HomeNewsCommon Slocum genealogies: a thousand supply paperwork added Get hold of US

Common Slocum genealogies: a thousand supply paperwork added Get hold of US

Posted by Sean Daly on Jun 14, 2023

Front page of the New York Tribune, June 16, 1904, with news of the burning and sinking of the excursion steamer General Slocum
Captain William van Schaick was supported by the harbor captains and pilots of New York; Pastor Haas, who misplaced his spouse, daughter, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law, acquired condolences from the President and the Kaiser.

We now have written beforehand about this solely preventable catastrophe in New York’s East River which occurred on account of a mix of circumstances: greed and indifference to security on the a part of the ship’s homeowners; an skilled captain a yr from retirement who by some means by no means organized a single fireplace drill, tolerated unusable security gear, and didn’t know or care that flammable supplies have been saved in a cabin; incompetence or corruption on the a part of the federal inspectors who licensed the boat as secure; a picket boat, painted with flammable paint, tinder dry in the summertime; a inexperienced crew, recruited from the docks three weeks prior; a majority of passengers ladies and kids dressed of their best garments, who didn’t know the best way to swim; the fireplace found simply because the ship superior right into a headwind by the treacherous Hell Gate channel, pushed by a flood tide; the captain’s determination to seashore in deep water at North Brother Island as a substitute of the shallower Bronx shoreline, for concern of spreading the fireplace to land. Over a thousand passengers died from drowning or fireplace within the catastrophe.

Side photo of the PS General Slocum in 1893
The Common Slocum, New York’s largest palace steamer, in September 1893, two years after it was launched. Picture: Nathaniel L. Stebbins
Prow photo of PS General Slocum in 1893.
In October 1893, the Slocum was crowded with spectators for the America’s Cup yacht race south of New York. By 1904 nevertheless, the ship had seen higher days. Picture: Nathaniel L. Stebbins
Common Slocum genealogies: a thousand supply paperwork added Get hold of US Obtain US
St Marks Evangelical Lutheran Church on East sixth St in Kleindeutschland organized an tour yearly on the finish of Sunday college lessons. As we speak, the constructing is a synagogue; the congregation put in a memorial plaque for the Slocum victims in 2004. From the Geneanet Postcards assortment.


From the 1840s on, Germans got here in nice numbers to New York Metropolis; most settled within the adjoining seventeenth, eleventh, thirteenth, and tenth Wards which got here to be generally known as Kleindeutschland, Little Germany (or “Dutchtown” to different New Yorkers). The non secular coronary heart of Kleindeutschland was St Marks Evangelical Lutheran Church on East sixth St; pastor George C.F. Haas had married tons of of German-American {couples} in earlier years.

Yearly for the earlier 16 years, the Sunday college of St Marks Church — the place lessons have been performed in German — organized an annual picnic tour to Lengthy Island. The Common Slocum was the pure alternative because it was the largest paddle steamer in New York’s waters together with its sister ship, the Grand Republic.

June fifteenth was a Wednesday, a workday, so only a few working males joined the tour; most dropped off their households on the pier that morning. Many would by no means see their households once more. Within the years following the catastrophe, a number of bereaved fathers, inconsolable, took their lives.

The burned hulk of the PS General Slocum, with only the metal armature and paddlebox visible
The useless and lacking far outnumbered the survivors of the Common Slocum.

Condolences for Pastor Haas of St Marks Evangelical Lutheran Church

The catastrophe was reported worldwide. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was within the Taunus mountain vary north of Frankfurt because the visitor of honor on the fifth annual Gordon Bennett Cup street race sponsored by the millionaire proprietor of the New York Herald. The Kaiser discovered of the total scale of the catastrophe on the day of the race, June 17, and the following day wrote a telegram to his ambassador in Washington, Baron Speck von Sternburg, to be forwarded to Pastor Haas:

Auf das tiefste erschuerttert durch die Kunde von dem unbeschreiblich entsetzlichen unglueck welches die deutsche lutherische gemeinde getroffen beauftrage ich sie bei Ihr der dolmetsch meines inningsten mitgefeuhls zu sein.

Deeply shocked by the information of the indescribably horrible disaster that has befallen the German Lutheran group, I ask you to convey my deepest sympathy to them.

The Gordon Bennett Cup road race of 1904 near Frankfurt
Kaiser Wilhelm II was in attendance on the Gordon Bennett Cup street race in Dangerous Homburg vor der Höhe close to Saalburg when he was knowledgeable of the tragedy in New York.
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in 1904
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in 1904.
Common Slocum genealogies: a thousand supply paperwork added Get hold of US Obtain US
The Kaiser instructed his ambassador in Washington to convey his sympathy to Pastor Haas. Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts (Political Archive of the German Overseas Workplace), file RAV 292/43.
Telegram from German Ambassador Baron von Sternburg to Pastor Haas
Baron Speck von Sternburg instantly forwarded the Kaiser’s message to Pastor Haas — he had already expressed his sympathy — including: Indem ich diesen auftrag meines allergn aedigsten herrn ausfuehre bitte ich nochmale die versicherung auch meiner persoenlichen teilname anzunehmen. Der Kaiserliche botschafter. (In finishing up this order of my most gracious sovereign, I ask you to simply accept once more my private sympathy. The Imperial Ambassador.) Lutheran Archives Center at Philadelphia.

Kaiser Wilhelm’s spouse the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, deeply moved, additionally despatched condolences by the ambassador:

Ire majetaet die kaiserin und koenigin hat mich beauftragt allerhoechstihre herzlichst teilnahme zum ausdruck zu bringen zu dem namenlosen ungluect das so schweres leid ueber hunderte von deutschen familien gebracht hat euer hochwuerden bitte ich auch dieses zur kenntnis der beteiligten bringen zu wollen.
Der Kaiserliche Botschafter

Her Majesty the Empress and Queen has commissioned me to specific her deepest sympathy from her coronary heart following the indescribable calamity which has introduced such heavy struggling to tons of of German households, and to convey this to the eye of these concerned.
The Imperial Ambassador

Later, the Kaiserin awarded medals to the nurses on the North Brother Island hospital who had rescued and cared for passengers.

In New York, not too long ago elected Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., a former journalist and lawyer born in Dresden to American dad and mom, was deeply affected by the Slocum catastrophe. He shortly visited North Brother Island and the short-term morgue, and arranged a fundraising committee for reduction of the victims’ households. Sadly, the disbursement of those funds within the months following the catastrophe led to a rift between the survivors’ affiliation, who felt that each one funds out there ought to go to the households, and Pastor Haas, who felt that the remaining funds ought to be used to finance the church whose congregation had been decimated.

Common Slocum genealogies: a thousand supply paperwork added Get hold of US Obtain US
Mayor George B. McClellan Jr. shortly organized a fundraising committee for reduction of the Slocum households.

President Theodore Roosevelt despatched Pastor Haas a telegram from the White Home: “Settle for my profound sympathy for your self and the congregation within the horrible calamity that has befallen you. Am inexpressibly shocked and grieved.”

Common Slocum genealogies: a thousand supply paperwork added Get hold of US Obtain US
The private results of victims have been fastidiously gathered into numbered envelopes and dropped at the short-term morgue from North Brother Island. Some households have been solely in a position to determine their family members by jewellery or objects of clothes they’d been carrying. Picture: George Ehler Stonebridge, New York Historical Society
General Slocum monument in All Faiths (formerly Lutheran) Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens, New York City
61 unidentified victims of the Slocum catastrophe have been buried at this monument in Lutheran Cemetery (referred to as All Faiths right now) in Center Village, Queens; a ceremony is held there yearly, and this yr will happen on Saturday, June 17.

The Common Slocum Households Bushes challenge has added over a thousand BMD certificates

Practically two years have handed since we began our collaborative tree challenge and right now there are:

  • 1000 New York Metropolis start, marriage, and dying (BMD) certificates from the NYC Municipal Archives
  • 4000 folks within the tree, together with many German ancestors
  • 100 images of victims and survivors, sourced from modern newspapers and from the households

No correct depend of passengers was made throughout boarding the morning of June 15, 1904, so each passenger checklist differs in numbers. We now have accounted for 1,373 passengers at this writing and challenge volunteers proceed so as to add passengers and their households commonly.

The opening of New York Metropolis’s historic very important data a yr in the past has reworked NYC family tree and simplified our analysis into the Slocum households. In lots of circumstances, German household names have been mangled by careless municipal registrars; painstaking analysis by Geneanet volunteers has resulted in remoted names on the sufferer lists being reunited with their prolonged households.

We now have written about a number of the Slocum households, such because the Zieglers, whose daughter Emily perished, to the nice misery of her suitor John Flammang Schrank, later the would-be murderer of Theodore Roosevelt; and Walter Bernard Miller, born in New York Metropolis to German immigrant dad and mom, who died in aerial fight throughout World Struggle I.

It is a collaborative challenge and anybody who needs to work on the household bushes of the Slocum passengers is welcome to affix! Please ship us a message in case you have any questions.

Screenshot of a Geneanet family tree page showing text, URL, and attached document sources
At Geneanet, sources could be textual content citations, weblinks to supply paperwork or indexes, or an connected digitized doc.
Portrait photo of Walter Bernard Miller in 1916
Walter Bernard Miller survived the Slocum catastrophe as a boy, dropping his dad and mom and youngest brother. Raised by his German grandmother, he joined the US Navy and when struggle broke out, he volunteered first as an ambulance driver in Alsace, then as an airman within the Lafayette Flying Corps. He was shot down over France on August 3, 1918.

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