Villages Helping Hands

Destination: The Americas

United States



  Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (PA)
Archivist: Rose Mary Keller Hughes


1931 Aboard the Deutschland

Poem of Immigrants Leaving Banat
By Author Unknown

Now the time and hour have come,
We travel to America.
The carriage is in front of the door,
With wife and children we do go.
Friends well known,
Give me your hand one last time!
We shall never see each other again,
Friend do not weep too much!
Now we reach the open sea,
Here we see no Germans any more.
We fear no waterfall,
And believe God is everywhere.
We now reach Baltimore.
There we stretch our hands to the sky,
And cry out loud, “Victory!
We are now in America"

Harrisburg is the county seat of Dauphin County and lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, 105 miles west-northwest of Philadelphia. The Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry counties, had a population of 509,074 in 2000. A July 1, 2007 estimate placed the population at 528,892, making it the fifth largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in PA after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (the Lehigh Valley), and Scranton-Wilkes Barre. During part of the 19th century, the building of the Pennsylvania Canal and later the Pennsylvania Railroad, allowed Harrisburg to become one of the most industrialized cities in the Northeastern United States.

In June of 1891, electrified trolley cars were introduced in the city, which replaced the horse car lines on such principal arteries leading from the City as Derry, State, Sixth, Third and Second Streets.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—a Popular Destination for Immigrants from Semlak
Ellis Island Passenger Records, researched and transcribed by Rose Mary Keller Hughes

One has only to look at manifests on the site to see how the Semlakers, for the most part, stuck together. What follows is just a small sampling of their arrivals.  Please notice the number of times the immigrant lists Cameron Street as the Harrisburg destination.  I do not know what street my grandmother had a boarding house when she lived in Harrisburg, but I am sure many used her address as a destination in the city.  Another guess is that perhaps the incoming from Semlak were told to use that particular address.  A popular person listed as living at the intended destination was my grandfather’s uncle, Peter Grünwald.  Not knowing for sure what motivated the immigrants to a specific street or a repeated person is just another research mystery.

Upon arrival in America, there seemed to be a preference of immigrants from Semlak for certain communities in America. It appears that their favored community was Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.   One has only to look at manifests on the site to see how the Semlakers, for the most part, stuck together.
What follows is just a
small sampling of their arrivals. 

Date Immigrant=s Name Harrisburg Address Name of Person Living at Harrisburg Address
17-Jan-01 Martin Wagner Unknown Unknown
1903 Konrad Brandt Unknown Unknown – In Harrisburg from 1903-1907
June 8, 1903 Peter Grünwald  Cameron St. Brother George Grünwald 
1903 Miklos Stajan 1242 Cameron St. Brother-in-Law Georg Masz
June 22, 1903 Daniel Zimmerman, Johann Hirsch, Mihaly Wagner, Adam Born, Konrad Brand, Peter Schilling, Thomas Schäffer, Peter Rosinger Harrisburg To Peter Grünwald 
June 29, 1903 Andras Bartolf 1242 Cameron St. Brother-in-Law Peter Grünwald 
June 29, 1903 Mihaly Wagner 1242 Cameron St. Cousin Peter Kalmann

July 5, 1903 

Jacob Szarvas 1242 Cameron St. Friend Franz Drier

July 5, 1903 

Miklos Pinczés 1242 Cameron St. Friend Franz Drier
Mar 28, 1904 Peter Kalmann with wife Maria and son Heinrich 128 Market Street Brother Joseph Kalmann
Mar 22, 1905 Peter Schilling Unknown To Konrad Schubkegl
Mar 22, 1905 Miklos Schilling Unknown Miklos Arva
Mar 22, 1905 Janos Pinczés 1405 Cameron St. To Hartman Li...?
May 10, 1905 Heinrich Grünwald and wife and children 1409 Cameron St. Friend Martin Szabo
 May 10, 1905 George Grünwald   1409 Cameron St.  Friend Martin Szabo
May 10, 1905 Andreas Grünwald with wife and child Unknown Brother-in-Law Conrad Schubkegl
1905 Heinrich Grünwald  1089 Cameron St. Brother-in-Law Josef Kalmann
1905 Peter Schilling Unknown Friend Konrad Schubkegl
Mar 22, 1905 Janos Pinczés 1405 North Cameron St. To Friend ? Hartmann
Mar 22, 1905  Miklos Schilling 1405 North Cameron St. To Friend Michael Arva
Mar 22, 1905 Peter Schilling Harrisburg To Friend Konrad Schubkegl
Mar 22, 1905 Janos Schilling Unknown Left Miklos Arva in Semlak
Mar 22, 1905 Henrik Schilling 1405 Cameron St. To brother Miklos in Harrisburg
Mar 22, 1905 Illes Pask Harrisburg Friend Peter Schudt
1906 Andras Kalmann 1319 Camerson St. Brother Peter Kalmann
1906 Johann and Margaret Frank Unknown Unknown
1906 Heinrich and Elisabeth Gross Unknown Unknown
Jan 24, 1906 Mihaly Bartolf 173 Bilt (?) St. Friend Heinrich Grünwald 
Jan 24, 1906 Andras Kalmann Unknown Brother Peter Kalmann
Feb 21, 1906 Heinrich Hirsch Unknown Brother-in-Law Peter Schilling
Feb 21, 1906 Andras Szabo Unknown Brother-in-Law Heinrich Grünwald 
Feb 21, 1906 Adam Gut 1319 Cameron St. Friend Heinrich Grünwald 
Feb 21, 1906 Erzebet Schilling with daughters Elisabeth and Katharina Unknown Husband Peter Schilling
Feb 21, 1906 Adam Arva and wife Eva 1240 Herr St. Uncle Phillip Arva

Feb 27, 1906 

Peter Bartolf Unknown Unknown

Feb 27, 1906

Georg Hay Unknown Cousin Konrad Brand
Apr 28, 1906 Barbara Schilling with children, Josef, Katalin and Peter 1230 Herr St. To husband Peter Schilling
1907 Peter and Susanna  Schmidt with son Peter Unknown Unknown
1907 Johann Wolf  Unknown Unknown
Feb 1, 1907 Mihaly Kalman 1228 Herr St. To brother Andreas
Feb 1, 1907 Marton Hay with wife Erzsebet and daughter Juli 1228 Herr St. To brother-in-law Daniel Schön
Mar 11, 1907 Peter Kalmann with wife Maria and son Heinrich 1089 Cameron St. Brother Josef Kalmann
May 29, 1907 Daniel Schubkegel Unknown Brother, Peter Schubkegel
Aug 5, 1907 Gyorgy Brandt 1226 Herr St. Brother-in-Law MartinWagner.  Left father Konrad Brandt at home in Semlak
Oct 23, 1907 Peter Pinczés  1941 Boos St. Brother-in-Law Peter Schilling
Mar 18, 1908 Michael Wagner Unknown Friend Gyorgy Brand (Wagner)
Mar 18, 1908 Georg & Lisi Brandt Unknown Unknown
Mar 18, 1908 Gyorgy & Lisi Hai. Johann Wolf 1102 Cameron St. Nephew Gyorgy Brand (Hay)

Mar 24, 1908

Michel Kalmann 1228 Herr St. Brother-in-Law Martin Wagner

Mar 24, 1908

Marton Kalmann 1319 Cameron St. Uncle Peter Kalmann; left wife Katharina

Mar 24, 1908

Jakob Kaiser 1228 Herr Street Brother Martin Kaiser, and left wife Margaretta
 Mar 24, 1908 Johann Stefan  1228 Herr Street Brother-in-Law for Stefan
Mar 24, 1908 Peter & Elisabeth Grünwald and children, Peter and Samuel Probably Cameron St. Unknown
Mar 24, 1908 Adam & Elisabeth (Shitt) and children Unknown To Brother-in-Law Adam Grünwald 
Mar 24, 1908 Adam Schlei Unknown Brother-in-Law Heinrich Schlei
Mar 24, 1908 Adam Born Unknown To Stepbrother Peter Schilling
Mar 24, 1908 Peter Born and daughter Elisabeth Unknown Brother-in-Law Peter Schilling
1908 Adam Wagner 1319 Cameron St. Michael Wagner
1909 Johann Wolf  First came in 1907 Unknown
Jan 29, 1909 Katalin Wagner and son Heinrich 1319 Cameron St. Husband Michael Wagner
Mar 21, 1909 Susanna Schafer with children Erzsi and Szuzsa 1087 Cameron St. To Husband Andras, left behind father Mihaly Schafer
Mar 21, 1909 Erzsebet Takacs with children Peter and Frigyes 1319 Camerson St. To husband Frigyes; left behind her father Peter Pinczés 
Mar 21, 1909 Peterne Arva with children Erzsi and Magda 1741 Boas St. To husband Peter; left behind her mother Julia Brand
May 12, 1909 Janos Szafnauer and Zsuzsa  1087 Cameron St. Brother Josef Safnauer
May 12, 1909 Josef  and Julianna Szafnauer with daughter Julianna Cameron St. Uncle Peter Grünwald
May 12, 1909 Gyorgy Gocsik and Zsuzsa 1108 Cameron St. Cousin Martin Schäffer
Jul 30, 1909 Elisabeth Wolf and children Susanna, Elisabeth, Adam, and Nikolaus Unknown Husband Johann Wolf who came in 1907 and earlier in 1909
Jan 26, 1910 Maria Ledig Unknown To husband Andras Ledig; left behind father-in-law Jacob Ledig
Jan 26, 1910 Zsuzsanna Baumann with daughter Catarina 1001 North St. To husband Andras Baumann; left mother behind in Semlak
Mar 19, 1910 Gyorgy Gocsik with wife Zsuzsa and son Gyorgy 1109 Cameron St. To cousin Martin Schäffer, left father-in-law Samuel Stefan
Mar 19, 1910 Jans Szafnauer and wife Zsuzsa 1087 Cameron St. To brother Josef Szafnauer; left behind father Marton Szafnauer
Apr 22, 1910 Adam and Elisabeth Wagner with daughters Maria, Elisabetha, and Magdalena 1087 (1687?) North Camerson St. Uncle Peter Grünwald 
May 2, 1910 Erzsebet Gocsik 1272 Herr St. To brother Georg Gocsik; left mother Julia Gocsik in Semlak
May 10, 1910 Michael Kalman with wife Katharina and child Katharina 531 N. Cameron St. Brother Peter Kalmann, left mother Susanna Kalmann in Semlak
Aug 23 1910 Konrad and Julianna Brandt with son Konrad Unknown Brother-in-Law, Nikolaus Wagner
Sept 20, 1910 Josef & Susanna Christ with daughter 1242 Herr St. Brother-in-Law Michael Hayback (Haibach)
May 9, 1911 Julianna Spier (born Brandt) & Friedrich Spier Unknown Son-in-Law Peter Arva
Aug 18, 1911 Martin Brandt Cameron St. Brother Konrad Brandt; left father Konrad in Semlak
Mar 18, 1912 Eva Brandt with 9 mo old son, Konrad 609 Cameron St. Husband Marton Brandt. Left father Michael Schmidt in Semlak
May 7, 1912 Adam & Magdalena (Arva) Rózsa with son, Sandor 1943 Pass (?) St. Brother-in-Law Konrad Arva, left father Josef Rózsa in Semlak
1913 Martin and Elisabeth Kunz Unknown Unknown
1913 Adam Born 1236 ? St. Brother-in-Law Peter Schilling
1913 Mrs. Adam Brand 35 Colle St. Husband Adam Brand
1913 Susanna Szafnauer 14 Colle St. Husband Johann Szafnauer
Aug 12, 1913 Martin Wagner 119 Cameron St. Uncle Kalmann.  Left behind in Semlak, his wife Susanna
Aug 12, 1913 Michael Stefan 119 Cameron St. Friend. Left behind in Semlak, his wife Julianna 
Aug 12, 1913 Georg Kalmann 119 Cameron St. Uncle Kalmann. Left behind in Semlak, his father Martin Kalmann
Aug 12, 1913 Andras Schafer 1087 Cameron St. To Uncle Peter Grünwald, left wife Maria at 203 Semlak.  Says he was born in America.
Aug 12, 1913 Mihaly Kalman 1036 Herr St. Uncle Peter Kalman; left wife Katharina at 47 Semlak. Says he was born in America
Aug 12, 1913 Josef Safnauer 1087 Cameron St. Friend Peter Grünwald; left behind wife Johanna at 202 Semlak.  Says he was born in America.
Aug 12, 1913 Josef Safnauer and wife Juliana 2087 Cameron St. To friend Peter Grünwald, lived at 202 Semlak
Sep 20, 1910 Josef Christ with wife Susanna and child Elizabeth 1242 Herr St. Brother-in-law Michael Haybak; left behind father-in-law Salomon Haybak
Sept 23, 1913 Andreas Zimmerman Unknown Friend Peter Schilling
Sept 23, 1913 Adam Born Unknown Brother-in-Law Peter Schilling
Sept 24, 1913 Joseph Keller, Konrad Pinczés, Heinrich Beinschroth 1224 Lev (?) St. Friend Daniel Schmidt
Oct 1, 1913 Martin Beinschroth Unknown Unknown; left wife Susanna in Semlak
Nov 3, 1913 Jozefne Szafnauer with child Josef 1218 ? St. Husband Josef Szafnauer, left father-in-law M. Szabnauer
Nov 21, 1913 Terer Pinczés with children Helene, Elisabeth, Susanna and Imre. 1089 Cameron St. Brother-In-Law Josef Spier; left daughter Kati Szarvas in Semlak
Dec 10, 1913 Adam Wagner with daughters, Mary and Elisabeth Cameron St. Unknown
Dec 17, 1913 Katalin (Arasz) Pinczés with son Georg 605 Cameron St. Husband Konrad Pinczés, left father Georg Arasz in Semlak
Dec 17, 1913 Katalin Spier with children Magda, Peter and Susanna 1089 Cameron St. Husband Josef Spier, left son Josef in Semlak
1914 Mihaly Kaiser Unknown Brother-in-Law ? Kontz
1914 Susanna Beinschrot Unknown Joining husband Martin who came Oct 1, 1913
Apr 1, 1914 Marton Bartolf 58 Martin St. Brother Heinrich Bartolf
Apr 22, 1914 Mihaly Kaiser with Katherina and children Maria and Eva Unknown To son-in-law ? Kontz, left wife Magdalena in Semlak
May 17, 1914 Elisabeth Bartolf Wagner and 2 Younger Daughters 1687 North Cameron St. Husband/Father Adam Wagner
Nov 4, 1921 Peter Born with wife Elisabeta and children Catarina, Suzana and Nicolea 44 Half Keets St. (?) Son Peter Born
Aug 16, 1922 Ecaterina Kunstar (25) and child Ileana Unknown Unknown
Sept 1, 1922 Martin & Elisabeth Haibach with son, Henry 1120 North Cameron Brother-in-law Heinrich Kalmann

July 6, 1923

Andrew & Elisabeth Grünwald  1406 Herr S. Brother-in-Law Adam Schäffer
Oct 1, 1923 Josef & Elisabeth Kalmann and son Josef 1120 Cameron St. Uncle Heinrich Kalmann, left father Josef Kalman behind in Semlak


Semlak Evangelische Lutherans & the Deutsche Evangelische Lutheran Zion Kirche

Deutsche Evangelische Lutheran Zion Kirche, Harrisburg, PA

 While in Harrisburg, as mentioned before, many of the Semlak Evangelische (Lutherans) attended the Deutsche Evangelische Lutheran Zion Kirche.  The pastor was Heinrich F. F. Lisse.  He and his wife, Martha, lived at 1106 Capital Street, which was very near the church.  

While some say that Pastor and Mrs. Lisse were from Liebling, there is evidence that says they came from Germany where the couple were married in Berlin.  Their arrival in the United States on a 24 August 1894 manifest indicates that Heinrich was born on 6 December 1867 in Schwirz-Silesia, Germany.  Martha Johanna Louise Lisse nee Hornig was born in Berlin, Germany.  Click here to view the manifest and the Lisses and their children can be found at a Rootsweb World Connect site.  I have tried to find the family in the Liebling Familienbuch without success.  Whatever their origins, they were good support for the many young immigrants from the Banat villages.

Pastor and Mrs. Lisse were from Liebling, Banat.  Evanne Weirich, a distant relative found on the Internet, said her mother reported that Reverend Lisse missed his calling as a playwright and theater director—he was forever putting on plays and musicals with the children of the parish. 

Built in the 1880s, the German Evangelical Zion Lutheran Church served the German-Hungarian immigrants from Semlak, Liebling, and other Lutherans from Donauschwaben villages.  The church was a little over two miles from Cameron Street and even closer to Herr Street where so many of the Semlakers lived when they first arrived in Harrisburg.

There is a strong possibility they chose these streets because they were near water just as their homes in Semlak—one was near the Susquehanna and the other was beside the Marosch.

To go to the Lutheran Church, they would go northwest on Cameron, turn left on Paxton, a slight right on South 2 , a right on Chestnut, & and then left to 4th.   From Cameron it was 1.38 miles to the German Lutheran Zion Church.  For the Semlakers who lived on Herr Street (it crossed North Cameron St.), it was 1.54 miles.



The new immigrants in 1910.
Adam and Elisabeth Wagner with their daughters
Maria, Elisabetha, and Magdalena.

Adam and Elisabeth Wagner with their daughters Maria, Elisabetha, and Magdalena

Coming soon, Donauschwaben who chose Harrisburg as their destination in the United States

Liebling (270 +) partial list

Local Genealogical Research Aids
Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., & Pennsylvania State Records

1930 Harrisburg City Directory - Consists of about 600 pages each with about 100 city residents and workers (who live in nearby towns) providing information including spouses names, job / profession, sometimes place of employment, and address of residence.

Naturalizations in Eastern Dist. of PA, 1795-1930 - These are Naturalization Records of the US Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. They include petitions for naturalization, 1795-1930; and declarations of intent, 1793-1818, and 1825-1836. [Details]

Naturalizations in Middle Dist. of PA, 1901-1930 - These petitions are arranged by court then by year. Within each year, they are listed by the date of the record and then by petitioner's name. [Details]

Naturalizations in Western Dist of PA, 1820-1930 - These files contain declarations of intent and petitions for naturalization for the Western District of Pennsylvania, arranged by date, October 1820 through September 26, 1906. They also include records of the US Circuit Court, July 1910-1911, and records of the US District Court, October 1, 1906 through January 27, 1931. [Details]

Pennsylvania Archives - Pennsylvania historical events, facts about ancestors. [Details]

1800 to 1920 Census - Pennsylvania census schedules for 1800-1880 and 1900-1920 are available on microfilm. The 1890 census was destroyed by a fire in 1921. Entries are arranged by county and thereafter by subdivision.  These indexes list the name of the head of household, a four letter code for the county of residence, page number on the microfilm, and census division. Types of data differ from decade to decade.

From the days of the Civil War into the twentieth century, the canals of eastern Pennsylvania prospered from the movement of coal. The Schuylkill Navigation Company operated until 1922, the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, embracing its Lehigh and Delaware Canals, until 1931. Perhaps the most notable of Pennsylvania canal achievements was the "boating" until 1894 of millions of tons of anthracite coal annually from Nanticoke on the North Branch of the Susquehanna to Jersey City and New York.

Pennsylvania's Canal Era 1792-1931 - History & Video Clip

Pennsylvania Canals

DVHH < Destination: The Americas < United States < Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (PA)


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