Introduction to the Emigration from the Banat
in Passenger Ship and Border Crossing Records

- Extractions by David Dreyer -

of San Mateo, California

Last Update: July 27, 2013

Dave’s Biographical Sketch

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Notes for specific villages may have been added to entries from other sources and the sources are acknowledged as indicated at the bottom of the page.


Pete’s Biographical Sketch

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The U. S. Passenger ship records constitute a major resource for determining the village of origin for immigrants to America. In this decade at the turn of the century the record keeping on newly arrived immigrants by U. S. authorities underwent a number of revisions and developed into its present form.


Enforcement of immigration regulations and responsibility for maintaining passenger ship manifests was transferred in 1893 from Customs to a Superintendent of Immigration. The data recorded on the ship lists was changed in 1897, in 1903 and again in 1906, each time increasing the amount of information collected. The Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was established in 1906 and the ships lists after this date (Sep 1906) record not only the last residence but also the all important place of birth.


These lists were compiled by the shipping company at the port of departure.  The manifests were then used by the U. S. immigration inspectors as a basis for their examination. Upon arrival, the U. S. inspectors reexamined the immigrants checking their responses against the data already on the manifest. The passenger ship lists are all available on microfilm either from the National Archives or the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake.  These lists are indexed except for the port of New York 1849-1896.  However a disconcerting fraction of the indexes are illegible. Up until 1904 Banaters migrated mostly from the North Sea German ports of Bremen and Hamburg with lesser numbers leaving from Antwerp and Rotterdam. Ships leaving from Bremen were exclusively Nord Deutscher Lloyd (NDL) while those from Hamburg were Hamburg American Line.  NDL ships landed in either New York or Baltimore. Hamburg American Line, Holland-American (from Rotterdam) and Red Star Line (from Antwerp) ships disembarked almost exclusively in New York.  Some NDL ships on the Bremen-Baltimore run also went on to land passengers in Galveston, Texas.


The "Morton Allan Directory of European Passenger Steamship Arrivals" is a useful aid in identifying the ships' names, date of arrival and ports of departure for immigrant passenger ships arriving at American Ports. It lists the arrival dates of ships for the Port of New York for the period 1890-1930 and for the Ports of Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore for 1904 to 1926. The lists are arranged by year and then by steamship line.  Thus, one can quickly determine the arrival dates of any given passenger ship. The Morton Allen directory is also on microform and is part of the core collection of all FHCs. An expanded version of this ship arrival data is also on the internet at and allows various search options. One can search by date, port, shipping line or individual ship. These data can be especially useful when verifying the arrival particulars given in naturalization records which many times are in error.


The total amount of data in the passenger ship records collected after 1906 frequently allows one to establish a fairly complete biographical profile on many immigrants. The typical passenger list after 1906 contained among other facts, the individuals name, age, sex, marriage status, occupation, race, last permanent address, name and address of nearest relative in country from which they came, final destination, in possession of a ticket to the destination and by whom paid, whether in possession of $50 and, if less, how much, name and address of who they were going to join, and place of birth.




In 1904 the Hungarian government took measures to encourage its citizens to use the Adriatic port of Fiume as a port of departure. Starting in 1904, following an agreement by which the Hungarian government gave Cunard shipping line an exclusive concession for the transport of migrants from Fiume many Banaters came to America by this route. These Cunard ships disembarked passengers exclusively at the port of New York. For Banaters, departure from Fiume required the possession of a Hungarian passport while at this time the North Sea ports as well as Antwerp and La Havre did not require a passport or other travel documents.


The opening of the Fiume-New York route in 1904 had a large impact on the emigration of Hungarian nationals through the port of Bremen. In 1903 about 60% of Hungarian Nationals emigrated through the Port of Bremen.  In 1905, after establishment of the Fiume-New York route, this dropped to about 45% and the percentage leaving via Bremen continued to decline to 28% in 1907. In 1907, the year of maximum emigration to the U. S., about 45% of Hungarian nationals left for America via Fiume. Departures from Hamburg during these same years varied from a quarter to a third that of Bremen with departures from Antwerp and Rotterdam ranging 10-15% each that of Bremen.


Donau Schwabens were usually detectable in the records because by nationality they were Hungarian but ethnically German. They traveled with Hungarian travel documents. The fact that many Banat emigrants traveled in groups, especially in the early period, aided in their identification in the records. Nevertheless, the usual problems of illegible handwriting and faded records certainly has led to some entries being overlooked.




One can chart the increasing Magyarization of the Banat German surnames in the records as well as the increasing substitution of the Magyar version of given names for the German. One consequence of the Magyarization is that for surnames containing the letter S, the S is substituted by Sz. For example Siller is now Sziller, Theissmann is Theiszmann and Hess is Hesz. A second change is the substitution of Cz for Z in names beginning in Z; for example Czillich for Zillich and Czauner for Zauner. 


The Magyarized versions were somewhat more pronounced among those Banaters leaving from Fiume where a Hungarian passport was required and it was more likely that clerks would substitute a Hungarian for the German version. After arrival in America the spelling almost always reverted back to the German version.


Not only must consideration be given to a Hungarian spelling variant when searching databases but also to normal German spelling variations which occur when surnames and place names are spelled phonetically. The following guidelines cover the usual spelling variations which are encountered in German church books and in this case passenger ship records.




1. The letter pairs B and P, W and V and T and D are frequently found interchanged leading to equivalent names Pulger and Bulger, Tolwig and Dolwig, Tipo, Dipo and Dibo, Vollmann and Wollmann (and even Follmann), Vetter and Fetter, Vetzler and Wetzler and Schirado and Schirato. Of lesser importance are the exchanges of the pairs, C and K, K and G, resulting in Gasko and Gasgo (and when Magyarized Gaszgo) or Vigete and Wikete and Z and S, leading to Sauner and Zauner.


2. Vowels are exchanged in a bewildering fashion so that almost any combination is found.


3. Consonants are found doubled when only one is anticipated while, those customarily doubled are also found alone. For example, Pfeiffer and Pfeifer, Schaeffer and Schaefer and Doggendorf and Dogendorf and Raber and Raaber.


4. The letter H is sometimes silent in German and, as a result, can appear or disappear from names in a disconcerting fashion, for example, Hehn or Hen, Bernard and Bernhard or Bon and Bohn.


5. A terminal D in a word is pronounced like a T. This leads to the spelling variations, Bernhard, Bernhart or Bernhardt or Quind, Quint and Quindt.


These spelling variants obviously alter the ordering of names in the databases and readers should carefully search under all possible spellings taking the above guidelines into consideration.  In short, the spelling of any name which is similar phonetically should be considered. 




An analysis of the data in the database which may help in searching for difficult cases can be found by selecting the entry in the website index.


It is intended that these abstracts are only a guide to finding Banaters in the records and it cannot be emphasized enough that the original records should be consulted for individuals of interest. Researchers should also keep in mind that the passenger ship records before 1906 do not give the place of birth but only the last residence. Nevertheless, the last residence is also the place of birth for the great bulk of immigrants.  Another advantage of verifying records of interest is due to the fact that for the New York records, the lists of aliens held for special inquiry and records of detained aliens were microfilmed directly after the ship records they arrived on.  This allows the researcher to check for further possible information on these additional lists.


Abbreviations used for departure and arrival ports are given at the end of the introduction.




1. "Morton-Allan Directory of European passenger Steamship Arrivals", Baltimore, 1987.


2. Hungarian Royal Central Statistical Office, "Hungarian Statistical Publications", Vol. 67, p. 47, 1918(Available on the internet at


3. Regenyi, Isabella and Scherer, Anton, "Donauschwabeabische Ortsnamen Buch", AKdFF, Second corrected edition, Darmstadt, 1987.


4. Tepper, Michael, "American Passenger Arrival Records", Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore 1988.


5. No author. "Immigrant and Passenger Arrivals". Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. National Archives Trust Fund Board, Washington DC 1983.


6. "A Century of European Migrations 1830-1930, R. J. Vecoli and S, M Sinke, Eds. Univ Ill Press 1991.


7. "Round-Trip To America", M Wyman. Cornell Univ Press 1993.



For a number of villages, where Familienbuecher or other access to turn of the century Banat church books are available an attempt has been made to match parties in the passenger ship records with those in the church books.  If an individual’s age in the passenger ship record can be matched with someone with the same name within a year and there are no one else with that name in a 2-3 year time period a match is considered established.  In many cases additional collaborating evidence (wife’s, kids, siblings names, etc ) is available.  Such data is given in brackets for the following localities and comes from the sources indicated.




Comments or special notes found after individual entries.


All data in brackets from Schuch, Helene, “Alexanderhausen im Banat, 1833-2000”, Bietigheim-Bissingen, 2001.

D Bentschek

All data in brackets are from Franz Schneider unless indicated otherwise.


All data in brackets from Wikete, Hans, “Ortssippenbuch Billed 1765-2000”, 3 Vols. 2001.

D Etschka Sigmundfeld

All data in brackets are from Lung Philipp Familienbuch, "Deutsch-Etschka-Sigmundfeld-Rudolfsgnad.", 1999.

Deutsch Bentschek

All data in brackets are from Franz Schneider, “Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrgemeinde Deutschbentschek im Banat” Band I, 2003.


All data in brackets are from E Henz, "Hatzfeld" Familienbuch 1998 unless otherwise indicated.


Massdorf = Kistoszeg. Heufield=Nagytoszeg.


All data in brackets are from Schramm, Nikolaus and co-workers “Familienbuch Giseladorf und Panjowa”, 2001

Gr Jetscha

All data in brackets are due to Hans Wikete, “Ortssippenbuch Grossjetscha  1767-2000” 2003.


All data in brackets are from Susan Clarkson, "Familienbuch der Katholischen Pfarrgemeinde Johannisfeld, 1806-1897", 2000.


Researchers are referred to Vol. IV of the Banat Family History Series, "Josefsdorf-Giseladorf Family Register 1882-1899" as well as Vol. I for passenger ship abstracts of Banaters who migrated to North Dakota.

Kl Jetscha

All data in brackets from Giel, Dietmar, Familienbuch Kleinjetscha im Banat, 1772-2000., Karlsruhe 2001.


All data in brackets are from Johann Moehler, "Ortssippenbuch Liebling" unless indicated otherwise


All data in brackets are from Richard Jaeger unless indicated otherwise.


All data in brackets are from Georg Schmadl, “Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrgemeinde Nitzkydorf/Banat 1785-2000”, 2002.


All data in brackets are from Anton Karemer, "Familienbuch Perjamosch und Perjamosch-Haulik" 2000, unless indicated otherwise.


All data in brackets are from Franz Bertram, Edith Heuer and Elisabeth Stricker, “Familienbuch der deutschen Familien aus Rekasch im Banat 1740-2002” 2003.


All data in brackets are from Lung. Philip, "Deutsch-Etschka, Sigmundfeld, Rudolfsgnad" 1999 Familienbuch, unless indicated otherwise.


All data in brackets are from H Awender, "Familienbuch Stefansfeld/Banat 1796-1945", 1998 unless indicated otherwise


All data in brackets are from Anton Kraemer, "Familienbuch Ulmbach-Neupetsch Im Banat 1853-1991", 1994 unless indicated otherwise.


All data in brackets are from Josef Kuehn, “Familienbuch der katholischen Pfarrgeneinde Neuburg an der Bega(=Ujwar) im Banat 1812-1898”.  2003