Passenger Ships Index
German East Africa Line, Hamburg
Paul S. Valasek Hallersarmy@aol.com
Many genealogical researchers usually start with migration from Europe to North America. For most of us, this is quite useful and will answer most of our questions. But since the Internet and wealth of info provided through it, we can now see migrations from all over the world at all times of history. Not just Hamburg or Bremen to New York and back again.
In the past, PolishRoots has listed names of Polish and Jewish immigrants who left Europe and sailed for new homes in South America. This area of immigration is now starting to blossom with ever increasing information available on-line. For many of our "Polish" cousins who live in Australia and New Zealand, more and more of their families' travels, whether voluntary or forced, are coming to light. But now there is another area which admittedly is more limited and may not be as fruitful pickings as say Le Havre to Boston. BUT, if one's relative did not go from Southampton to New York, but instead, went from Hamburg to Dar-es-Salam, well, you need to know these things.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, a very large portion of Africa was being colonized by Germany, France, Holland, and England. Natural riches are desirable no matter where they may be located, and the African continent was quite the location for economic development. Thus the need for ships to make the passages transporting families, workers, miners, farmers, and developers into a very wealthy yet underdeveloped continent. Much has been said about shipping from the west coast of Africa as slavery was the number one cargo. But there is also an east coast of Africa, adjacent to the Indian Ocean which had its share of activity, good and bad. Even today, the name Somalia, located on the Horn of Africa is often in world news.
Following is a list of passengers' names for a sailing taken July 1910 from the German East Africa Line's offices in Naples, Italy to exotic locations as Port Said Egypt, Kilidini Kenya, Tanga, Zanzibar, Chinde, and Dar-es-Salam Tanzania, Beira and Quelimane, Mozambique. The ship was the "Kronprinz" in English, the Crown Prince, built in 1900 and later captured by the Portuguese during World War I, in 1916. Though most of the names are German or English, wherever a German immigrant traveled, usually a Pole was not far behind. Granted, the East Coast of Africa was not high on the list of Polish migration, but anything and everything is possible, and must be considered. I have also seen a surprising number of Polish names listed as crew members on German vessels which would be considered very normal, especially for those Poles in the Prussian partition near the Baltic.
If you are having problems visualizing this time frame and place, just watch the movie, African Queen to see exactly the circumstances which developed in this region in the early 20th Century. Some of the passengers are indeed doctors, poltical officers, and even nuns most likely to do missionary work.
To view a sample of the "news" printed by the steamship company for their passengers, check out his page.