Artifact Name: German Passport
Creator/Manufacturer: Prussian government
Location: Lindemann family farm, Humboldt, Iowa
Photographer: Denise Ann Lindemann
Time Period: 1883
DESCRIPTION: This Prussian Reise-Pass (passport) was issued primarily for Michael Lindemann (1860-1951), and secondarily for his sister Anna Margaretha Lindemann (1864-1943). It features a decorative, repeating, watermark background with tiny repeating text that says “Deutsches Reich”. The four corners of each page feature a curved, floral, decorative wedge.
The first page says, “DEUTSCHES REICH” (meaning “German Empire”). Below that, “KÖNIGREICH PREUSSEN” (meaning “Prussian Kingdom”). Below that, “No. 193. des Registers” (meaning “number 193 in the register”). Below that, in ornate typeface, “REISE-PASS” (meaning “passport”). Below that, “gültig bis zum 17ten October 1884, für den Bergmann Herrn Michael Lindemann aus Essen /:Rheinpreußen:/” (meaning “valid until 17 October 1884, for the miner Mr. Michael Lindemann of Essen, Rheinland, Prussia”). Near the upper left corner is a circular stamp reading “EINE HALBE MARK * 1/2 M.” (meaning “one half mark * 1/2 M”).
The second page says at the top, “welcher in Begleitung seiner 19 Jahre alten Schwester Margaretha Lindemann nach America reist,” (meaning “who is accompanied by his 19-year-old sister Margaretha Lindemann in traveling to America”). Below that, “Essen, den 17ten October 1883, der Oberbürgermeister, a a, [illegible signature], Polizei-Inspector” (meaning “Essen, on the 17th of October, 1883, the head mayor, a a, [illegible signature], police inspector”). Near the lower left corner is a circular stamp reading “SIEGEL DER STADT ESSEN” (meaning “seal of the City of Essen”).
The third page says at the top, “Personbeschreibung des Inhabers,” (meaning “personal description of the bearer”). Below that, “Alter: 23 Jahre” (meaning “age: 23 years”). Below that, “Statur: mittel” (meaning “build: medium”). Below that, “Haare: blond” (meaning “hair: blond”). Below that, “Augen: grau” (meaning “eyes: grey”). Below that, “Gesichtsform: rund” (meaning “shape of face: round”). Below that, “Besondere Kennzeichen: ~” (meaning “Unique marks:” followed by a squiggle indicating that there are none). Below that, “Eigenhändige Unterschrift des Inhabers: Michael Lindemann” (meaning “Undersigned signature of the bearer: Michael Lindemann”).
Michael Lindemann used this passport to cross from German territory into Belgian territory, and thence to board the SS Zeeland at Antwerp, Belgium on 7 November 1883. The journey was a particularly stormy and treacherous one, and his ship arrived at the port of Philadelphia, several days behind schedule, on 25 November 1883. He took a train out to Iowa, where he spent the rest of his life. He would, from time to time, recount the harrowing story of his transatlantic trip.