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In 1887, Reinhold Libau left his family in Leulitz, Germany, and sailed via Antwerp, Belgium, to the United States. There, he bought a farm near Chippewa Falls, Wis., before returning to Germany for his family members.
The diary he kept during his travels, rediscovered in 1992, will be part of the exhibits at the Red Star Line museum in Antwerp, Belgium. The museum, scheduled to open in 2012, will document the stories of immigrants who sailed with the legendary shipping company to new lives in America.
Between 1873 and 1934, the Red Star Line transported more than 2 million passengers—Europe’s poor peasants as well as prosperous businessmen and leisure travelers—from Antwerp to New York City. The museum will be located in the original departure halls in the city’s old harbor district.
The museum is seeking more tales like Libau’s to be in exhibits or serve as resources in its research library. If your immigrant ancestor was a passenger on the Red Star Line, e-mail his or her story with your contact information.
Clues your relative sailed the Red Star Line include a departure from Antwerp (check the top of the passenger list) or a ship name ending in -land (such as Pennland, Westernland or Zeeland).
Besides its own ships, the Red Star Line also chartered vessels from other shipping lines, such as Cunard, Hamburg-America and others. See a fleet list at the Belgian Roots Project website; click a ship name for a list of voyages and links to free passenger lists, if available.
From the August 2010 Family Tree Magazine