Here are the passenger landing cards for the first Reimanns in my family to arrive in America.
It's not really useful information. I believe "Jean Key" was the name of an owner, and not of the actual vessel, there's no port of embarkation (family lore says Bremen), and the names are somewhat wrong. This Ludwig and Attillia Reiman went on their tombstones as "Phillip Ludwig and Maria Ottilia Reimann"--so I come by that second 'n' in my name honestly, or at least it's been used by my particular family for ~150 years.
But, although these cards lack an influx of really good new information, looking at these cards, one thing struck me: my understanding is that Ludwig and Maria Ottilia were not people of great means. Ludwig's occupation "mechanic" was more a sort of a class competency than a profession (think: the 'mechanicals' in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, not car engines). Yet somehow they arranged for their entire family to travel to America together. Phillip, one of their older children, was already married to Margaret (listed on his "accompanied by, line, following his parents), and sister Barbara, also traveling in the group, was married just four years later, in 1848. What prompted this middle-aged couple to pick themselves up and move here? War? A draft? A prospect of a better life? It's true that, on arriving, the family traveled straight to Buffalo, settled there, and prospered. But the family did know know that was going to happen when they set foot upon that ship.
I'm 50 this year. Four years older than Maria Ottilia. As I sit here, typing to you on this marvelous machine, I stretch my imagination to consider selling my possessions, and moving with my husband and children to a new country. Chidren--I have three. Would they all want to come with me? Even if the stakes were high, and they knew they might not see me again? My great-great-grandmother: she had 10, and all 6 of the survivors came to America with her on this ship.
What was so wrong with where she was living that she, that they, made this choice?