Boatload of Bohemians

Posted: Tue, 12/15/2015 - 04:20
Author Email:

My great grandmother, Rosa Blei, may be Rosa Bley, 18, arriving in New York on the Main 6 Jun 1885. Sister Margarethe Bley and a Marge Blei are also on the ship. I’m interested in any info about my relatives move from Bohemia to California.

It seems to be a boatload of Bohemians. Servants? Who sponsored this group?

Rosa had 2 children with William Mayfield Shaw from England including my Grandpa in 1898. Then her husband ran off to British Columbia in 1899. She chased him there without the children.
She returned home to marry John Oley of Holland and have 2 more children. He ran off too but was arrested and sent back.
Rosa died in 1935.

Thanks very much, Dave


Dave, Can’t give you any additional information, but had to laugh reading your post—very interesting story!

Jerry, Thanks for responding. Rosa and John got back together. I remember John at my Grandpa’s Xmas Eve parties, a nice man.
Still, I’m sure there’s a story to so many Bohemians on that boat. I’d expect a mixture of nationalities. The boat didn’t leave from Prague.

Hi, Dave, meant to get back to you. I have no immediate answer as to why there were so many Bohemians on that particular boat, but that period in history was a very strong migration period out of the Czech lands. It was not uncommon to see tons of listings on a particular ship. Many of those leaving went through the Bremen Germany port. And, it was also common to see them listing themselves as servants as they were often times coming to the US to work for a family and earn money to gain more independence. Back to your particular family, have you checked for any other familiar names in the ships manifest? If ANY of the Czech names list a village of origin it may provide a clue. It’s a long shot, but sounds like that’s where you are at.

Thanks, Jerry, I’ll look into that when I get back home. Long shot for sure.