Thursday, June 29, 2017

Debosnys' Real Name, Part III: A much better lead

In his autobiography, Debosnys claimed that, after the Franco-Prussian war and the events of the Paris commune, he "returned to Paris and went to Havre de Grace where he embarked on board the Cimbria for New York in June. His wife, Mrs. Judith Debosnys, died in July...."

The Cimbria route went from Hamburg to Havre to New York, so this part of the story is plausible. It arrived in New York on July 3rd, 1871. At that time, a liner could take around 9 days to cross the Atlantic, which would make his arrival consistent with a June departure date from Havre.

Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I have the passenger manifest from the Cimbria. It records the arrival of people belonging to

  • Germany (387)
  • United States (56)
  • Russia (6)
  • Switzerland (28)
  • Denmark (2)
  • Holland (2)
Debosnys claimed to have come to America in 1863 to fight in the Civil War, so presumably (if he is on the manifest at all) he is listed as an American. He claimed to have been born May 16, 1836, so presumably we are looking for a man aged 35 years (or so). He came with his wife, so presumably we are looking for a man and woman who share the same name.

Here are all of the Americans on the manifest, with my notes on each:

German surname (Friedr Schultz); traveling alone

German surname (Georg Kessler); traveling alone

39-year-old woman (Caroline Fasel) traveling with a 15-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl

German surname (Franz and Maria Dorn), age 45

Fritz Austen, age 31

Jacob Pomries, age 35 traveling with a Elise, age 22.
William Burmeister, aged 49 traveling with Louise, age 30.

German family (Richd Schmitz, Anna, Albert) and teenager Richard Muth

50-year-old Maria Schwartz with 17-year-old Antonia

28-year-old Adolf Schwalle with Anne
Sam Kahn age 21
Joh Schling age 47

John Hansen, age 23
Catherine Haupt, age 42
Friedr Kesschl, age 49
Jacob Raible, age 44

C W Stock, age 31

Fried Baden, age 33
Gust Engler, age 27

Ferd V Knessebeck, age 42

Carl Spierling, age 26

Rich Raufft, age 46
A woman surnamed Bliss, age 27, with children Willy (4) and Elsa (2)
Ellen Quinn, age 24
Marg Hathaway, age 27

C. A. Guarriges, age 27
Simon Morris, age 38, with wife Minna (24) and children David (2) and Wanda (11 mo)
Leon Grun, age 36, with Adeline (24)
Leroy Sauer, age 43
Helena Rohmeyer, age 40
Heir Clauss, age 40
Georg Schmolzy, age 37
C Pless, age 28
Carl Roll, age 42
Herm Calvi, age 14

Lucy Young, age 22
Ph Preund, age 46, with Augusta (34)
Walthae Gutmaw, age 28

Out of all of these, one couple actually fits the profile well. The couple apparently named Jacob and Elisa, whose surname is frustratingly difficult to make out:

I'm going to see if I can get a clearer image of this page.

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