by Lois Jones - December 2002

Frank Zenz died January 22, 1882. And as stated above Anna Zenz had many good reasons to leave Germany after he died. However four years after Frank's death, Anna was still living in Valwig, Germany. Why had she not made the move?

According to notes taken by Harold Zenz in 1966, John Zenz stated his mother, Anna Zenz was encouraged by her brother Joseph Cochems to come to the United States. In notes dated 1980 Harold Zenz related that the family entered at New York in 1886, traveled by train to Chicago for a short visit then came to Los Angeles.

When I finally found the ships log record for Anna Zenz and family my question was answered. Joseph did more than just encourage Anna to come to America. Joseph left his own family in Chicago and traveled back to Germany to bring Anna to the United States. Perhaps Anna would never have made the move to the United States if her brother had not returned to Germany to get her.

I was somewhat disappointed that the ships captain was not more accurate in entering our family on the ship's log, but something is better than nothing. The following is how the family was listed on the ship's log.

  • J. Cochems
  • Wit Zens
  • A "
  • P "
  • A "
  • F "
  • J "

The log contained the correct age for only two of the seven travelers; listed the widow as a male, and with ditto marks from above entries listed the family as from England. However there is no doubt in my mind that the entry is for the widow Zenz and her children Anna, Peter, Anton, Franz and John. With so few Zenz' in the world and even fewer Cochems it has to be our family and J. Cochems has to be Anna's brother Joseph. I have not found every Cochems in the world but I have found quite a few. And according to my records the only J. Cochems living at this time was Anna's older brother Joseph.

The group traveled from Amsterdam on the S. S. Schiedam a ship of the Holland American line. The Schiedam built in 1874 was a 2,236 gross ton ship, with a length of 301 feet and a beam of 39.3 feet. The ship had one funnel, two masts and a speed of ten knots. Since the Schiedam had a funnel or smokestack it was a steam ship but ships at that time were also built with masts as a precaution in case the engine broke down. For more information on the Schiedam see

In 1887 Los Angeles Directory by W. H. L. Corran printed an advertisement for the Hamburg-American Packet Co. and Baltic Line. The following are excerpts from that ad: "The Company's Ocean Steamers have been constructed by the most famous engineers and iron ship-builders in Europe....The commodious staterooms are all on the same main deck, thus insuring those greatest luxuries at sea--perfect ventilation and light....The Steerage is situated directly below the main deck. It is spacious, light and well ventilated, and has separate compartments for single men, women and families. An efficient corps of stewards and servants, speaking several languages, is attend to the wants of passengers....The Hamburg Mail Line has always enjoyed an enviable reputation for the excellent fare provided for its patrons, the menu served not being surpassed by the best hotels either in Europe or America."

Anna and her family traveled on the Holland American line not the Hamburg-American Packet line so I do not know how the Schieden measured up to the Hamburg-American ships advertised above. However I included portions of this ad in this narrative to illustrate what an advertiser considered important amenities to the traveler.

Joseph, Anna and the children arrived in New York on November 8, 1886. Anna and her 5 children carried six pieces of luggage. Traveling with them were 17 passengers in cabin class and 33 passengers in intermediate class. Three hundred and forty seven passengers traveled third class including Joseph, Anna and the children. Total passengers listed on the Schiedam that trip were 397. There were probably more people on the ship than who lived in Valwig in 1886 when the Zenz' emigrated. There were no births or deaths reported on the ship's log.

On November 8, 1886, seven ships (including the Schiedam) docked in New York. The total number of people who embarked that day was 1,954. I do not know the order in which the ships docked but after the voyage across the Atlantic it must have been very exciting to wait in New York harbor for your turn to disembark. Those arriving in New York on that November 8th day were among the first people to see the Statue of Liberty. The statue had been dedicated 11 days earlier on October 28, 1886. After passing the Statue of Liberty the passengers then proceeded to Castle Gardens which was the immigrant entry point until 1892.

Then according Harold Zenz' notes, the group took a train to Chicago; visited presumably with Joseph's family for a short time and then headed on to Los Angeles. As stated previously in Joseph's story, Joseph's family did not join him in Los Angeles until a few years later.

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