[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Voyage costs and immigrant finances

Edith McKelvy edies_hook at msn.com
Fri Dec 14 07:28:21 PST 2012

Here is correspondence betwn Allyn Brosz and myself dtd Feb 2010 re 
immigrant finances.  Start at the bottom....Edith Rimple McKelvy

From: allyn.brosz at gmail.com on behalf of Allyn Brosz [zsorba99 at yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 10:26 AM
To: Edith McKelvy
Subject: Re: The rest of the story -- RIMPEL passenger lists
Dear Edith,

Thank you. I'm always interested to know what Paul Harvey called "the rest 
of the story." I'm glad I could be of some assistance to you.

I have been doing a lot of research on the methods by which German 
immigrants from Russia carried money to North America. I am not so sure that 
the financial situation for your Rempel/Rimpel ancestors was quite as dire 
as the passenger manifest indicates. The historians at the U.S. Immigration 
and Naturalization agency tell me that immigrants were only asked to declare 
the cash money that they were carrying. Many immigrants carried the bulk of 
their monetary assets abroad by means of a warrant issued by a Russian bank. 
This could be redeemed at the current exchange rate at a U.S. or Canadian 
bank. I have newspaper accounts of immigrants (Mennonites, in particular) 
arriving in New York, walking in a group to Wall Street, exchanging their 
warrants for cash money and then returning immediately to the train station 
to depart for the West.

My grandfather in Bessarabia sold his farm and disposed of his tools, 
implements, livestock, and most household goods, converted the proceeds into 
a warrant and then redeemed it when he arrived in America.

I don't mean to imply that every immigrant who arrived in North America was 
well-off. I simply want to suggest that the money declared on the passenger 
manifest may not be the entire story.

Best Wishes from a very snowy Washington, DC (20 inches and still snowing)

Besser a Glatze als gar kein Hoor!

On Sat, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:54, Edith McKelvy <edies_hook at msn.com> wrote:

Thought you might be interested in the human details found on U.S. Border 
Crossings from Canada that you kindly forwarded to me this week.  I sent the 
msg below to family members.

Baby Fred lived to be 62 years old!  And mother Anna (Schiller) gave birth 
to two more children in U.S., including my father Ernest Carl Rimple.

Thank you for your support....Keep warm!!!

Edith Rimple McKelvy
Silverdale WA

I accomplished a big genealogical breakthru today, thanks to help from 
SGGEE, whose convention I attended in Kelowna BC in Summer 2008.   Read the 
bottom correspondence first.  Great fun for a rainy day!

The List or Manifest of Alien Immigrants showing Rimpel data from 1896 
arrival in Halifax has some heartbreaking info hidden between the lines. 
Baby Fred, born at sea to Friedrich/Anna (my grandparents), was baptized 
immediately upon arrival by a Lutheran minister at Immigrations.  This could 
have easily been delayed until later. Wonder if baby or mother were expected 
to live.

Another entry:  "Mother and child proceeded to Montreal by steamship. 
Ship's physician objected to mother's removal."

Another entry:  August, wife, and two children arrived at Halifax with only 
                      Friedrich, wife, two children and newborn infant, 
arrived at Halifax with only $6.00

With so little money remaining, it would have been impossible for 
mother/baby to stop/rest in hospital.  They had to keep going..

What brave and desperate people they must have been.....edie


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-----Original Message----- 
From: Jerry Frank
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 8:56 PM
To: Randy Svenson
Cc: ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
Subject: Re: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Voyage costs


Here is an example of a passenger ticket from 1883 covering steerage passage 
for a family of 4 for $70.


I think I have seen others quote amounts in the range of $45 for an adult 
which included ship and rail travel from Hamburg to Winnipeg.  I'm not sure 
if it covered Volhynia to Hamburg.

For context, my wife's grandparents migrated to Alberta in 1912 from the 
Volga region of Russia and entered the country with $55 cash.  Friends on 
the same ship had $100 cash.

Keep in mind that some came under the sponsorship of immigration companies 
(such as Canadian Pacific Railways) or of others who had arrived here in the 
years before them.  For example, my Lutheran grandparents came in the mid 
1890s under the sponsorship of a Mennonite family living near Gretna, MB. 
They worked for the Mennonites for several years to pay off the fare before 
establishing themselves with their own land.  These families did not know 
each other.  It was simply a contract somehow arranged over that long 
distance, again probably with the assistance of either government 
authorities who were encouraging the migration or through immigration 

I don't know if similar arrangements existed in the States.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Randy Svenson" <randy_svenson at yahoo.com>
To: ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 8:23:47 AM
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Voyage costs

Does anyone know the approximate cost of the voyage from Volhynia to North 
America in the late 1800s?  That would include ship and other travel, food 
and lodging, documentation....  To me, this sounds like it could be very 
expansive and times for some families in this area could have been very 

Randy Svenson

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