Rosshaupt in black and white


Tracking One Family Across the Ocean

Three masted bark at sail

The Johann Gosz family left the Rosshaupt (today Rozvadov) Egerland and traveled to Bremerhaven to board the ship Herzogin von Brabant, sailing from Bremen to Montreal/Quebec, where they landed on May, 1867.  Once there, they almost certainly bought tickets for a Great Lakes steamer and sailed to Milwaukee.  Their naturalization application says that the "Port of Milwaukee" was their first port of landing in the US.  They arrived there in June of 1867.  I had been told that if the Port of Milwaukee was a first USA entry point, it usually meant the immigrants had come to this country by way of Canada.  I also knew of no immigration records for such an early date kept by the Canadian Government.  I thought I would never know the European port from which they embarked or the month when Johann and Margaretha Hummer Gosz had first seen land after their trip across the Atlantic.

I had not realized that ship arrival records were kept by the Canadian Government until they were acquired, indexed and publicized by Ancestry.  Just as an archivist in Milwaukee had told me, an arrival at the Port of Milwaukee usually meant an immigrant entered the US from Canada.  There were my Gosz great-great grandparents and all their children.

I was curious about the ship and I found the following information on the internet very interesting.

The Bremen bark HERZOGIN VON BRABANT was built at Neu-Rönnebeck (now Bremen-Blumenthal), by Claus Dierks & Co, for the Bremen firm of Ichon & Co, and was launched on 24 June 1858. 247 Commerzlasten / 572 tons; 42,4 x 9,4 x 5,1 meters (length x beam x depth of hold). Masters of the bark were, in turn, A. Beling, A. B. Wilms, and C. A. T. Strohmeyer.

The HERZOGIN VON BRABANT was originally employed in the North Atlantic trade, sailing between Bremen and New York.

In October 1867, the HERZOGIN VON BRABANT, under the command of Capt. Strohmeyer, sailed from the Thames River for Batavia, where she arrived on 8 February 1868. She either remained or returned to "Indian waters", since at the end of February 1870 she arrived at Falmouth from Rangoon.

In May 1871, the HERZOGIN VON BRABANT was sold to J. A. Jacobsen & Co, Tönsberg, Norway, and renamed NATHANAEL; she was sold again, in 1875, to Johs. Harbitz & Co, also of Tönsberg. From 1871 to 1889, she was commanded by Capt. J. J. Jacobsen, who was succeeded by Capt. Thue. In 1890, the NATHANAEL was sold to the firm of J. Prebensen, Österrisör (port of registry, Risör), and placed under the command of Capt. Gahrsen, followed by Capt. Pedersen. Around the turn of the century she changed hands twice again, first to Hans Olsens Dykkerforretning, Bergen, and shortly afterwards to the Actieselskab Bark Nathanael (J. Martens), also of Bergen. Her last captain was J. A. Jensen.

In November 1900, the bark NATHANAEL, bound from Boston for Bergen, encountered heavy weather in the North Sea, losing all her masts. On 16 November, she was towed to Grimsby, where she was subsequently condemned and broken up.

That short history shows that this "bark" or sailing ship, had already seen some heavy use by the time the Gosz family made their way to Canada.  I can only guess at the length of time their voyage lasted.  However, one part of the web article listed above cited a trip during that time period that took 53 days.

This was the time when steamships were also being used.  They made the crossing much shorter.  But such a trip was more costly.  That fact indicates that the Gosz family had limited resources for purchasing the fare to cross the ocean.  Or as the old saying goes, "more time than money!"

Source: Peter-Michael Pawlik, Von der Weser in die Welt; Die Geschichte der Segelschiffe von Weser und Lesum und ihrer Bauwerften 1770 bis 1893, Schriften des Deutschen Schiffahrtsmuseums, Bd. 33 (Hamburg: Kabel, c1993), pp. 72-73, no. 14.


Where They Lived

The story circulated in my Gosz family says that 2nd great grandfather Johann owned a shingle factory and had money!  But genealogical research so often kills off wonderful tales of successful ancestors.  I've outlined in prior blogs the lack of status of the Gosz family before they came to live in Wisconsin.   If Johann knew anything about shingles or any other kind of roof covering, I'm sure that he did the "day labor" of covering the roofs of his neighbors.

This leads to the question of the roof itself as well as the building that held up that roof.  Names, dates and places have never been enough.  The stories and the settings behind those things has the most interest for me.

So, as a start, here is a picture of a wedding scene - or rather a pre-wedding scene - in which the bride and her well-to-do family, Egerlander villagers all, are moving her dowry to the home of her husband-to- be, much to the interest of friends, neighbors, and even itinerant journeymen and tinkers who have happened by.  The artist also gives a good picture of the buildings in the village.  If you look closely by clicking on the picture, you may even see some shingles!

Gustav Zindel, Artist


Goß, Gosz or Goss, German Bohemians from the Egerland

My Goß ancestor were ethnic German Bohemians. They considered themselves to be Egerlanders, just as Germans from Bavaria consider themselves Bavarians. Their language (one of many German dialects) and culture were much closer to that of Bavaria than to the culture of the Czech Bohemians who lived further east. They were not farmers. From church records, it seems that many of the Gosz clan lived in the village of Roßhaupt (literally, horse's head) or tiny villages close by. For the most part, they were landless, and worked as laborers on one of the large estates, probably the "Maierhofen" estate which is so often mentioned in the Catholic Church records of Roßhaupt.

The following is the information which traces the birth of Johann Gosz and of his future wife, Margaretha Hummer; their marriage record; and the birth record of their first son, Paul, my great-great grandfather.

Picture of 2nd great grandfather Johann Goß/Gosz, from an old tintype

1. Baptismal Records of the Catholic Parish of Roßhaupt (today Rozvadov)

Name of Child: Johann Goß*
Catholic, male, legitimate
Date of Birth: 9 May 1825; Date of Baptism, 10 May 1825; Village Roßhaupt N. 76
Father: George Goß, cottager
Mother: Maria, daughter of Georg Adam Huttl, cottager in Rosshaupt N. 52, and Margareth born Putzlocher, cottager's daughter from Neuhausl N. 10
Godparents: Johann Keim, inhabitant in Roßhaupt and Elisabeth Keim, his wife Midwife: Marg. Filssner
Minister (Priest): Johann Rustler

2. Baptismal record of the Catholic Parish of Rozvadov

Name: Margaretha Hummer
Date of birth: 16 December 1827
Date of Baptism: 17 December 1827
Village: Turkenhaeusln N. 14
Catholic, female, legitimate
Father: Matthes Hummer, Cottager
Mother: Elisabeth, daughter of Johann Magerl, farmer from Katharina and Elisabeth born Freisleben, farmer's daughter from Katharina
Godparents: Margaretha Stich, farmer's daughter from Roßhaupt, Johann Stich, her father.
Midwife: Margaretha Kreuzer
Minister: Johann Rustler.

3. Marriage register of the Catholic parish Rozvadov

Date: 28 November 1848
Village: Rosshaupt N. 52
Marriage Service: Lamm, Georg, minister
Groom: Goss, Johann, Landless laborer's son in Roßhaupt N. 52, Maierhofen Estate, legitimate son of George Goss, Landless laborer in Roßhaupt N. 52, and the deceased Maria born Huttl, landless laborer's daughter of Roßhaupt N. 76, Maierhofen Estate.
Catholic, 23 years old, single
Bride: Hummer, Margaretha, legitimate daughter of the deceased Mathes Hummer, former landless laborer in Turkenhaeuseln N. 14, Maierhofen Estate, and of the deceased Elisabeth born Magerl, farmer's daughter from the village Katharina, Maierhofen Estate.
Catholic, 21 years old, single
Witnesses: Georg Mayer, Farmer and (?) of Roßhaupt; Joseph Huttl, Cottager and sieve maker in Roßhaupt.

4. Children of Johann Goß and Margaretha Hummer

a) 11 Nov. 1847 Paul
b) 27 Oct. 1849 Anna
c) 22 June 1853 Katharina
d) 14 Jan. 1855 Theresia
e) 10 Jan. 1858 Georg Adam
f) 13 Oct. 1860 Margaretha
g) 30 Mar. 1862 Wenzel
h) 25 Mar. 1865 Joseph

Picture of great grandfather Paul Gosz

5. Baptismal Records of the Catholic Parish of Rozvadov

Name of Child: Paul Goß*
Catholic, male, illegitimate
Date of Birth: 11 Nov. 1847;
Date of Baptism: 11 Nov. 1847;
Village of Rosshaupt N. 76
Father: Johannes Goβ, Cottager in Roβhaupt No. 52, legitimate son of the deceased Georg Goß,
Note: The father, here present has declared himself to be the father and registered his truthfulness and signed the document.
Mother: Hummer Margarethe, legitimate daughter of the deceased Hummer, Johann, former cottager in Turkenhäusel No. 14 and the deceased Elisabeth, born Margerl, legitimate daughter of the deceased Mathes Hummer, formerly a cottager in Zirk N. 14, and the deceased Elisabeth Magerl, instructor's daughter from St. Katharina, N.1 (Herrschaft Maierhöfen, Roβhaupt No. 52 seems to have been the current residence of Margaretha Hummer)
Godparents: Paul Hüttl (apparently signed in his own hand), cottager and meat hewer in Turkenhäusl
Midwife: Hüttl Margarethe Ausnähmerin in Roβhaupt, Certified

Each birth record gives not only the names of the parents, but also of two more generations.  I am told this was required by the Austrian Government, since the Egerland was ruled by Austria until the end of the First World War.

*The surname was originally spelled Goß using the German sharp S. I saw a copy of both Johann's and Paul Gosz's signatures on their immigration document in the Milwaukee County Archives.  Father and son wrote that sharp S. In English, there would be two ways to deal with that, since there is no Sharp S in our alphabet, just as there are no umlauts (ä, ë, ö, and ü are written as ae, ee, oe, and ue in English). Thus the Goß men could either spell Goß as Goss or Gosz.  Johann, Paul, George, Joseph, and Adam chose Gosz; their brother Wenzel preferred the surname Goss.

At the present time, the Egerland of old is part of the Czech Republic, and Rosshaupt, a border village, is today called Rozvadov.  This is the flag of the city hall.  Since the village was originally named "Horse's Head", it seems that the Czech-governed village of today is still represented by a horse.


Where was the Egerland?

The Egerland, before 1945-6, was in Western Bohemia, a part of the Sudetenland. Much of it had been settled by Germans. The Regierungsbezirk Eger or Government district of Eger was 7,466 square kilomenters and had a population of 803,300 inhabitants by 1939. The people who settled there were from the region of Upper Franconia and the Upper Palatinate. It was a landscape favored by nature. There were rich agricultural lands, health resorts like Karlsbad, Marienbad, Franzensbad, and St. Joachimsthal that brought many cure-seeking visitors to the district. Silver and radium were found around St. Joachimsthal and Kaulin. Precious clays surrounded Kalrsbad and Wildstein, and brown coal was located near Falkenau. The district was heavily wooded, with industries that took advantage of these rich forest resources.

Source: Bartl, Ernst, "Egerland, einst und jetzt," 1959


Why the Egerland is Important to Me

Rozvadov/Rosshaupt in southwestern Egerland

A month ago, I discovered a book at the secondhand bookstore at the Milwaukee County Airport. It was in three languages, German, English, and French. The author was Ernst Bartl and it was called "Egerland, einst und jetzt," or Egerland Once and Now."

Two weeks before, I had verified the home villages of my Gosz ancestors - tiny places that I could not locate on any map I owned. I did know that these villages were located at the far western edge of Bohemia. As I scanned through a book about an unfamiliar place, I found a detailed map of the Egerland, with the villages I had been seeking. Serendipity in action. For the first time that day I was glad that my sister's flight was two hours late, and that I was so bored I was looking at every German book in the bookstore!

While my plan to write a novel of my Rhineland ancestors is still my primary goal, I also want to continue learning about the homelands of my Bavarian and Bohemian forebears. I want to learn all I can about the Egerland, its history and everyday life. And, as I read this useful book that was lucky enough to find, I am taking notes, right here on this blog. I'll be able to find them when I'm ready to use them in fleshing out my Gosz family history. This book will lead to other information.

Why not share all that with anyone else who is interested? No reason I can think of.