1865: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s unique arrival in the U.S.

Sepia Saturday 555. Seventh  in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner (1844-1924). Scan by Molly Charboneau

My immigrant great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner appears to have arrived in the U.S. from Germany circa 1865 — at the end of the U.S. Civil War.

Based on her 1 Aug. 1844 birth date, she would have been 21 at the time.

Alas, I have thus far been unable to locate a ship record that would give me her exact year of immigration — so that research continues.

German emigrants for New York embarking on a Hamburg steamer (1875). My great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner was among the throngs of emigrants who left Germany for the U.S. in the mid 1800s in search of a better life. Image: Library of Congress

However, in various censuses Christina or a household member gave her immigration year as 1864 or 1865 — and her obituary supports her arrival around that time.

Discovering Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s Immigration Year – Sources: FamilySearch (censuses) and research files (obituary)
Year Source Name Details Imm. Year
1900 U.S. Census Christine Stoutner Number of Years in the U.S. – 35 1864 (penned) 1865 (estimated from years in the U.S.)
1910 U.S. Census Christina Stoutner 1865 (penned)
1920 U.S. Census Christina Stoutner Naturalized in 1866 (Penned) 1865 (penned)
1924 Obituary – Gloversville Morning Herald, 17 May 1924 Mrs. Christina Stoutner “a resident here for about sixty years” circa 1864 (estimated)

An intriguing immigration story

Yet perhaps the most intriguing information about Christina’s arrival in the U.S. comes from an oral history interview that my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau did with her Aunt Margaret (Stoutner) Rothbell — my maternal grandmother’s younger sister — in the mid 1990s.

Below Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s name is a notation that says “landed in the U.S. the day Lincoln was shot.”

Mom sat down with her aunt, took out a blank sheet of paper and sketched a family tree of the Stoutner line based on what Aunt Margaret told her — a hand-drawn chart I have copied, consulted and annotated over the years.

And below Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s name Mom made a notation that says “landed in the U.S. the day Lincoln was shot.” Well, how about that!

Remembering a landmark arrival

1865: Pres. Lincoln’s funeral in New York City – removal of the body from the City Hall to the funeral car. On 14-15 April 1865, New York City was undoubtedly preoccupied with news of the president’s assassination — as historic newspaper headlines testify. Into this whirlwind of shock and sorrow stepped my great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner, fresh off the boat from Germany — at least according to my mother’s family history notes. Image: Library of Congress

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on the evening of 14 April 1865 and died in the early hours of 15 April — a cataclysmic event at the end of the U.S. Civil War.

New York City was undoubtedly preoccupied with news of the unfolding tragedy — as historic newspaper headlines testify. And into this whirlwind of shock and sorrow stepped my great-great grandmother Christina, fresh off the boat from Germany. At least according to my mother’s notes.

Yet because Lincoln’s assassination was so momentous, and the young immigrant Christina would likely have registered every nuance about her arrival in a new country — and because her story was passed down the generations, perhaps from her retelling of it — I find this story about her believable.

All that remains is to find the ships that came into the Port of New York on 14 -15 April 1865 — and locate a record from one of those ships that contains Christina’s name. But that is research for another day.

Up next: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner heads for Gloversville, N.Y. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s  other Sepia Saturday participants here.

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10 thoughts on “1865: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s unique arrival in the U.S.”

  1. Anyone who arrived in NYC on 9/11 or the day of Kennedy’s assassination would surely never forget it. So I think you are right about Christina’s story.

    As I was doing my research this week on Ole Bull, circa 1860s-70s, I was fascinated to read the detailed newspaper reports on shipping. Of course in earlier times the arrival and departure of ships was variable because of weather, etc. and full of risk, so everyone from families to businesses needed to know when their ship would come in. I suspect that shipping lines were very regular and well defined, so German immigrants probably left from the same port like Bremen and arrived on predictable steamship lines. I bet you might find the likely ships in the German language newspapers. Probably not a passenger list but maybe an immigrant agency that might offer more clues.

    1. Yes, much newspaper research yet to do — and records yet to check. But even without evidence, my family’s story about Christina’s arrival has the ring of truth.

    1. No way to know for sure, but if there was hubbub in her New York port of arrival it would be natural for her to ask a shipmate, “What’s going one?” and hear the news that the U.S. president had been shot. More newspaper research to do on what was going on that day.

  2. What a day to arrive in your new country! I wonder what her thoughts might have been? Here she thought she was coming to a new country for a new chance at a better life only to discover that country’s president had just been shot and killed. Yikes!

  3. I wonder how aware the German immigrants were of the civil war going on. Maybe it was “over” by then but still the country was a mess. Like you, I’d trust your great-grandaunt’s memory because arriving on the day that a president was assassinated would be hard to forget.

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