01 March 2006

Harland & Wolff's Early Work

This is Germanic, or it was at one time. She was built by Harland & Wolff in Belfast in 1875. Yes, that Harland and Wolff. At 468 feet long and displacing just over 5,000 tons, Germaninc set a trans-Atlantic speed record in 1876 for Liverpool to New York service. The White Star line sold her to Dominion, and she was reflagged as Ottawa, then Turkish owners named her Gul-Djemal and she served the Black Sea and Mediterranean. She was partially sunk in 1928 after taking a torpedo, but patched up to again cross the Atlantic as Gulcemal. She was finally scrapped in 1950 after 76 years of service. Not bad for an old gal.

Among those who spent some time a walking her decks was Ferdinand Oberhammer, who spent a good portion of 1901 travelling from Wels, Austria to London and Liverpool to come to the United States. He arrived at Ellis Island on September 27th and made his way to St. Paul. Quite a summer for a 19 year old shoe maker. Ferdinand was my great-grandfather, the only one of the four I met. It can be hard to know much about people when you're only four, but it's fun to learn more when you can. I got most of the above information here.

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