The Bertou Family Comes to America!

Cheryl was trolling around on the Ellis Island Foundation’s website yesterday and made a discovery of epic proportions. Well, to me anyway…

What she found was the actual ship manifesto from the day my family arrived in America! It logs their entry into the country and gives their personal information such as age, height, city of birth and occupation. There are even signed afadavits from the ship’s doctor and captain validating their physical and mental health.

My great, great grandfather Jacob left the Netherlands aboard the S.S. Rijndam on March 4, 1911. (Which happens to also be my birthday!) He brought with him his wife Leuntje and their four sons Renier, Jacob, Joost and Pieter. They arrived at Ellis Island in New York on March 14, 1911.

Another cool twist to the story is the fact that the ship they came over on was seized by the U.S. Government during World War I and used to transport troops to France. The coolest benefit of learning this is that I’ve been able to find some photos online of the actual ship my ancestors came to America aboard!

Here are some photos from what we’ve dug up in the past 24-hours. If anyone out there is interested, I’ve also put together a brief report of what we’ve found in a pdf document.

Here’s the actual manifesto. My family is listed on lines 10-15. You can click here to view a much larger image.

This is a closeup of their name entry on the manifesto.

The S.S. Rijndam in the New York harbor, circa 1918.


4 thoughts on “The Bertou Family Comes to America!

  1. that’s wicked pissah, budday! almost as cool as when i found out i am a descendent of charlemagne, haha 🙂 ya dirty dutch bah’stud.

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