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Brick wall: Fischer family, Hamburg to NYC, circa 1889

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Brick wall: Fischer family, Hamburg to NYC, circa 1889

Posted: 1378150456000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Fischer
I've been hitting a brick wall trying to pinpoint the national origin of my ancestors Isaac and Esther Fischer and their children, Eastern European Jews who immigrated to the U.S. circa 1889. Later documents are extremely contradictory. Isaac Fischer's census records and death certificates suggest variously that he was born in "Austria" or "Russia" (usually Austria). Esther's documents suggest consistently that she was born in Russia. Meanwhile, documents that their sons filed as adults (draft registrations, naturalizations, passport applications) suggest variously that they were born in Balta (Odessa District, Russia) or in Breslau (German Silesia) – or, more vaguely, "Austria" or "Russia." Clearly someone was a bit confused!

I hope the Fischers' passenger manifest will be able to resolve these contradictions – but I've looked for it to no avail. I thought I'd finally found the key to the mystery when I found the eldest son, Max Fischer's, passport application from 1895, on which he states quite specifically that he'd arrived aboard the SS Columbia, departing Hamburg on June 28, 1889:

But when I checked the nearest arrival of the Columbia (July 27, 1889 – the steamship's maiden voyage), Max and the other Fischers are nowhere to be seen:

Meanwhile, on another passport application (from 1912), Max states that he arrived in July 1887, with no mention of the ship's name:

The various U.S. censuses report arrival dates between 1889 and 1892 ... but all of them suggest that the family immigrated together.

I'm usually pretty good at finding even some pretty elusive manifests, but this one has got me seriously stumped. I'd be grateful for any suggestions on how I might finally smash this brick wall.

By the way, more information on Isaac Fischer and his family can be found here in my public tree:

Thanks in advance.

Adam Goodheart
Washington, D.C.

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