Monday, August 14, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Trip from Essen to Winnipeg

My mother always said her father, Gustav Lange (1888-1963) immigrated to Canada from Essen, Germany in 1911; and I have his immigration inspection card. However, for years could not find his listing on a passenger manifest.

Immigration inspection card for Gustav Lange; personal collection

But good things happen to stubborn persistent people and I finally found it on 2 July 2017 after beginning my search in late 2012. Grandpa worked in Essen, Germany, before immigrating to Canada. He likely purchased his steerage-class ticket from a White Star Line agent and took a steamer from Amsterdam, Bremen, Hamburg, or Rotterdam across the North Sea to Hull, England. From there he took a train to Liverpool, as did 9 million other emigrants from 1830 to 1930. Passengers were not allowed to board their ship until the day before or the day of sailing. So most spent between one to ten days in a hostel near the docks.

Grandpa boarded the RMS Teutonic on 12 August 1911 and arrived in Quebec on 20 August. After reviewing hundreds of other records of German immigrants whose final destination was Winnipeg, I believe he took the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in Quebec. The trip to Winnipeg is nearly 50 hours by train today. How long it was in Grandpa's day, I have no idea. As new and different as a sea voyage must have been for a young man born and raised in landlocked western Russia, the train ride would prove equally fascinating, I'm sure.

From Quebec the GTR went to Montreal and then Toronto before crossing the U.S. border at Port Huron, Michigan. At Grand Haven across the state on Lake Michigan, the train cars were loaded onto a car ferry for the 4+-hour trip across the lake to Milwaukee. What a sight that must have been for young Gustav!

Lake Michigan rail car ferry; courtesy of Deep Sea Detectives

From Milwaukee the GTR went to Minneapolis, then Fargo and Grand Forks before making its last stop in the U.S. at Noyes, Minnesota. Another stop across the border at Emerson, Canada, for immigration paperwork and on to Winnipeg.


Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen 

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