey from Le Havre France to New Orleans. (See pg 6 left.)

Although Marianne 35, Jean Nicolas 11, Pierre Ferdinand 9, Anne-Marie 8, Sophia 7, Elisabeth 6, Christina 5, Pauline 4, Emilie 9/12, and François 5/12 are listed as Suisse (Swiss), this is clearly my French family.

This means the family was separated for only a short time - just a few weeks. But oh, how difficult it must have been for Marie-Anne to care for seven small children and two infants while crossing the ocean to their new life in America!

And while finding this passenger list was wonderfully exciting, it does raise a few questions. For starters, how can Emilie (9 months old) and François (5 months old) have the same mother?

Rather than focus on that just yet, I think I'll spend May Day enjoying this precious new genealogical treasure. And thanking Pauline, my 2nd great-grand aunt, who guided a search engine to the right page.

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