Discovering our Ancestors' Travels and Travails

After seeing how the Maciejewski name was misspelled in German and American records, and knowing that Jan and Weronika Lewandowska Maciejewski came to America with their baby Antoni about 1884, I was inspired to again try to find the record of their arrival in the United States.

Decades ago I had tried to find their names in the series of books Germans to America, lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, without success. I had found my mother’s parents, grandmother, aunts, uncles, and their cousins in records from Ellis Island. However, Ellis Island did not open until 1892, and the Maciejewski family had arrived about 1884. The Szczepanski family had arrived even earlier, in 1881.

The Ellis Island website states “Prior to 1890, the individual states (rather than the Federal government) regulated immigration into the United States. Castle Garden in the Battery (originally known as Castle Clinton) served as the New York State immigration station from 1855 to 1890 and approximately eight million immigrants, mostly from Northern and Western Europe, passed through its doors.”

The Battery Conservancy now has a website with a searchable database at . Immigrant arrivals from 1820 through 1892 were indexed. I decided to try to find my Maciejewski ancestors again.

The database is much better than I had remembered from several years ago, and this time I kept at it until it worked. I tried the obvious: Maciejewski. There were 50 results, but not my family. There were 138 Jan Ma*ski, and 105 Johann Ma*ski. Six of them were in 1884, but again, not my family. I looked for Veronica and Weronika (Polish spelling) without success. Nor did Anton and Antoni work.

I expanded my options, and widened the search to 1883-1885, and I found Veronika!

1883 Veronika Madrewski Battery Park

A search for MADREWSKI showed the family.

1883 New York Arrival

They had arrived 21 December 1883 at the Port of New York.

The Hamburg passenger manifest showed that Johann‘s occupation was Arbeiter (worker) and the family’s residence was Zynilobloth, Westpreußen. The ship Rhaetia flying under the German flag of the shipping line Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft under Captain Vogelgesang departed Hamburg 5 Dec 1883.

1883 Hamburg Passenger List

I was able to find a picture of the ship at the Norway Heritage site.

Hamburg America Line steamship Rhaetia (1)

Hamburg America Line steamship Rhaetia (1)


Norway Heritage

Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2008.
Original data: Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Bestand: 373-7 I, VIII (Auswanderungsamt I). Mikrofilmrollen K 1701 – K 2008, S 17363 – S 17383, 13116 – 13183.

The Battery Conservancy

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF)

Comments on: "Maciejewski Family Arrived in New York 21 December 1883" (6)

  1. […] According to census and other records, our grandfather Antoni Maciejewski was born in 1883 and came to America with his parents, […]


  2. […] December 1883, Jan and Weronika Lewandowska Maciejewski immigrated to Buffalo, New York, with their infant Antoni. The family grew with the arrival of Konstanty […]


  3. […] and Weronika were married in Nieżywięć, West Prussia, in 1869 and immigrated to the United States with their infant son in 1883. I had wondered what had happened in the fourteen […]


  4. […] father’s grandparents Jan Maciejewski and Weronika Lewandowska immigrated to the United States in 1883 when my grandfather…. I had identified their descendant families in America and knew my father’s cousins and my […]


  5. […] November, I presented “Maciejewski Family History,” about Jan, Weronika, and my grandfather Antoni Maciejewski, the small family who immigrated from West Prussia to Buffalo, New York in […]


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