Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Texas Immigration Agent Records: Private agent "F. Russek", the North German Lloyd line, and a new repository of records!

My hunch was that I might find some advertisements for immigration agents in old newspapers. 

That hunch was verified in about two seconds. I'm in the midst of researching several immigration agents I found this way. One was a man in New York who brought at least 120 people from the German and Czech lands to Texas. One is a reference not to a specific immigration agent, but to an immigration association run by the railroad (very, very fascinating!). But the one I want to write about right now is about "F. Russek."

On page 7 of 8 of an 1880 digitized copy of a Czech language newspaper printed in La Grange, Texas, I found an advertisement (in Czech) for a private immigration agent named F. Russek.

Here is the link:
Slovan (La Grange, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 3, Ed. 1, Thursday, September 2, 1880

Here is a transcription of the text:
Jednatel pro přeplav mezi Bremen a Amerikou
S tímto upozornuji každého, kdo svým přátelum v Evropě cestu do Ameríky předlatiti chce, aneb kde do Evropy cestovati si přeje že jápřeplavní lístky ze všech míst z Evropy do Texas,aneb z Ameriky do Evropy, za levnou cenu vzstavují. Zařízení toto poskytuje cestujícím velké výhody, poněvadž na takové lístky se cesta bez přestržení z domova až na místo konati dá, Výprava děje se přes Nový York pravidelně každých 7 dní, přes New Orleans jen na podzim a na jaře a přes Baltimore každých 14 dní: Také sprostředkuji zásilky peněz do Evropy a vyzdvihuji tam anechané peníze na požádání:F. Russek,Schulenberg, Fayette Co., Texas


Here is what google translate gives me from that transcription:
Managing Director to pass over between Bremen and AmericaWith this, note anyone to their friends in Europe Coming to America předlatiti wants, or where to Europe cestovati wishes that Ipřeplavní cards from all sitesfrom Europe to Texas,or from America to Europe for a cheap price vzstavují. This facility provides great benefits to passengers, because on such a journey without tickets přestržení from home to give the points to meet, design happening across New York regularly every 7 days over New Orleans just in the fall and in the spring and through the Baltimore every 14 days: It also mediates the shipment of money to Europe and point out there anechané money on demand:F. Russek,Schulenberg, Fayette Co., Texas

Not super helpful. 

Here is what my friends at genealogie.taby.cz gave me:
The Conveyer (agent) for passage between Bremen and America
This is to advise anyone who wants to prepay for friends in Europe a trip to America or who wishes to travel to Europe, that I am issuing shipping tickets from Europe to Texas or from America to Europe for reasonable prices. 
This provides great benefits to passengers, because it enables to make a trip without let-up from home to given point with these tickets. 
Tours go on via New York regularly every 7 days, via New Orleans during the fall and in the spring only and via Baltimore every 14 days. 
On demand I also mediate shipment of money to Europe and withdrawal of money consigned (deposed) there. 

F. Russek,
Schulenberg, Fayette Co., Texas

Much more helpful!

From kdejsme.cz we learn that the surname Russek is highly concentrated Silesia. This would make sense, since most Texas Czechs originated from the Moravian-Silesian area of the Czech lands.

I see the word "F. Russek" and assume the F stands for Frank. Out of curiosity, I searched the heritagequest database and came up with a few results, including Franz Russek in High Hill, Fayette county, a farmer, with his wife and children. 

A newspaper search yielded some more results in the Wiemar Mercury, in particular two obituaries. One for Frank Russek, the other for Hulda Richter Russek

At a first glance, it seems that the Franz Russek in the 1870 census is this Frank Russek's father. On the 1870 census he is listed as having a 19 year old son named Frank. This will need to be confirmed.

Hulda's obituary references her husband Frank Russek's job in the real estate business. 

A google search for '"Frank Russek" Texas' pointed me to "The History of Texas and Texans, vol 3". On page 1194, Mr. Frank Russek of Schulenberg is referred to as, "an important factor in the development of Fayette county, being immigrant agent at Schulenberg for the North German Lloyds, of Bremen, Germany."

This led to a search of the North German Lloyds. I found a really interesting website called the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives, which contains select transcribed passenger lists and many other interesting resources dealing with this shipping company. One interesting record was a collection of steamship tickets. Now to figure out how to search this database. If it is a database.

Upon a brief perusal of the site, I figured out that they do have a lot more things in their archives than are digitized online, and they do searches, for a fee.

I found that they have transcriptions of select passenger lists from the North German Lloyd line. That is awesome. Though not as awesome as the original image, which it appears you used to be able to purchase, but now cannot. And there are several thousand that are not even transcribed yet! Agh!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I just shot those archives an email. Maybe it will yield some results. Interesting stuff.

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