Johann Berend Petermann (1843-1909)
His Years At Sea (1859 - 1873)

Petermann Introduction - Petermann in Ganderkesee - Johann Berend Petermann - Bremen/Bremerhaven - Bremen Sailors - Home

Johann Berend (Bernard) Petermann (1843-1909) a Brief Biographical Sketch

Johannne Berend Petermann (AKA Johann, John and Bernard) was born in Ganderkesse, Duchy of Oldenberg, Germany in 1843, the son of Johann Christopher Petermann and Gesche Margarete Engelbart(h).

Berend Petermann spent 14 years at sea with German commercial shipping lines.

Berend Petermann married Sophie Steuer in Elfleth, Germany in 1879. At the time of his marriage he was listed as a helmsman.

The Petermanns immigrated to the US sometime between their marriage in 1879 and the birth of their son, Christian August, who was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1883.

They had five children: Johann Bernard (1879), Christian August (1883), Wilhelm (1884) who died as a infant, Meta (1886 and Anna (1887).

The family settled in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Berend Petermann died in Hoboken in 1909.

For more information on Johann Berend Petermann go to Berend


Ganderkesee is a municipality located between Bremen and Oldenberg in Lower Saxony. Today Ganderkesee contains 25 hamlets. J Berend Peterman was listed as living in the hamlet of Hoyerswege on the Bremen Crew lists from 1867 to 1872.

Perhaps because of its proximity to Bremen, one of the major port cities in Europe, many young men from Ganderkesee went to sea.

To see images of Ganderkesee go to Ganderkesee

Berend Petermann from the Bremen German Ship's Crew List

Johann Berend Petermann first went to sea at the age of 16. By the time he was 30 he had signed on for 12 tours of duty which took him "around the world" several times. He spent 14 years at sea; his last voyage was in 1873. From my armchair point of view it seems like a great adventure.

Berend's first voyage was to Greenland on a whaler in the winter of 1859. Later that same year he sailed for the Far East — destination Hong Kong. In April 1861 the ship he was on was turned back from Charleston, North Carolina a few days after the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter starting the American Civil War. He headed for South America in the fall of 1861 and continued on to China. I believe that he spent two plus years in the Orient before leaving his ship in New York in 1864.

In the spring of 1867 Berend Petermann was back in Germany where he signed up for a trip to Bahia, Brazil. He made two tours to Baltimore in 1868 and a tour to New York in 1869. In 1870 headed "to sea" on the bark TEXAS the ship was recorded as sailing to Germany from Philadelphia. On July 19th she was forced to take refuge from the French warships in Stornoway, Scotland. In 1871 and 1872 Berend sailed twice to the West Indies. I do not know if he completed the trip in August of 1871. The ship was headed to Aspinwell in the Isthmus of Panama, but was towed to Southampton on August 17th. In the fall of 1872 and the spring of 1873 he traveled back and forth from Bremen to New York.

He started as a common seaman but by 1872 he was a helmsman. The helmsman is the person who steers the ship. On the old sailing ships any "able bodied seaman" could steer the ship. However, I believe that the designation that Berend received as "helmsman" was more specific. The crew lists indicate that the helmsman was separate occupation and they received a higher pay than seamen.

Berend Petermann was not listed on the Bremen Crew Lists after 1873. However, I believe that he was still employed on the water. He was listed in the port of Elfleth, German as a "pilot". A pilot guides boats in harbors or waterways where a specific knowledge of the underwater topography is needed. Elsfleth is on the Weser River, a shallow waterway that connects the major German port cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven. The Weser is/was plagued by shifting sand bars and silting.

The Voyages

The following list of voyages was taken from the Bremen Sailors Registry and the Bremen Crew Lists.

Berend Petermann was listed 12 times.

I do not know how the Sailors Registry was organized and annotated. It is not in alphabetical order.

Each entry was listed under 9 headings:

  1. Position (such as helmsman)
  2. Year of birth
  3. Date of enlistment
  4. (word) gage = [salary]
  5. Captain
  6. Ship
  7. Destination
  8. Entlassen = [muster out] (this is given in months and days)
  9. Bemerkungen [remarks], sometimes this entry is a number*, often it is gut [good] or sehr gut [very good], sometimes no remarks were made.

The writing for all of the entries for Berend is the same.

I assume that the muster out date would not be know until the end of the trip. The "remarks" could not have been added until the end of the trip.

*A No. always seems to have been given after the first voyage. If a seaman continued on a number of voyages he sometimes received future NO.s as he went along, but I do not know what the numbers signified.

The Crew Lists were organized by year. Each crew member was entered under 11 categories:

  1. Month
  2. Date
  3. No ??
  4. No ??
  5. Name
  6. Birthplace, city or town
  7. Location
  8. Birth year
  9. Classification, such as officer, sailor cook, etc.
  10. Seitmann (???) Burger (???) (This entry would be something like "Old", "Han", "Prs" - I am assuming it is the area of Germany)
  11. Wage
The Captain, the name of the ship, type of ship and destination were listed alongside of the crew list.

I do not know if the ship always reached its stated designation. Sometimes collaborating records help to determine if the ship made it to the destination.

31 January 1859 to July 5, 1859 on the Bremer "Schiff" [ship] HUDSON — Whaling in Greenland (Grönland)

Berend Petermann Ganderkesee age 16, leichtmatrose ["light sailor" — common seaman], Capt. Martin from Bremerhaven nach der [after] Rotterinkuste?? und Greenland, January 31 1859 with a crew of 59

Remarks: No. 7636

(Ships Crew List)

The Sailor's Registry for Berend Petermann does not list the length of time he spend at sea on this voyage. However, the registry for fellow crew member, Johann Bruns of Leuchtenberg age 18, indicates that the HUDSON was out for 6 months and 5 days.

In January 1859 the HUDSON had a crew of 59 including the captain. The crew included two other men from Ganderkesee: J. H. Engelberg age 45 and Heinr Meyer age 18.

The HUDSON was originally an American ship called the MARY PHILLIPS. She was purchased by a Bremen firm and rechristened the HUDSON in 1849. For several years she was used as a transport ship bringing emigrants to New York and tobacco and cotton back to Germany. In 1858, the HUDSON was purchased by the Bremen firm of B. Grovermann & Co. and was used as a whaler until 1870. See MARY PHILLIPS on the Palmer List of Merchant Vessels. This web site includes an image of the ship stuck in the ice when it was the Bremen ship HUDSON (Bremer Schiff Hudson und Engl. Bark True Love in der Davisstrass Melver Baj den 26 Julius 1862". 16.5 x 23.5 cm. Focke-Museum, Bremen)

Beluga, Narwhal and Bowhead whales are found in the Greenland in the winter and the whaling industry was active there in 1859.

Berend's brother, Johann Heinrich Peterman, had been on the same trip the year before. Johann Heinrich Petermann was away 5 months and 10 days when he traveled to Greenland in January 1858.

Interestingly, 1859 marked the beginning of the end of whale fishing. Oil was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania; As a result the use of whale oil as lubricant decreased and kerosene replace whale oil for lighting.

Other Sailings of the HUDSON:

  • On September 18, 1850 the ship HUDSON, 394 tons, arrived in the port of New York under the command of Herm Hohorst from Bremen with the following count of passengers: "23 cabin, 11 steerage 148 under deck including six babies"

  • The ship HUDSON under the command of Capt. Hohorst arrived in New York July 7, 1852, with 192 passengers on board. 49 year old Lud Florks died at sea living his wife and 4 children to go on.

  • In 1862 the HUDSON was in Melville Bay (Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, Volume 21 edited by August Petermann, Ernst Behm, Alexander Goerg Supan, Paul Max Harry Langhans, Nikolaus Creutzburg, Hermann Haack)

    Melville Bay is a large bay of the northwestern coat of Greenland.

  • In 1868, an undistinguished season of seal and whale hunting, the HUDSON was lucky enough to catch at least one 50 feet "fish". This catch resulted in 150 tons of whale oil and 1,300 pounds of baleen.
  • (Die arktische Fischerei der deutschen Seestädte: 1620 - 1868 : in ... By Moritz Lindeman)

The crew on the whaler Hudson in 1868 included: the commander, helmsman, "bacon cutter", "bacon cutter"maat" [Speckschneidersmaat], first and second harpooner, boatmen, "oberküuper (who was in charge of all barrel work), "Schiemann" (who works with the barrels in some way), carpenter. The team was divided into seamen and non-seamen. (Die arktische Fischerei der deutschen Seestädte: 1620 - 1868 : in ... By Moritz Lindeman)

With the kind permission of the Focke-Museum Bremer Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Bremen Germany

"Bremer Schiff Hudson und Engl Bark True Love in der Davidstrasse Melver Bai der 26 Julius 1862"

[The Bremen Ship Hudson and the English Bark True Love in the Davis Straits Melville Bay, 26 July 1862]

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


You Tube song and several fabulous contemporary images of whaling in Greenland in the mid 1800s.

Die zweite Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in den Jahren 1869 und 1870 unter Fuhrung ... By Karl Koldewey, Verein fur die Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in Bremen, June 2012

Snow covered deck

Die zweite Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in den Jahren 1869 und 1870 unter Fuhrung ... By Karl Koldewey, Verein fur die Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in Bremen, June 2012

Stuck in the Ice

Die zweite Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in den Jahren 1869 und 1870 unter Fuhrung ... By Karl Koldewey, Verein fur die Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in Bremen, June 2012

Polar Bears

Die zweite Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in den Jahren 1869 und 1870 unter Fuhrung ... By Karl Koldewey, Verein fur die Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in Bremen, June 2012

Nebensonnen - mocking sun

Die zweite Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in den Jahren 1869 und 1870 unter Fuhrung ... By Karl Koldewey, Verein fur die Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in Bremen, June 2012

Do a Google book search for Die zweite Deutsche Nordpolarfahrt in den Jahren 1869 und 1870 unter Fuhrung by Karl Koldewey for more amazing images of the Arctic in the winter.

Print collection Maggie Land Blanck, June 2012

Icebergs in Melville Bay

Print collection Maggie Land Blanck, June 2012

South Strom-Fiord, Greenland, The Great Inland Glacier in the Distance, The Illustrated London News, Dec 4, 1875

Print collection Maggie Land Blanck, June 2012



Print collection Maggie Land Blanck, June 2012


Print collection Maggie Land Blanck, June 2012

Balaena mysticetus - Common Greenland Whale

Print collection Maggie Land Blanck, June 2012

Courtesy of Kathy Land, March 2011


Bowhead Whales

The bowhead whale was a mainstay of the whaling industry. The bowhead was found only in the Arctic. It was hunted for its oil and baleen (whalebone).

This material is now scraped very fine, and mixed with the silk fibre of dress silks, to make the cloth rustle when worn, and also give it stiffness. It is now of such high value commercially that the baleen whales are being pursued as far north as vessels can go."

Whale oil is no longer the valuable commodity it was forty years ago, but the hunt for baleen will ultimately exterminate all the whales of this Family. The Bow-Head Whale is of medium size, rarely attaining 65 feet, and usually runs under 50; yet it is uncommonly rich, both in baleen and oil. A large whale of this species is said to yield 275 barrels of oil, and 3,500 pounds of whalebone.

The American natural history: a foundation of useful knowledge of the higher ... By William Temple Hornaday, 1914

Bowhead whales can grow up to 66 feet in length and are the longest living mammal. It is though that these whales can live up to 200 years. In 2007 a bowhead whale caught in Alaska had a harpoon from the 1890s embedded in it's neck blubber.

It is possible that there are whales still living off Greenland that were there when Berend Petermann went whale hunting in 1859!!

22 October 1859 to January 25, 1861 on the Schiff JOHANN LANGE to England and Hong Kong

Berend Petermann born 1843, Ganderkesee, muster date 22 October 1859, Captain Lamke, ship JOHANN LANGE, destination, England and Hong Cong, junge duration of service 15 months 4 days.

Remarks: Gut - No. 1749

(Sailors Registry)

Berend's address was given as Mittelsburenm; his title was "junge" [young]. Also on this ship with the same date of muster was Friederich Petermann, residence Ganderkesee, born 1820, kocke [cook]*. There was a crew of 27. The Captain was Johann Lamke. (Information from the Crew List.)

This would have been the first time that Berend "crossed the line" that is, the Equator. On many vessels there was an initiation ceremony the first time a sailor crossed the line.

The area around the Equator suffers from long calms and alternatively, in certain seasons, to violent hurricanes.

To see an image of the JOHANN LANGE go to Ask Art .

The Palmer List does not include information on the JOHANN LANGE. Johann Lange (1775-1844) was a famous ship builder in Bremen.

The JOHANN LANGE had been in service since at least 1853:

  • December 14, 1853, Ship Johann Lange Captain Johann Lemke, Bremerhave through Liverpool 1050 tons, passengers 553, most of the passengers were Irish, 3 German cabin passengers, 3 female deaths, 1 male death (Ship Manifest).

  • June 19, 1854 the New York Times listed: "Arrived Ship Johann Lange, (Brem.) Lamke, Bremen 38ds [38 days] with mdse and passengers to L. Von Hoffman".

    Captain Johann Lamke, Bremen, Ship Johann Lange from Bremen, 1052 tons, 552 passengers, 8 deaths (Ship Manifest)

  • Alfred Russel Wallaces's record of his consignments to Samuel Stevens, 1854-1861 Page 13
    A fifth lot of orchids, from Simunjon, sent by the 'Weraff', left Sarawak 19 May1855, arrived Singapore 24 May, left Singapore by the 'Johann Lange' [?]; these 'arrived all dead'.
  • November 5, 1855 Allen's Indian Mail Southampton
    SHIPPING ARRIVALS October 22, Johann Lange Singapore
  • October 8, 1856, ship Johann Lange, Captain Joh. Lamke, from Bremen, 465 passengers, a child born and died at sea. (Ship Manifest)

  • August 28, 1864 New York Times, Arrived New York, August 27 Ship Johann Lange, (Brem.,) [captain] Lamke Bremen 37 ds., in ballast and 436 passengers to [agent] Hermann Koop. (Ship Manifest)

  • In 1854 and 1864 the trip from Bremen to New York took 37/38 days.

Since the JOHANN LANGE had made several runs from Bremerhaven to New York under Capt. Lemke in the years preceding Berend's enlistment I though that they might have headed to Hong Kong via New York. However, I could not find an arrival of the JOHANN LANGE in New York in the late fall of 1859.

In 1859 the Suez and Panama canals did not yet exist. Before these canals opened the trip from Germany to the Orient required either going around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa or Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America. Both routes were used from Europe to the East (and back). The decision to go around Cape Horn versus Cape Hope was dependent to some extent on the time of the year and the prevailing winds.

In 1866 the route from Liverpool to the east was around "the Cape" to Mauritius, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai (Encyclopedia Britannica Vol 25). Cargo going east was generally manufactured good. Cargo retuning were teas and spices.

The Suez Canal opened in 1869. Passage through the canal shortened the eastern bound trip from Europe to Asia. In 1889 when the ship BREMEN traveled through the Suez Canal to Hong Kong the following Ports of Call and dates were noted: Port Said 04-20, Aden 04-27, Singapore 05-11, Hong Kong 05-16, Shanghai 05-21, Hong Kong 06-04 - taking a little less than a month from Port Said to Hong Kong.

The Panama Canal opened in 1915. Before this canal opened ships went around Cape Horn. Another alternative after 1855 was to sail to Aspinwall (AKA Colon) on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus of Panama. From there goods and people were moved by train to the Pacific side where other ships were waiting to continue the journey.

Berend Petermann returned to Germany sometime around January 25, 1861, 15 months after he had departed. He was "home" for a little over two months. He left Germany on the next trip on April 9, 1861.

* The records as researched so far indicate a fairly close relationship between the family of Berend Petermann and Friedrich Petermann.

Notes: The Clipper ship, ORIENT, sailed from Hong Kong to London in 97 days in 1850. Clipper ships were the fastest ships on the seas. Technically I suppose the Johann Lange could have made it from Bremen to Hong Kong and back in 15 months. Ships that moved this fast were usually carrying light perishable goods, such as tea.

The Johann Lange by Fritz Muller, 1857

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


9 April 1861 to August 23, 1861 on the Bark COPERNICUS to Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Berend Petermann age 18 residence Ganderkesee, muster date 9 April 1861, ship, Copernicus, port of departure, Bremen, destination, Charleston, South Carolina, Berend Petermann born Ganderkesee 1843 living Ganderkesee, leichtmatrose [light sailor], captain H Mahnken [Hermann Mahnken] duration of service 4 months and 14 days

Remarks: Gut

The crew numbered 15 - no one else from Ganderkesee.

Because of the way it was rigged a bark could sail with a smaller crew than a ship.

The American Civil War erupted between the North and the South on April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The fort surrendered to the South 34 hours later. President Lincoln ordered a blockade on Charleston harbor on April 19, 1861.

The Bark COPERNICUS left Germany on April 9 1861 bound for Charleston, S. C.. She ran afoul of the U. S. naval blockade of Charleston on June 2, 1861 - almost 2 months later. What was she doing all that time? Did the crossing take that long? Did she make it into Charleston harbor and get warned off on her way out? Or was she somewhere else and did not try to get into Charleston harbor until the beginning of June?

"On the 2d of June, I warned off a Bremen bark, the Copernicus, from Bremen for Charleston, in ballast.*

Nothing thus far has gone in or out without my permission, except small vessels, which our depth of water will not allow us to overtake"

S. H. Stringham, Flag-Officer, Atlantic Blockading Squadron

Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion By Naval War Records Office, United States Navy Dept, United States Naval War Records Office, United States, United States Office of Naval Records and Library Published by Govt. Print. Off., 1897 Item notes: ser.1 v.5 1861/1865 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized Mar 2, 2006

* "in ballast" — a ship carrying ballast water and no cargo. It is very interesting that she had no cargo. I could mean she unloaded cargo in Charleston and because of the war there was no cargo to pick up. It is unlikely she came all the way from Germany in ballast and then hung around for a few weeks.

Abstract of log of U. S. big Petty. Lieutenant E. G. Parrott, U. S. Navy, commanding.

June 3, 1861. — (Latitude, 32°47; longitude, 78°52') Boarded Bremen bark Copernicus, bound for Baltimore. She certified that she had been boarded by the Minnesota and warned not to enter any port south of the Chesapeake."

Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion By United States. Naval War Records Office

Charleston, South Carolina is at latitude, 32°54 longitude, 79°58'.

Berend Petermann returned to Germany around August 23, 1861.

The Baltimore passenger lists indicate that the Bark COPERNICUS arrived "from Bremen" in Baltimore on June 11, 1861 under Captain H. Mahnken. Left Bremen April 13, 1861 with one passenger, J. B--ars age 17, male, from Oldenburg. There is no other information,

Berend left Germany on his next trip on October 25, 1861.

See Copernicus (1851) on the Palmer List of Merchant Vessels.

" The Bremen bark COPERNICUS was built at Vegesack/Grohn by Johann Lange, for the Bremen firm of N. Gloystein Söhne, and was launched on 16 April 1851. 223 Commerzlasten / 481 tons; 37,8 x 8,8 x 4,9 meters (length x beam x depth of hold). Her masters were, in turn, Heinrich Wieting, Bremerhaven (1851-1857), C. J. H. Rahe, Bremen, Hermann Mahnken, Vegesack (1860), and J. Haesloop, Vegesack (1864)."
The Palmer list includes an image of the ship.

With the kind permission of the Freie Hansestadt Bremen Staatsarchiv, Am Staatsarchiv 1, 28203 Bremen, March 2012

Copernicus (1851) Oil Painting by Fritz Muller, 1852

Find Latitude and Longitude, March 2012

Approximate location of the Bark Copernicus when it was turned back by the Union Blockage. About 60 miles off from Charleston Harbor.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Blockade of Charleston Harbor, Harper's Weekly September 21, 1861

"Vandalia" The Prize "Arthur Middleton" "Roanoke"

Blockade of Charleston

25 October 1861 to April 1864 on the Bark APOLLO to Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina (on to China and back to New York City before returning to Bremen, Germany)

Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Ganderkesee, date of muster 25 October 1861 ship Apollo, POD Bremen, destination, Montevideo, Uruguay, Ncah Buenos Aires, Argentina leichtmatrose [light sailor], captain Hagedorn (Muster list for the Apollo, October 1861.) duration of service "desertion April 17, 1864, New York City" - 2 years and 6 months after he left Germany

Remarks: Desertion 17 April 1864

The Bark APOLLO is not listed as a German ship by the Palmer List. The 1861 Crew List designates it as a "bark". Norway Heritage - Bark shows a typical Bark.

Berend was listed as "matrose" [seaman, sailor], living Mettlesburen, born Ganderkesee. Crew of 14 - no one else from Ganderkesee.

The APOLLO was captained by A. Hagedorn when it left Bremen in 1861; destination Argentina via Montevideo and Uruguay. The APOLLO traveled father than its stated destination of Argentina. The arrival of the bark APOLLO posted in New York City in April 1864 indicated that the ship came from China with Hagedorn as its captain.

This would suggest that they continued their 1861 journey from Argentina and Uruguay by rounding Cape Horn and sailing on to China. The passage around Cape Horn presented many discomforts and hazards including cold weather, high precipitation, strong winds, strong currents, large waves, and icebergs. They most likely went around Cape Horn both going to and returning from China.

A Port of Call may have included Sidney, Australia.

New York Times April 13, 1864 — Marine Intelligence — Arrived — Bark Apollo, (Brem.) Hagedorn, Shangai 118 ds* via St Helena**, February 10 with teas etc to Thayl and Peabody. Has had heavy winds from Bermuda.

*118 days out of Shanghai - about 4 months

** St Helena, where Napoleon was exiled after Waterloo, is a small and windswept island in the Southern Atlantic almost 2000 kilometres west of Africa. It measures only 47 square miles. It was an important stopover for ships sailing from Asia to Europe.

Bernard Petermann was on the Bark APOLLO from October 1861 to April 1864 - two years and six months. The ship left Germany when he was 18 years old and he was 21 when it arrived in New York. Did he know when he signed up to go to Argentina that the destination would, in fact, be China. Was he Shanghaied? (Shanghaiing was the practice of conscripting sailors by underhanded techniques.)

Two years and six months was not an unreasonable time to go from Germany to Asia and back. According to several web sites circumnavigation of the world could take 3 or 4 years.

On April 17, 1864 Berend Peterman was listed as a deserter on list of deserters (Deserteurlisten):

"Petermann, Berend of Ganderkesee born 1843 Matrose [sailor] on the ship Apollo gr--- A. Hagedorn, deserted ship on 17 April 1864 in New York"
Note: I cannot read several words and phrases. The writing is small and crowded and the photo copy is fuzzy.

"Desertion" meant that the sailor failed to complete the voyage. I do not know if there were penalties involved. "Desertion" from the Bremen crews seems to have been relatively common. Many of the men who "deserted" (including Berend Petermann) sailed again at a latter date. It would appear that many "missed" rather than deserted. (On the other hand many men did enlist in Bremen and intentionally desert in New York.)

Whatever the case, Berend Petermann returned to the sea in 1867.

How did Berend Petermann get from New York in April 1864 to Bremen by the spring of 1867? What did he do during that period of time? He was not listed on any additional voyages on the "Sailors Registry" between 1864 and 1867 (when he sailed on the brig Dorothea). Was he living in America for all or part of that time?

Additional Notes:

  • Montevideo was a 23 day sail from Rio in 1810
  • Ships regularly went from Montevideo to Buenos Aires on the route to China
  • in 1886 the German "Bark Apollo" arrived in San Francisco 21 days from Honolulu with a cargo of sugar
_ld from Gravesend 10th Apollo Hagedorn, to Rangoon (New York Harold January 6, 1859

Port of New York January 29, 1866, CLEARED, Bark Apollo (Brem.), Warnken, Bremen - Scholberg & Koper.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck



Le Porte de Montevideo a recu, en 1873, 1,818 Navires (907,328 tonneaux) anglais, francais, italines, espagnols, bresiliens, allemands, des Etats-Unis, suedois, hollandais, argentins, etc. "

[The Port of Montevideo received in 1873, 1.818 vessels (907, 328 tons) English french, italines, Spanish, Brazilian, German, U.S., Swedish, Dutch, Argentina, etc..]

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Buenos Ayres

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Un bateau des fleurs (restaurant, lieu de plaisir) a Shang-Hai [A boat with flowers (restaurant, a place of pleasure) in Shang-Hai]

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

St Helena

17 August 1867 to January 26, 1868 on the Brig DOROTHEA to Bahia, Brazil

Berend Petermann, born 1843 resident Hoyerswege, muster date 17 August 1867, ship, Dorothea, port of departure, Bremen, destination, Bahia, Brasilien Matrose [sailor]. Captain Fangmeyer, duration of service 5 months and 9 days

Remarks: I cannot read the remarks which are two lines of very small fuzzy script. The only word I can make out is "mit" [with]. Underneath the two lines of script is the word Gut

Note: Fangmeyer had also been captain of the DOROTHEA in 1864, see New York Times January 1864, below.

This is the first voyage that Bernard made after his "desertion" in 1864.

I did not find an image of the DORETHEA. The Crew list designates it as a "brig". Berend was listed as a "montrose". There were 9 crew members, no one else from Ganderkesee.

New York Times Marine Intelligence January 21, 1864:

"Brig Dorothea, (Brem.), Fangmeyer, Bahia 43 ds., with sugar to order. Had heavy weather on the coast; 17th inst., lat. 37 31 Pon. 75 09, passed a large vessel's mast projecting about 30 feet above water, and apparently attached to the hull; had no yards then, and very little rigging."*

Seeing that the DOROTHEA had docked in NYC in 1864 on her way from Bahia. I checked, but did not find the DOROTHEA listed as arriving in New York Harbor between 17 August 1867 and 26 January 1868 - it would appear that she was not making runs between Bremerhaven and Bahia via New York during that period. In fact, the route from Europe to Bahia appears to have been past the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Western Africa.

Exports from Bahia in the mid 1800s were : sugar, cacao and tobacco.

A German colony was founded at Sao Jorge dos Ilheus (Ilheus), Bahia, Brazil in 1818. Ilheus was a port city and the center of Brazilian cocoa export. There were large cocoa plantations cultivated by the German colonist in the area. I do not know if there was any connection between the trip to Bahia in 1864 and these cocoa plantations, however, it seems quite possible. Berend Petermann returned to Germany about January 26, 1868.

He left on his next trip on April 8 1868.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


8 April 1868 to August 9, 1868 on the Bark CLARA to Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Hoyersege, muster date 8 April 1868, ship, Clara, port of departure, Bremen, destination, Baltimore, Maryland, matrose, captian J D Probst Jur. duration of service 4 months and 1 day

I did not find an image of the CLARA. A bark (bargue) was a 3 masted vessel with fore and main masts square rigged.

www.immigrantships indicates that over the years the CLARA was an immigrant ship. They did not have any listings for 1868 (as of November 2010).

Crew of 13 - no one else from Ganderkesee - "montose" - Captian Probst.

  • New York Times Marine Intelligence, April 6, 1866 — Arrived Bark Clara, (Brem) Probst, Rotterdam 42 days with mdse and 18 passengers in order
  • Bark Clara arrived in the Port of Baltimore on August 3, 1867 and 23 December 1872 by Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.
  • On August 2, 1867 the New York Times reported that the "Clara - Bremen bark, from Bremen for Baltimore 25th ist., 40 miles east of George's - (by pilot-boat W. H. Aspinwal, No 21)"
  • The Charleston daily news., October 12, 1868, Image 2, very fuzzy The Bark Clara Captain ----, from Bremen to Baltimore
  • New York Times Marine Intelligence, January 19, 1870 — "Bark Clara (N.G.) Probst, Rotterdam 48 ds with mdse to Fruch Edye & Co. — vessel to F. Schwoon. Came the sourthern passage and had fine weather, ; Dec 15 lat. 77 l-- 30, encountered a gale from S. W. during which lost foretopmast and both top gallant masts."
The Baltimore Passenger lists indicate that the Clara made the following voyage to Baltimore between April 8, 1868 and August 9, 1868
  1. Clara, from Bremen, Johann Daniel Probst, from Bremerhaven, 197 alien passengers, 3 citizens, to (tear) Kapff (?) and Arens, owners, Bremen & Co. North German Bark Clara, Arrival June 8, 1868

Berend Peterman returned to Germany around August 9 1868.

He left on his next trip on August 28, 1868, signing up again for service on the Bark CLARA.

28 August 1868 to beginning of June, 1869 on the CLARA to Baltimore, Maryland

Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Hoyersege, muster date 28 August 1868, ship, Clara, port of departure, Bremen, destination, Baltimore, Maryland matrose, duration of service 8 months and 24 days

Crew of 13 - about half the crew were the same as the previous service on the CLARA.

Berend Petermann returned to Germany at the beginning of June 1869.

The Baltimore Passenger Lists on indicates that the CLARA made the following trips to Baltimore between August 1868 and the beginning of June 1869:

  1. Clara, Bremen, John Dan Probst, Bremerhaven, no. of aliens 123, no. of citizens, four, October 8, 1868 consignees Von Ka(tear) and Arens, owners, Shwoon & Co.

One voyage in 8 months - why?

Note: In 1867 the CLARA made three stops in Baltimore: April, August and December.

Berend Petermann left on his next trip on June 16, 1869.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Baltimore from Federal Hill

16 June 1869 until April 29, 1870 on the Ship CHARLOTTE to New York

Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Hoyerswege, muster date 16 June 1869, ship, Charlotte, port of departure, Bremen, destination, New York matrose, captain Gatjen, duration of service 10 months and 12 days

I did not an image of the CHARLOTTE. The Crew List designates it as a "schiff". She was consistently listed in the shipping news a "ship". Since there was a designation "steamship" in these reports we can assume that she was under sail and not steam powered.

The CHARLOTTE as an immigrant ship that made fairly regular runs between Bremerhaven and New York.

The Captain was between 1863 and Johann Heinhich Gatjen. Designations of (N.G.) and (N.G.L.) upon her arrivals in New York Harbor in 1868, 1869 and 1871 indicate that she was part of the North German Lloyd fleet. However, I cannot find her on any North German Lloyd lists on line.

Berend signed on to the Charlotte on 16 June 1869. The ship left Bremen on/or/about June 17 and arrived in New York Harbor August 5 after a 49 day crossing.

Sailings for the Charlotte from 1863 to 1881 indicate that she made a more or less regular run between Bremerhaven and New York, sometimes via other cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore and even New Orleans:

  • Ship Charlotte, (Brem.) Gatjen. Bremen 37 ds., with mdse. and 196 passengers to Hennings & Gosling. July 20, lat. 42 31, lon. 49 27, saw several icebergs. New York Times, August 3, 1863

  • New York Time Marine Intelligence November 29, 1866 — Arrived Ship Charlotte (Brem.) Gatjen, Bordeaux, October 18, with mdse to E. Caylus de Ruyter & Co. Has had heavy gales from the N. and W. the latter part of the passage; been 8 ds W of Montauk

    Not listed by; could mean she had no passengers

  • Cleared Ship Charlotte, (Brem.,) Gatjen, Bremen via Philadelphia, Funch, Meincke & Wendt, June 21, 1867, New York Times

    Ship Charlotte Bremerhaven to New York 7 June 1867, J. H. Gatjen, 457 passengers (

  • New York Time Marine Intelligence Saturday July 4, 1868 — Arrived, Ship Charlotte (N.G.) Gatjen, Bremen 57 ds. with mdse and 504 passengers to Hennings & Gosling. Had one death and two births on passage; first part of passage experienced stormy weather; light westerly winds for past fortnight; was in company for 10ds with British ship Pomona of St John N.B. from Liverpool to Quebec; parted company May 26 lat. 56 36 lon. 17 26 W.; June 11 lat 49 3 on. 36 signaled No. bark Cydae, from Belfast for Miram-chi; saw a number of icebergs from lat 44 to 47 lon. 45.

    July 6, 1868, J H Gatjen Ship Charlotte, Bremen, 1206 tons, 504 passengers, two month old infant died on voyage. (

  • Foreign Ports, Cannot Read Name of Port, April 22, Off Charlotte Gatjen from New Orleans for Bremen, May 12 1869 New York Herald

    Falmouth April ---, Off the Lizard 25th Ship charlotte "Gaetjen" from New Orleans to Bremen New York Herald, May 10, 1869

    May 26, 1869 Foreign Ports, Bremerhaven, May 9 arrived Ship Charlotte, Gatjen, from New Orleand, New York Herald

  • This was a ship that Berend was on.

    New York Times Marine Intelligence August 3 1869 — "Below" Ship Charlotte (N.G.) "Gatzen" from Bremen June 21, 1869.

    I am fairly sure that "below" meant that the ship was waiting for some reason in the area between Sandy Hook and Staten Island, in what is known as the Lower Bay. Maybe she was waiting for a berth to clear or was at quarantine.

    The manifest for the Charlotte indicates that she arrived August 05, 1869. show 3 pages for the manifest with a total of 100 passengers.

    August 6, 1869, New York Herald, Ship Charlotte (NGL) Gatjen, Bremen, 49 days with mdse and 100 passengers to master. Had fine weather during passage.

    August 27, 1869, New York Herald, Baltimore, American Ports Arrived Ship Charlotte (N.G.) Gatjen, NYork

    September 12, 1869, Baltimore, Sailed Ship Charlotte

  • September 12 1869 to April 28, 1870

    Where were Berend Petermann and the Bremen Ship Charlotte? She is not reported in the New York Times or the New York Herald as arriving in New York (or indeed anywhere) during that time. The next record I can find for her was in June 1871.

  • New York Time Marine Intelligence June 19, 1871 — Ship Charlotte (N.G.) Gatzen, Bremen 40 ds, with "mdze" and 100 passengers to Funch, Edye & co. Came the northern passage, and had variable winds and was 18 ds W. of the Banks.

    I did not find this manifest of

  • Marine Intelligence New York Sunday Dec 3, Arrived, Ship Charlotte (N.G.) Gatjen, Bremen, 49ds, with mdse. to Funch, Edye & Co. Dec. 1, took a pilot off Chinnecock from pilot boat Mary E. Fish, NO. 4, New York Times December 4, 1871

    New York Time Marine Intelligence December 19, 1871 — Cleared Ship Charlotte (Ger.) Gatjen, Bremen via Philadelphia, Funch, Edye & Co.

  • The Charlotte was still in service in 1881 when she was cleared on April 11. However she had a new captain.
    Ship Charlotte (Ger.) Guthsmuths, Bremen, Hermann Koop & Co.

Berend was supposedly on the Ship Charlotte from Aug 5, 1869 to April 28, 1870. As indicated by the above records I can only find one crossing for the Charlotte during that time period. The Charlotte left Bremen on or about June 15, 1869 and arrived in New York August August 5, 1869, listed as a North German Lloyd ship under the command of Captain J H Gatjen from Bremen, 1206 tons, 100 passengers. She arrived in Baltimore, Maryland from New York on August 27th. She left Baltimore September 12; destination not stated. Berend Petermann returned to Germany around April 28, 1870. He left on his next trip on May 9, 1870.

To see images of New York Harbor go to New York Waterfront

9 May 1870 to September 9, 1870 on the Bark TEXAS to See [Sea]

Berend Petermann born 1843, born Ganderkesee, residence Hoyerswege, matrose (sailor, seaman) muster date, May 9, 1870, ship TEXAS, port of departure, Bremen, destination, "See" [sea], captain E. Mentzen duration of service 4 months The manifest indicates a crew of 15 including two of Berend's potential relatives, Fredrick Petermann born Ganderkesee, 1820, residence Ganderkesee, cook, and Heinrich Petermann, born Ganderkesee, 1852, residence Ganderkesee, steward (?). In addition there were two other crew born in Ganderkesee: Johann Tonnies (?) born 1840, matrose and Johann Behr-ns born 1842 matrose. The Captain was E Mentzer.

I did not find an image of the TEXAS. The Crew List designates it as a "Bark".

The Bark TEXAS out of Bremen was in Galveston, Texas quite frequently in 1867, 1868, 1869, 1871, & 1872 but not listed in 1870.

The bark TEXAS was an immigrant ship. Many German immigrants entered the United Sates through Galveston from the 1850s to the 1900s. The immigration rate was particularly high in the years after the Civil War.

The TEXAS had an adventure in August 1870:

"North German bark Texas, Captain Mentzer, which sailed from Philadelphia on the 19th of July for Hamburg has put into Stornoway, Scotland to avoid capture by the French cursers." New York Herald, Tuesday August 30, 1870
Fredrich Petermann also sailed on the Texas in June 29, 1869 and August 25 1871. Heinr Petermann also sailed on Texas in April 30 1871 and Aug 25 1871.

Berend Petermann returned to Germany around September 9, 1870. He did not leave Germany on another trip for almost a year. The Franco-Prussian war began in July 1870 when France declared war on Prussia. The French were defeated and Wilhelm I was crowned Kaiser of a unified German in January 1871.

When the Franco Prussian was broke out in July 1870 the North German Lloyd suspended service between Bremen and New York. The North German Lloyd was the carrier for the US mail. Service was resumed in October 1870. Berend Petermann left on his next trip on August 4, 1871.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, date and publication unknown, June 2012

STORNOWAY - RETOUR DE LA PECHE AU HARENG (Return of the herring fishers)

4 August 1871 to February 5, 1872 on the Steamship GRAF BISMARCK to West Indies

Berend Petermann Ganderkesee, Hoyerswege, born 1843, motrose, captain W. Nordenhold(t) 4 August 1871, duration of service 6 months and 1 day

The GRAF BISMARCK [Count Bismarck] was named for Count Otto von Bismarck. She is listed on the Palmer list. The GRAF BISMARCK was built in 1870 in Greenock, Scotland by Caird & co. and operated by the Norddeutscher Lloyd Steamship company out of Bremen. The ship was 316.5 ft X 39.1 ft. Single-screw, 14 knots, 2,406 registered tonnage, 900 horsepower.

The North German Lloyd run from Bremen to the West Indies was started in 1871. The route began at Bremen with calls at Southampton, Colon (Panama), Savanilla (Columbia), Puerto Cabello (Venezuela), La Guayra [Guaira] (Venezuela) and then back to Savanilla and Colon. From Colon the ports of call were St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), Cherbour, Southampton and finally Bermen. The three North German Lloyd ships that made this run were: the screw steamship Konig Wilhelm I, the Kohn, and the Graf Bismarck. They all carried both passengers and cargo.

This route was unprofitable and was discontinued in 1874. Colon was also known as Aspinwall, Panama.

New York Herald, Saturday November 12, 1870

"LONDON, Nov 11, 1870

The new Steamship Graf Bismarck, of the Bremen line, was successfully launched at Greenock, Scotland, yesterday afternoon"

The Gleaner, Kingston, Kingston, June 26, 1871
"The steamship Graf Bismarck arrived at Aspinwall on the 18th instant at 3 p. m. The most important and encouraging feature connected with the arrival of this steamer, says the Panama Star, is the unusually large cargo she takes to Europe, and which, considering that its the commencing of a new line of steamers, is very satisfactory. Her cargo amounts to 10,627 packages for Europe. Some cargo had to be left behind, which was waiting her arrival in Colon. If matters go on at this rate it is probable the Company will have to decide on putting on two steamers a months."

Brooklyn Eagel, August 16, 1871: London August 16. The North-German Lloyd steamer Bremen, Capt. Lodewigs, from New York August 3 arrived at Southampton to-day en route to Bremen. The Bremen towed into port the North-German Lloyd steamship Graf Bismarck, which had broken her shaft on the voyage from Bremen to Aspinwall.

European Marine News, New York Times, August 17, 1871

"Arrived Out — London, Aug 16. — The North German Lloyd steamship Bremen, Capt. Lodewigs (sic) from New York Aug. 3 arr. at Southampton today en route to Bremen. The B. towed into port the North German Lloyd steam-ship Graf Bismarck, which had broken her shaft on the voyage from Bremen to Aspinwall."
Sun And Central Press, Middlesex, London, August 16, 1871

The North-German Lloyd steamer Bremen, from New York, passes Hurst Castle on 8:40 a. m. on the 16th. She had the steamer Graf Bismarck in tow, with her main shaft broken"

According to The Ship Lists there were 5 ships named the BREMEN. The ship that towed the GRAF BISMARCK ship was steamship BREMEN (1) built in 1858 and sold to E Bates of Liverpool in 1874. She had one funnel and 3 masts. The Ship Lists

It seems the BREMEN (1858) also suffered a broken shaft.

"14 January 1860, reached Southampton under sail with a broken shaft; out of service undergoing repairs at Southampton for 6 months"

Palmer List of Merchant Vessels

Broken propeller shafts seem to have been a relatively common occurrence with the early steamships. It was believe to be caused by faulty iron welding of the shaft. If the ship had only one propeller she basically could not move with a broken shaft.

How long did it take to fix the main shaft of the GRAF BISMARCK?

The Colonies January 16, 1872

"The Graf Bismarck, Capt W Nordenholdt , sailed from Southampton on Monday with mails for St Thomas, Colon, Savanilla, La Guayra, Puerto Cabello, Curacoa, and ports in the Pacific (Via Panama) £ 1,500 in specie, and a large number of passengers"
The City of Aspinwall (also known as Colon) is located on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus of Panama and was dedicated in 1852 in honor of William Aspinwall (1807-1875). William Aspinwall was a shipping magnate who after the start of the California gold rush in 1849 built a railroad across the Isthmus of Panama to avoid the arduous journey around Cape Horn. Construction of the railroad was completed in 1855.

The Graf Bismarck disemparked passengers in Aspinwall who connected via Panama to all ports in the Pacific. Berend Petermann returned to Germany around February 5, 1872 he appears to have turned around and left immediately; returning to the West Indies on the GRAF BISMARCK.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


5 February 1872 to July 25, 1872 on the steamship GRAF BISMARCK to the West Indies

Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Hoyerswege, date of muster 5 February 1872, ship Graf Bismarck, POD Bremen, destination Westindien (West Indies) Steuer [helmsman], captain W. Nordenholdt, duration of service 5 months and 20 days

April 1872

EUROPEAN MARINE NEWS Southhampton April 12 The North German Lloydsteam-ship Graf Bismarck, from Aspinwall for Bremen arrived here today, April 13, 1872 New York Times

The Graf Bismarck was in New York in 1873. The Steamship Graf Bismarck was cleared to sail on July 3, 1873 from New York. Steam-ship Graf Bismarck (Ger.) Nordenholdt, Bremen via Southampton, Oerichs & Co. (Marine Intelligence New York Times).

In March 1874, two years after Berend sailed on the GRAF BISMARCK, she arrived in New York Harbor twenty days out from Bremen and Southampton after she had;

"undoubtedly made the stormiest passage of this or any other recent season. Fortunately the Bismarck, which of late years has been employed in the South America department of the company's service, is one of the best of the Clydebuilt steamers, only four years off the stocks, and manned and equipped in the most efficient manner..... On Thursday, the 12th utl., she left Bremen, with well-filled coal-bunkers, 5,000 bags of malt, and a large assortment of general merchandise.""
She was also carrying twelve cabin and 40 steerage passengers.

In addition to passing through two hurricanes the Bismarck had to deal with multiple towering icebergs - a rarity at that time of the year. Next she was subjected to a fifteen hour blizzard with accumulation of up to a foot and a half.

"On her first passage across the Atlantic since 1873" the Graf Bismarck encountered two very fierce storms of hurricane force, a field of icebergs many nearly a hundred feet high, followed by a snow storm of fifteen hours duration when it was "impossible to see the length of the ship and the snow accumulated to on her decks to a depth of a foot and a half ".

New York Times, March 1874 - 20 day passage from Bremen

This article mentions that: the four year old GRAF BISMARCK was in service in South America, had 500 horse power engines (does not say how many) and carried 500 to 600 tons of coal.

May 8, 1874 Steam Ship GRAF BISMARCK (Ger.) cleared Meyer Bremen via Southampton, Oelricks & Co.

Berend Petermann returned to Germany around August 25 1872. He left again on October 2, 1872.

According to a New York Times article of April 14, 1874, the North German Lloyd was thinking of ending their service to South America which included ports of call at St Thomas, Aspinwall and Savanilla. The Graf Bismarck was to be added to the North American fleet.

Graf Bismarck (1871) North German Lloyd. built by Caird & co. Ltd, Greenock, Scotland. tonnage 2,406. Dimensions: 315' x 40'. single Screw, 14 knots. Made final voyage to New York in 1890 (Trans-Atlantic passenger ships, past and present, Eugene Waldo Smith, 1947)

The GRAF BISMARCK was scrapped in 1898.

Another seaman on the Graf Bismarck during this five month tour of duty was Johann Lehman born 1845 in Wismar. Johann Lehman married Julia Erxmeyer and immigrated to Hoboken New Jersey. See Did my ancestors known my husband's ancestors?

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Harper's Weekly, August 23, 1879, June 2012

Images of Panama

Taboga Bay and Pananma - Columbus Monument Aspinwal - Pizzaro's Fort, Panama, - San Carlos

September 30, 1872 to approximately May 12, 1873 on the Steamship AMERICA to New York

September 30, 1872, Berend Petermann born 1843, (steuer) [helmsman] duration of service, 7 months and 12 days

(Sailors Registry - last entry for Berend Petermann. There is no ship or destination named.)

The Sailors Registry and the Crew Lists indicate that Berend Petermann was at sea from September 30, 1872 to approximately May 12, 1873. This last tour of duty for Berend was as a helmsman on the North German Lloyd steamship AMERICA.

The AMERICA was a 2752 gross ton ship, length 318ft x beam 40ft, clipper bows, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sails), iron hull, single screw and a speed of 11 knots. Accommodation for 76-1st, 107-2nd and 480-steerage class passengers. Built by Caird & Co, Greenock, she was launched for North German Lloyd, Bremen in Nov.1862. Her maiden voyage started on 25th May 1863 when she left Bremen for Southampton and New York. In 1871 she was fitted with new engines and on 27th Jan. 1894 commenced her last round voyage from Bremen to New York and Baltimore. Sold to Italy in 1894, she was renamed ORAZIO and was scrapped the following year. [North Atlantic Seaway by N.R.P.Bonsor, vol.2,p.545]

America (1863) North German Lloyd. built by Caird & co. Ltd, Greenock, Scotland. tonnage 2,752. Dimensions: 328' x 40'. single Screw, 14 knots. Made final voyage to New York in 1894 (Trans-Atlantic passenger ships, past and present, Eugene Waldo Smith, 1947)

The Ship List

See Palmer List of Merchant Vessels for an image and more information on the AMERICA (1862)

The helmsman was the person who steered the ship. The ship's crew list for the AMERICA dated October 2, 1872 indicates a crew of 107 with 4 helmsmen.

Berend Petermann was listed on the Ships Crew Lists as posted on for two voyages on the steamship AMERICA. However, it is highly likely that he was on the AMERICA for other crossings between September 1870 and May 1873: The two crossings he was listed for are:

  1. 2 October 1872 to November 9, 1872 Bremen to New York and return to Bremen via London and Havre

    Ships Crew List: 2 October 1872 Crew List for the steamship AMERICA to New York

    Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Ganderkesee, muster date October 2 1872, ship, America, port of departure, Bremen, destination, New York steuer (helmsman), captain R Brussins

    (Ships Crew List)

    Marine Intelligence New York Times, 16 October 1872, Wednesday:
    "Arrived Steam-ship America (N. G.) Bussins, Bremen October 2 via Southampton, 4th, with mdse and 716 passengers to Oelrichs and Co. Had strong westerly winds to the Banks; Oct. 14. no la-, passed a National steam-ship bound E."

    Ship Manifest: October 15, 1872, SS America, R Bussins 2,927 tons, mostly German passengers, some Hungarians, one or two Danes and Norwegians, 2 deaths at sea. No tally.

    The crossing took from German to New York took 12 days.

    The New York Herald, October 25, 1872


    The steamship AMERICA, Captain, R Bussins, will sail on Saturday October 26, at 2 P. M. from Bremen pier. Foot of Third street Hoboken, to be followed by the steamship HERMANN, Captain C Reichmann on Saturday Nov 2,

    Payable in gold or equivalent currency
    First Cabin.................$120
    Second Cabin..................72

    For Freight or passage apply to OELRICHS & Co
    Agents No 2, Bowling Green

    Marine Intelligence European Marine News Southhampton Nov 8 — The North German Llyod's steamship America Capt Bussins form New York Oct 26 for Bremen arrived here today, November 9, 1872 (14 days to return).

    Note: The AMERICA left Bremen November ? 1872 and arrived in New York December 4 1872; departed December 15 for Bremen. did not find any crossings in January. The AMERICA left Bremen February 2, 1873 and arrived New York February 7. Departed New York ?? Arrived Bremen ?? See below.

  2. 12 March 1873 on the steamship AMERICA to New York

    Berend Petermann born 1843 residence Hoyerswege, muster date 12 March 1873, ship, America, port of departure, Bremen, destination, New York steuer (helmsman), captain Bussins

    (Ships Crew List)

    Marine Intelligence: New York Times, 29 March 1873, Wednesday: Arrived: Steam-ship America (Ger.) Bussins, Bremen, March 13 Southampton 16th with mdse and 304 passengers to Oelrichs and Co. New York Times, Wednesday March 29, 1873.
  3. Ships Manifest: R Bussins S. S. America, steamer, Bremen to New York March 28, 1873 3,000 tons, steerage, 304 cabin 10, mostly German passengers.

    Marine Intelligence, New York Times April 3, 1873 Cleared Steam-ship America (Ger) Bussins Bremen via Southhampton — Oelrichs & Co.

    Marine Intelligence, New York Times: April 18, 1873, European Maritime News: Bremen April 17, 1873 The North German Lloyd's Steamship America Capt. Bussins, from New York arrived here yesterday.

The duration of Berend's service was listed as "7 months and 12 days" from September 30 1872 - ending about May 12, 1873. I only find him listed on the October and March crossings during this period. I tried looking at other seamen on the October 1872 and March 1873 crew lists to see if they appear on other lists during this time period, but I did not have any luck with those I choose.

Marine Intelligence reports in the New York Times and the passenger manifests indicate that the S. S. AMERICA made the following voyages between October 1872 and May 1873 and it can be presumed that Berend was on board for all of these voyages although he was only listed on two. The passenger lists posted by Ancestry does not include the crew.

  1. October 1, 1872 to November 9, 1972: Berend was listed on the crew list for this voyage.

    Depart Germany October 2, 1872 - Arrive New York October 16 - Depart New York October 26 - Arrive Germany November 9 (as listed above)

  2. November ?, 1872 to Jan ? 1873: Berend was not listed for this voyage

    Depart Germany November ?? - Arrive New York December 4 - Depart New York December 15 - Arrive Germany Jan. ?? 1873

    Ship Manifest: December 4, 1872, R Bussins, S. S. America, from Bremen, First class 10, lower, 54, steerage 471 total 535, German, Austria, 2 deaths at sea. (Ship Manifest)

    New York Herald, December 6, 1872, posted advertisement for the sailing of the Steamship America, North German Lloyd lines, Captain Bussins due to depart Saturday December 14, to Bremen, via London and La Havre

    New York Times Marine Intelligence: "Steam-ship America sailed for Bremen December 15, 1872"

  3. January --, 1873 to February 7, 1873

    New York Times, Marine Intellengence

    Arrived Steam-ship America (Ger) Bussins, Bremen, February 7, 1873 via Southampton 14th Falmouth 18th, and St. John N. F. Feb 2, with 196 passengers to Oelrichs & Co.

    Ship manifest: 7 First class, 39 2nd lass, and 149 steerage

    Arrive Germany before March 12

  4. March 12, 1873 to April 17 1873:

    Depart Germany 12 March 1873 - Arrive New York March 29 - Depart New York April 3 1873 - Arrive Germany April 17, 1873

    See above.

    Ship Manifest: First Class 1-, Second 6, Steerage 347

Berend Petermann finished his time at sea on May 12 1873.

The AMERICA was back in Bremerhaven by April 17, 1873. She returned to New York on May 16, 1873


Steam-ship America (Ger.) Buskins (sic) [Bussins per ship manifest] Bremen April 30. and Southampton May 3, with mdse, and 737 passengers to Oelrich & Co. Experienced heavy westerly winds with high seas the entire passage;May 4 lat 49 43 lon 13 45 passed steam-ship Deutschland, hence for Bremen hence for Bremen: 9th lat 46 53 lon 35 30 passed steam-ship Mosel do. dol; 13th lat 42 20 lon 52 28 passed an Inman steamer bound E;same day lat 42 lon 58 passed ship James C Stevenson (of Shiens) bound E 15the lat 40 34 lon 69 39 passed steam-ship New-York hence for Bremen."

I do not know what Berend did between the return of the AMERICA on April 17 and May 12 when he mustered out. He may have gone with the AMERICA as far as Southampton and then turned back to Germany.

Berend was 30 at the time of the March 12 to April 17 trip which appears to have been his last transatlantic trip as a merchant marine.

He would return to the States about 10 years later with his wife and small son.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, The World's Work, April 1908, New York Harbor circa 1873

Mittelsburen and Hoyerswege

In the sailors register from 1859 to 1861 the residence of Berend Petermann was Ganderkesee with the exception that in October 1859 he listed Mittelsburen.

Mittelsburen was a village outside Bremen.

From 1867 to 1873 his residence was listed as the hamlet of Hoyenswege with the exception of October 1872 when he listed Ganderkesee.

While he was giving addresses in Ganderkesee and Hoyerswege from 1859 to 1873 Berend Petermann was obviously spending a lot of time at sea and traveling around the world.

Hoyerswege is a hamlet in the town of Ganderkesee.

There was a guest house at the Old Flemish Road in Hoyerswege as early as 1816. In 1849 the inn was run by Johann Berend Menken. Emigrants from Sudoldenburgishein spent the night in the hay loft at the guest house circa 1859 as they made their way to Bremen to embark for America. See Hof Hoyerswege

Known Ports Of Call

Liverpool, England

Southampton, Hampshire, England was inked to London by rail in 1840. Southampton was an emigrant gateway from Europe to America.


Berend Petermann was listed as a helmsman on the GRAF BISMARCK in 1872 and on the AMERICA in 1873. There were 4 helmsmen on the GRAF BISMARCK which had a crew of 92. There were four helmsmen on the AMERICA which had a crew of 104. The first crew members listed were officers. Then there were 6 listings on both ships. I cannot make out all of them but 2 listings on each ship were "zimmerman" [carpenter]. These six listings were followed by the four helmsmen.

Richard Henry Dana said the helm was manned by all able seamen:

"HELM - Neither the master nor mates of a merchant vessel ever take the helm. The proper helmsmen are the able and ordinary seamen. Sometimes the carpenter, sailmaker, &c., if they are seamen, are put to the helm; also the boys, in light wind, for practice. Each watch steers the ship in turn, and the watch on deck must supply the helmsman, even when all hands are on called. Each man stands at the helm for two hours, which is called his trick. Thus, there are two tricks in a watch. Sometimes in very cold weather, the tricks are reduce to one hour; and, if the ship steers badly, in a gale of wind, two men are sent to the wheel at once. In this case, the man who stands on the weather side of the wheel is the responcible helmsman, the man on the lee wheel assisting him by heaving the wheel when necessary."

Dana's Seaman's friend By Richard Henry Dana, 1856

However, Dana was writing before the advent of the steamship. It is clear from the Bremen crew lists that there were special people designated as "helmsmen". They received a higher pay that sailors and were listed at the beginning of crew list ahead of the "sailors".

With the advent of steam, steering gears became easier to physically maneuver but required greater skill on the part of the helmsman. The maneuverability of the steering apparatus could result in "too much helm" causing drag on the rudder which could reduce the ships speed, decrease the efficiency of the movement of the ship and increase the amount of fuel used. The new helmsman needed to be a man of "clear head, steady nerves, perfect self control." The sea breeze, Volumes 13-19 By Boston Seaman's Friend Society)

Ships under sail had the right of way before steamships. It is the responsibility of the steamship helmsman to steer clear of sailing ships.

In the old sailing vessels the helmsman could not see ahead of him but steered the ship by compass with direction from the officers of the ship.

"After the ship's course has been set, the helmsman's duty is simply to watch the compass and move the wheel whenever the ship in her progress turns to the right or left from the course laid down"

The Century illustrated monthly magazine, Volume 23

With the advent of steamships the wheelhouse was moved forward so the helmsman could see ahead of the ship.

"It is a fascinating business steering a big sailing-ship, and keeps all one's faculties and senses at work; one knows how to steer more by instinct than anything else, and unless you are born with this instinct, however much practice you have, it is impossible to become a really first class helmsman."

Round the Horn before the mast By Basil Lubbock, 1902, page 194

"A good helmsman has to be born, not made. Every boat and every ship steers differently. Some steer very badly, some steer easily.


"The most difficult task of all is to steer a large ship running before a gale of wind in a big sea.

A bad helmsman in such a case will have his spokes flying round the whole time; first his helm will be hard up and then hard down and the ship will be swinging a couple of points on each side of he course.

This is because he probably watches his compass too much and his ship too little.

A good helmsman will know instinctively when his ship is beginning to come up, and will at once meet her with the helm a second or two before the compass shows the fact."

Round the Horn before the mast By Basil Lubbock, 1902, page 319

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


German Merchant Marines

"On January 1, 1871, the German merchant fleet included 4,372 sailing vessels with a tonnage of 900,301 and manned by 34,739 men."

Merchant marine of foreign countries: Reports from consuls of the United ... By United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce

The North German Lloyd Company was founded in Bremen in 1857. A rival company, the Hamburg-American, was established in Hamburg in 1847. In 1871 the German fleet of these two. companies had only 147 steamships By 1898 they had over 1,000 steamships. They were the two largest and wealthiest shipping companies in the world outfitted with a hugh fleet of iron and steel ships, among the fastest and most powerful ships on the seas.

Sea Lanes

I will not begin to pretend that I know anything about navigation. It is way too complicated!

Basically there were certain routes from one place to another which depended on time of year, tides, winds, etc..

The route from Bremen, Germany to North America was through the English Channel via Southampton (or Liverpool) or direct to New York. The ships headed to Newfoundland and then made their way down the American coast. The North German Lloyd out of Bremen had its New York piers in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Before the canals were built at Suez and Panama ships going from Germany to the Orient used the prevailing trades winds and headed south along the coast of Spain, past the Cape Verde Islands and across the Atlantic to near the coast of Brazil. From there they made their way down the coast of South America.

"In sailing-ship days, all vessels followed about the same track in going south from Europe or America, until they had to choose between going west around Cape Horn, or east past the Cape of Good Hope."

Sea Lanes Stevens and Pendlebury

Rounding either Cape was tricky. Yet ships continued to use the routes around the capes even after the canals were opened. A major factor was the cost of fuel to run the steamship through the canal versus using free wind power to round the capes. Fuel also took up room that could be used for valuable cargo.

See Immigration.

Move to Elsfleth, Germany

The last Bremen seaman's record for Berand Petermann was in 1873. Sometime between May 1873 and 1879 Berend moved to Elsfleth, a port at the confluence of the Hunte and Weser Rivers.

J. Berand Petermann had a son born in Elsfleth in 1879. At the birth of his son, Johann Berend Peterman was listed as a helmsman.

The Weser is one of the major rivers in Germany. It flows north through the major port cities of Bremerhaven and Bremen. However, the river is rather shallow and during periods of drought was not navigable near Bremen. Elsfleth lies about midway between the two cities.

"Sea-going ships may ascend to Elsfleth, though Bremerhaven is the chief port for large vessels."

The Encyclopaedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, and ..., Volume 24 By Thomas Spencer Baynes 1890


Petermann Connecting Page

More on Johann Berend Petermann

Petermanns in Ganderkesee

Pictures of Ganderkesee

Pictures of Elsfleth

Bremen Sailors




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© Maggie Blanck - Page created 2010 - Latest update, July 2013