THE EBERTS OF ISAAR
The Eberts of Isaar
By lifetime member Duane Ebert
Recently Duane Ebert donated a copy of his book "The Eberts of Isaar" to the museum. This excerpt describes the immigration of his ancestors from Europe to the United States. Since many area residents have roots going back to central and northern Europe, their ancestors experienced similar conditions. Members who are interested in additional information about the Eberts or Isaar, should arrange to visit the archive room of the Seymour Community Museum.
Imagine the excitement in the small village of Poschetzau, in the Austrian province of Bohemia, as the family sold their possessions, bid farewell to family and friends and prepared to leave. It was March, 1867, and the final papers for immigration were prepared, and signed at the court district office in Elbogen by the Imperial Royal District official, dated March 28, 1867. Karl was listed on his passport as a shoemaker and farmer, of the Catholic religion, medium height, oval face, blond hair, gray eyes, mouth and nose proportionate. Karl must have had some education, as his well-written personal signature appears on the document. Description is also given for his wife, Anna and the three sons, Joseph, Anton, and Karl. Each were of medium height, had blond hair and brown eyes.
The departure scene is heart rendering. Relatives and friends were on hand to say a last farewell, tears flowed in profusion since all knew those leaving would never see their loved ones again. Karl’s father and Anna’s mother were dead by this time and we don’t know about Karl’s mother or Anna’s father. The records are incomplete.
Karl was 34 years old, Anna not yet 34, Josef 8, Anton 6, and Karl (Charles) six months. The immigrants would have traveled by railroad northwesterly through the German states about 260 miles to the seaport of Bremen on the North Sea. For inlanders, as the Eberts were, seeing the sea for the first time was an awesome sight. Karl booked passage at the port of Bremen on the steamship ATLANTIC. Leaving Bremen into the North Sea, the ATLANTIC sailed through the English Channel to Southhampton, England, to pick up more passengers headed for the New World. Leaving Southhampton, the Ebert family had their last glimpse of Europe.
The journey across the Atlantic took about three weeks. Food on board was poor. They brought some food along with a trunk containing some possessions. According to Karl Ebert’s “Intent of Citizenship” paper the family landed at the port of New York, July, 1867. Ship records at the port of New York have the ATLANTIC arriving May 23, 1867.
We hear today about immigrants landing at Ellis Island and being processed for the new country. In our ancestor’s day Ellis Island was not yet established; that was not to come until 1891. We can imagine the confusion, the problems with language and the uncertainty of the new land. There may have been other German speaking people to assist the Eberts to find their way to Wisconsin. We do know Catholic charitable organizations were on hand to assist immigrants. Also Wisconsin established a Commission of Immigration, whose duty was to distribute informational pamphlets telling of Wisconsin’s advantages to immigrants, as well as how to get to Milwaukee. Starting in the 1840’s, leaflets praising Wisconsin were distributed in the coastal area of Germany.