What “chain migration” looks like

Somewhere around 1886, Auguste Paulina Graumüller and her husband Herman Franz Schreiner left their home in what is now the German state of Thuringen (Thuringia in English) and came to America.1 Auguste’s sister, Emma Graumüller Geissler, was The Legal Genealogist‘s great grandmother.

The Schreiners settled in Chicago where, in 1890, childless still by then, they brought her niece Hattie — Emma’s oldest child — to America to live with them.2

In 1904, Auguste’s sister and brother, Anna and Emil Graumüller, followed in the Schreiners’ footsteps, traveling on the SS Graf Waldersee, leaving Hamburg on 23 September 1904 and arriving at Ellis Island on 6 October 1904. Hamburg departure records show Anna Graumüller, age 36, “hausmadch.” (house servant), traveling with Emil Graumüller, age 39, “korbm.” (basketmaker).3 They gave their U.S. destination as Chicago, Illinois, and identified Franz Schreiner as a brother in law (“broth il.”) residing at Bischoffstrasse 4839 (4839 Bishop Street).4

Next, Anna went back to Germany and brought another niece — Elisabeth Graumüller — back to America with her in 1907.5

Chain migration

You can find most of these people in Chicago on the 1910 census.6 Emil may have been missed by the enumerators — at least I can’t find him in the census7 — but in December 1910, he filed a petition for naturalization in the U.S. District Court for Chicago, giving his address as 4839 So. Bishop — the Schreiners’ address.8

They were followed, in January 1923, by another niece, Hattie’s sister Elly, who arrived on the SS President Harding on January 17, 1923, and listed Hattie’s new husband, Paul Knop, as her relative in the United States.9

March of that same year brought another niece to America — Hattie’s and Elly’s sister, Martha Geissler Benschura, who arrived on the SS President Arthur.10

Martha’s sons Alfred and Willy then joined their mother in January of 1924, arriving on the SS George Washington.11

And it was that same ship — the SS George Washington — that brought the last of our family’s immigrants to America. Arriving on 6 February 1925, my grandparents Hugo Ernst and Marie (Nuckel) Geissler and my then-three-year-old father Hugo Hermann Geissler were the tail end of our particular immigration parade.12

These immigrants primarily spoke German at home. They sang in groups called the Damenchor. Their obituaries were published in German-language newspapers. They visited family back in Germany. They lamented the splintering of family caused by the Second World War.

Yet though these immigrants personally may not ever have fully assimilated in the United States, they most assuredly contributed directly and personally to this country.

In many cases, they married here in America.

They worked long and hard here in America.

They paid taxes here in America.

They sent their children to school here in America.

They — and their children — and grandchildren — and great grandchildren — are my family.

And their children — and grandchildren — and great grandchildren — most assuredly are fully assimilated and contribute directly and personally to this country.

We have served this nation in the United States Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy.

In the civilian service of the United States and of several states.

In the ranks of the medical profession. The legal profession. As educators. As scientists.

As parents.

And even as grandparents.

This is what my family looks like.

We are precisely what “chain migration” really looks like.

And we’re damned proud of it.


SOURCES

  1. See 1910 U.S. census, City of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 1272, p. 20A (penned), family 345, Frank Schreiner household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing National Archive microfilm publication T624, roll 275.
  2. Manifest, SS Rhein, August 1890, page 7 (penned), passenger 329, Hedwig Geisler; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication M255, roll 48.
  3. Departure List, SS Graf Waldersee, page 1792, lines 23-24, Emil Graumüller, age 39, and Anna Graumüller, age 36; “Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018), citing Staatsarchive Hamburg, 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 159 A, Seite 1792 (Mikrofilm Nr. K_1785).
  4. Manifest, SS Graf Waldersee, page 31 (stamped), lines 29-30, Emil Graumüller, age 39, and Anna Graumüller, age 36; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 501.
  5. Manifest, SS Pretoria, 23 August 1907, stamped page 160, lines 13-14, Anna Nitschke and Elisabeth Graumüller; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 972.
  6. For the Schreiners and Hattie, see 1910 U.S. census, Chicago, Cook Co., Ill., pop. sch., ED 1272, p. 20A (penned), fam. 345, Frank Schreiner household. For Anna and Elisabeth, see ibid., fam. 344, Anna Nitckle household.
  7. Not even by a line-by-line examination of the records for Enumeration District 1272, which encompassed the area where his sisters, brother-in-law and nieces lived.
  8. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Petition for Naturalization, Emil Graumueller, 29 Dec 1910; Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009, Record Group 21, National Archives, Chicago.
  9. Manifest, SS President Harding, 17 January 1923, stamped page 131, line 1, Elly Nasgowitz; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3244.
  10. Manifest, SS President Arthur, 19 March 1923, stamped page 125, line 2, Martha Benschura; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3269.
  11. Manifest, SS President Arthur, 19 March 1923, stamped page 125, lines 15-16, Willy and Alfred Benschura; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3439.
  12. Manifest, SS George Washington, 6 February 1925, stamped page 59, lines 4-6, Hugo, Marie and Hugo Geissler; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T715, roll 3605.
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