Immigrant Ancestors
Images of the Past

Angelo DiBartolo and his family, traveled on this ship from Italy to Ellis Island in Nov. of 1923.

Presidente Wilson

Built by Cantieri Navali Triestino, Monfalcone, Italy, 1912. 12,567 gross tons; 500 (bp) feet long; 60 feet wide. Steam quadruple expansion engines, twin screw. Service speed 18 knots. 1,905 passengers (125 first class, 550 second class, 1,230 third class).

Built for Austro-Americana Line, Austrian flag, in 1912 and named Kaiser Franz Josef I. Trieste-South America and later Trieste-New York service. Laid up at Trieste 1914-19. Sold to Cosulich Line, Italian flag, in 1919 and renamed Presidente Wilson. Mediterranean-New York service. Transferred to Adriatica Line, Italian flag, in 1930 and renamed Gange. Trieste-Far East service. Transferred to Adriatica Line, Italian flag, in 1936 and renamed Marco Polo. Venice-Alexandria service. Laid up 1940-43. Refloated in 1949; scrapped in 1950.


Gus and Anna Eckhardt sailed from Bremen to New York on the Elbe, arriving Feb. 18, 1882.


Photograph of the ELBE about 1890. Source: Arnold Kludas, Die Seeschiffe des Norddeutschen Lloyd, Bd. 1: 1857 bis 1919 (Herford: Koehler, c1991), p. 30. Click to request a larger copy of this scan.

 Passengers in steerage class did not enjoy great luxury but their accommodation was no long provisional. A minimum degree of hygiene was possible and with a considerably shorter crossing time of 8 days, the voyage no longer filled people with dread.

In steerage class there were iron bedsteads and space for 796 adult passengers. Bathrooms and toilets were two floors up on the lower promenade deck. Meals were eaten in the cabins. The cabins were disinfected after every crossing and the mattresses changed. Since the bedsteads were not permanent fixtures, freight could also be taken on board on the return voyage to Europe.

 ( from : DAD, the emigrant ships.


 The express-steamer "ELBE" (1881-1895)

The first express steamer of the Norddeutscher Lloyd, the "ELBE". This ship combined speed with comfort and was designed to give passengers in 1st and 2nd class considerably more space. The interior designer Johann G. Poppe was the first to realize the idea of a "floating luxury hotel".

At the beginning of the 1880s NDL was able to offer several departures a week on the "ELBE" and her sister ships, the most frequent and comfortable service between New York and the Continent. The "ELBE" was virtually always fully booked. She also went on three voyages to Australia. The "ELBE" sank following a collision with a British steamship in the North Sea in 1895. 332 people lost their lives.

Shipyard: John Elder & Co., Glasgow

Construction date: 1881

Use: Passenger ship

Type: Express steamer

Length: 127.46 meters

Width: 13.72 meters

Draft: 10.81 meters

Gross tonnage: 4,510 gross register tons

Passengers: 321 in 1st and 2nd class, 796 in steerage class

Present whereabouts: Sunk on 30th January 1885

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 Copyright © Laurel Treat 2004