A Partial List of
Ships Which Brought the Neffs to America
Most of These Ships Landed in Philadelphia, PA
| Mayflower arrived 1620 from England, UK; No
Neffs on board, in spite of popular lore to the contrary; read passenger list, below|
[ ed note: The ship may have been the Lyon which made several trips between the UK and Massachusetts in 1630-1635 ]
| (unknown ship) "Trelawney Expedition" arrived 1633 in New England area from England, UK (T-Line: Thomas Dustin, Sr.)|
| London arrived 1635 from England, UK (William Nesse?)|
| (unknown, may be the ship London, above) arrived in New England area prior to 1685 from England, UK (T-Line: William Neff, Mary Corliss)|
| (unknown ship) arrived in New York in 1709 from Holland (K-Line)|
| (3 unknown ships) 3 Ships arrived Sept 1717 (B-Line from Ibersheim, Germany on one. A2-Line and D-Line: Neff brothers Hans Heinrich and Jacob, from
Bonfeld were on another with the Heinrich Funk family and son Martin Funk and his family.)|
| (unknown ship) arrived in 1719, left Europe after 4 Apr 1719 (A1-Line: Francis Neff from Gemmingen, Germany with more Heinrich Funk family and Funk brothers.)|
| James Goodwill arrived 11 Sept 1728 from Germany (C-Line: Michael Neff from Michelfeld, Germany.)|
| Snow Lowther arrived 14 Oct 1731 (Anna Helena Neff Visinand, d/o Conradt Neff of Germany)|
| Hope arrived in Philadelphia 28 Aug 1733 (Katherine Flory, w/o Jacob Naff of VA, was born during trip.)|
| Mercury arrived 29 May 1735 from
Holland after stopping at Cowes, Isle of Wight, U.K. (G-Line and P-Line from Wallisellen, Canton Zürich,
Switzerland: Jacob Naf age 39; Jacob Naf age 24; Jacob Naf age 7; Conrad Naf age 22, Conrad Naf age 52;
Anna Naf age 19; Anna Naf age 22, Elizabeth Naf age 4) Read about this trip below.|
| Friendship arrived 20 Sept 1738 (several Jacob Näf's and one Sebastian Nees on board)|
| Jamaica Galley arrived 7 Feb 1739 (M-Line from Zell, Switzerland, Hans Ulrich Nef)|
| Frances and Elizabeth arrived 30 Aug 1743 (G-Line, P-Line and S-Line from Wallisellen, Canton Zürich, Switzerland.)|
| Robert and Alice arrived 1743 (?-Line, Oswalt Neff)|
| Lydia arrived 19 Sept 1743 from Rotterdam, Holland via Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK (F-Line from Germany: Johann Christian Neff, age 25)|
[ ed note: the ship "Nancy" is not listed in the arrivals at Philadelphia in 1743. This is probably a repeat of the "Lydia" above, with the wrong ship name]
| Nancy arrived 1743 (Johan Christian Neff)|
| Priscilla arrived 11 Sept 1749 (H-Line: Jacob, H1, and Rudolph Neff, H2, who were brothers of the M-Line from Zell, Switzerland.)|
| Phoenix arrived 15 Sept 1749 from Rotterdam, Holland via Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK (Anthony Nieve, also several
Kauffman's and Miller's)|
| Dragon arrived 26 Sept 1749 (E-Line? from Germany: 14 yr old Jacob, E1, and 4 yr old Sebastian, E2, were too young to legally sign the oath )|
| Nancy arrived 16 Sept 1751 (Johann Jacob Neff)|
| Phoenix arrived 2 Nov 1752 (M-Line: Urich Neff and son Bernard who were returning from their visit to Zell, Switzerland. Only Bernard signed the Oath of Allegiance because Ulrich had sworn an Oath of Allegiance to England in 1739. )|
| John and Elizabeth arrived 7 Nov 1754 (I-Line?)|
| Pennsyvania or Neptune arrived 1755 (Jacob Naff of VA may have been on one of these two)|
| Minevra arrived 10 Oct 1769 (Oswalt Neff)|
| Betsy arrived 1785 (Jacob Neff)|
| Jacob arrived in Philadelphia 17 Nov 1802 (Hartman Neff)|
| Venus arrived in Philadelphia 31 Aug 1805 (Christopher Friederich Neff)|
| Liberty arrived in Philadelphia 11 Aug 1808 (Lewis Navs)|
| Broderschap arrived in Philadelphia 16 Aug 1816 from Germany(?) (Jacob, Johanna, (Tronna?) and Wilhelm Neef/Neff)|
| Vaterland Sliebe arrived in Philadelphia 16 Aug 1817 from Antwerp (John Neff and 5 children)|
| Susan arrived Sept 1818 from Amsterdam (Johann "Michael" Neef, Jr., of Moehringen, Germany, with wife Eva and 4 children)|
| Charles Miller arrived in Philadelphia 16 Aug 1819 (George Neffer)|
| (unknown ship) arrived in Baltimore, MD 30 June 1830, from France (Luke Naff 25y, Maria 28y, Henry 3y )|
| (unknown ship) arrived in Baltimore, MD 30 Sep 1832, (Geo. F. Neff 47y of Germany, a farmer; Ester 47y; Margaret 24y; C. 10y; J. 8y; Joseph 1y)|
| (unknown ship) arrived in Baltimore, MD 30 June 1834, (Peter Neff 30y of Germany, a farmer)|
| Lucilla arrived in Baltimore, MD 01 Sep 1834, (Peter Neff of Gadernheim)|
| (unknown ship) arrived 1844 from Germany, (Ignatz Neff, wife Mary Bower, son Pius)|
| Lewis arrived in New York in 1847 from Germany (AE-Line)|
| Brooklyn left New York in 1847 for California taking Mormons westward. Ship was partially financed by John Neff, Jr.|
| Elise left Rotterdam, arrived New York January 18, 1848. (John and Margartha Neff with dau Elisabeth, of Hesse, Darmstadt).|
| Duc De Brabant arrived in New Orleans, LA 16 Dec 1851 from Germany (AB-Line)|
| Zurich arrived in New York 1 May 1852 from Harve (Mathias, Elisabeth & Johann Ness of Baden)|
| Bremen arrived in New York City, NY 20 May 1854 from Bremen, Germany (Xaver/Xavier Neff)|
| John Williams arrived in New Orleans, LA 23 March 1854 from Veracruz (Melchoir and Paul Naef/Näf)|
| S.S. Neckar arrived in New York 14 Apr 1879 from
Bremen via Southampton (August, Wilhelmine, Johann, Emma & Bertha Nafs of Germany)|
| S.S. State of Georgia arrived in New York 17 Apr 1879 from Glaskow Larne, Scotland (Ann Nave of Scotland)|
| S.S. Southwark arrived 13 May 1903 (AD-Line)|
| La Gascogne arrived in New York 28 Sept. 1907 from Havre, France (Conrad Naef)|
| U.S. Mail S.S. Lapland arrived in New York 26 May 1920 from Antwerp (John Neff)|
(TRIVIA: "NAVE" means "Ship" in Italian and is the base for our word "Navy")
Conditions on the MERCURY during the 3-month Trip to America
On 29 May 1735 the ship Mercury, William Wilson, master, last from Rotterdam, Holland arrived at Philadelphia, Penn., with 186 passengers. Most of these passengers were from Zurich and nearby Swiss towns. These people were members of the Reformed Church in Switzerland.... This colony is one of the few whose history can be traced from origin to destination with some detail. On 7 Oct. 1735, The Nachrichten von Zurich ( a newspaper), published the account.... The journey of the colonists from Zurich to Basle is told by Ludwig Weber, one of the emigrants who later returned from Holland. His notes were published in Zurich . The following is taken from his notes.
"...The main body consisting of 194 persons, embarked in two ships [on the river to the ocean, in winter weather]. They suffered intensely thru rain and cold and were poorly protected with scanty clothes and provisions.... the nights were wet and cold. Moreover the ships were crowded so badly that there was hardly enough room to sit, much less lie down. There was no opportunity to cook on the ships; and as they were compelled to remain on the ships day and night, the cries of the children were pitiful and heartrending. ...Quarrels between men and women were frequent."
... [They transferred from the two river ships to the single, larger ship Mercury in late February, so] after leaving Mainz their journey was a little more comfortable as they could at least cook on board the ships.
... When they reached Neuwied, Weaterwald Canton, in Bavaria four couples were married by a reformed minister. They were as follows:
1. Hans Conrad Wirtz and Anna Goetschy
2. Conrad Naff, of Walliselen and Anna N.---
3. Jacob Rathgeb and Barbara Haller both of Walliselen
4. Conrad Geweiller, a gardener and ---
...186 passengers in all on the ship Mercury that reached Philadelphia 29 May l735....
In a letter from John Henry, the son of Rev Goetschy, to Zurich dated 21 July 1735 wrote in part the following: "After we had left Holland and surrendered ourselves to the wild and tempestuous ocean, its waves and its changeable winds, we reached through Gods great goodness toward us, England. After a lapse of two days we came to the Island of Wight, and there to a little town named Cowes, where our captain supplied himself with provisions for the great ocean trip. We secured medicines for the trip and then with a good East wind we sailed away from there. After a day and a night with the good wind we were buffeted with a terrible storm and the awful raging waves as we came into the Spanish and Portuguese oceans.
For 12 weeks we were subjected to these miseries and had to suffer all kinds of bad and dangerous storms and terrors of death. With these we were subjected to all kinds of bad diseases. The food was bad for we had to eat what they called "galley bread". We had to drink stinking muddy water, full of worms.
We had an evil tyrant and rascal for a captain and first mate, who regarded the sick as nothing more than dogs. If one said "I have to cook something for a sick man", He replied "get away from here or I'll throw you overboard". "What what do I care about your sick devil?". In short, misfortune is everywhere upon the sea, we alone fared better. This has been the experience of all who have come to this land and even if a king were to travel the ocean it would behave no better.
After being in this misery sufficiently long God, The Lord, brought us out and showed us the land, which caused great joy among us. But three days passed, the wind being contrary, before we could enter into the right river. Finally a good south wind came and brought us in one day through the glorious and beautiful Delaware river which is a little larger than the Rhine, but not by far as wild as the Rhine." [They landed at Philadelphia, PA]
[ ed note: The Neffs on this trip were of the G-Line and P-Line from Wallisellen, Canton Zürich,
Switzerland: Jacob Naf age 39; Jacob Naf age 24; Jacob Naf age 7; Conrad Naf age 22, Conrad Naf age 52;
Anna Naf age 19; Anna Naf age 22, Elizabeth Naf age 4 ]
(Original OCR scan and editing by James E Rothgeb)
Excerpts from "Mittelberger's Journey to PA in 1750"
"This journey lasts from the beginning of May to the end of October, fully half a year."
"During the voyage there is on board these ships terrible misery, stench, fumes, horror, vomiting, many kinds of sea sickness, fever, dysentery, headache, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy, cancer, mouthrot, and the like, all of which comes from old and sharply salted food and meat"
"The water which is served out on the ships is often very black, thick and full of worms, so that one cannot drink it without loathing, even with the greatest thirst..."
"Many sigh and cry: 'Oh, that I were home again [even] if I had to lie in my pigsty!' "
"The lice abound so frightfully, especially on sick people, that they can be scraped off the body..."
"... children from 1 to 7 years rarely survive the voyage... no less than 32 children in our ship [died and were] thrown into the sea."
Food, Conditions, and Social Division On Board
© 1998 by Don Neff
- Crew and Passengers:
The ship's crew did not live or eat any better than their passengers during their trip. Crew and passenger alike
slept in hammocks in the dark, damp, cold areas below deck. These were cargo ships not passenger ships, so there
were no cabins or walls for privacy; there
were no portholes to admit light and fresh air. They all shared the communal "outhouses" at the head of the ship.
The privacy of the outhouses was the only concession made to female passengers.
(Regular cargo and military ships, having only men on board, had no outhouses, just seating boards with their holes
situated over the bow wave at the head of the ship hence, the term "head" for a ship's toilet.) The living area in
the ship had to be an odoriferous environment; they had no fresh water for washing clothes or bathing, no deodorant,
no toothpaste and no toilet paper. The worst of these ships were denied a place at their arrival dock in America
because of the strong stench the ship gave off. These ships were forced to anchor downwind of the city and had to use row
boats to take the passengers from the ship to the dock. (Sailors on whale ships in the middle of the Atlantic claimed
they could smell upwind immigrant ships when they were miles away.)
The crew and our ancestors shared the same spoiled food and filthy drinking water. Their meat was heavily salted
pork, mutton and occasionally horse, but rarely beef, which was stored in wooden barrels in the hold. The meat had
to be soaked in water to get the salt and mold off of it before it was boiled to cook it. The grease and fat were
skimmed off while the meat was boiling and used as lubrication ("slush") between the mast and spars. No cooking
could be done when the ship was in rough seas because the fire in the cooking stove had to be
for days, to eliminate the fire hazard in the wood ship.
Their drinking water was untreated river water stored in wooden barrels in the hold. The dark interior of the
barrels allowed bacteria, bugs and worms to grow (free from the predators which normally would have killed them)
turning the formerly clear liquid into a rancid brown jelly full of crawling
vermin. Cholera microbes thrived
in these conditions resulting in death of the weaker passengers. (The British Navy mixed
Rum and Lime juice in the foul water, creating "grog" to make it more palatable. Minor infractions were handled
by withholding the offending sailor's rum ration so he had to drink the foul tasting water straight as his
Uncooked flour could not be stored in the humid conditions on board a ship so it was mixed with water and salt
and baked into biscuits called "hardtack" which could be stored on board in barrels. Rats liked hardtack and
chewed their way into the barrels to eat the biscuits, leaving their dung among the biscuits. The
name hardtack was fitting; the biscuits were so hard that they had to be broken with a mallet or the butt of a
gunstock before they were usable as food. People with teeth loosened by scurvy could not bite or chew the hardtack
so it was used to make soup by cooking the biscuits in water with salt, vinegar and fat skimmed from the boiled
meats. The soup also had an extra protein ingredient - hundreds of bugs. As the stored hardtack aged it developed
a putrid odor and filled with maggots and beetles, many of which ended up in the soup when the biscuits were added. The
procedure for opening a barrel of hardtack included the routine of placing a piece of rotted meat on top of the
biscuits to draw out the maggots. When the piece of meat was full of maggots it was replaced by another piece and
this process was continued until no more maggots could be lured out by the meat. The maggots and beetles still
remaining in the hardtack, along with the ever-present rat dung, became part of the soup our ancestors ate while
on the ship.
If the ship ran low on food the crew and passengers trapped and ate the rats which they called "millers" because of
flour in the rats' fur from their favorite food - hardtack. Curiously, most sailors did not like fish and, until
they ran out of rats to eat, seldom took the obvious step of fishing to improve their diet. Part of their reluctance
to fish for food had to be caused by the fact that the officers had first claim to the fish they caught, leaving
the sailors with nothing to show for their work unless they caught far more than the officers needed.
As bad as the food was on board it was still better, and provided more regularly, than what many of the sailors
ate when they were not on board a ship. The sailors were men whose lack of marketable skills or training
(sometimes compounded with a criminal record) forced many of them into the lowest poverty levels and near
starvation while on land.
- Health Care:
The poor diet lead to a multitude of health problems; the worst probably being "scurvy" which was the result of
the lack of vitamin C. Scurvy caused the nose, eyes, and gums to bleed, caused scars of old wounds to re-open and
bleed, all while its victims' gums rotted so their teeth loosened and fell out. British Naval Ships carried lime
juice to provide vitamin C (hence the slang "Limey" for English sailor), but passenger ships did not adopt this
successful preventive measure. Eventually, faster ships were built and they helped reduce the threat of scurvy
by getting passengers to America before scurvy could take its deadly toll on them.
Everyone on board the ship was infested with lice and fleas brought along by the rats in the hold. In fact,
these ships bought brought more than just human immigrants; they also introduced the European Cockroach and the German
Rat into America. The lice spread Typhus between the passengers who often died from it.
There was no medical care available during the trip unless a Physician happened to come on board as a passenger.
One of the ship's crew might be referred to as a "surgeon" but it meant only that he had experience cutting off
injured legs and arms using nothing more than a knife and a saw. The limb amputation was performed in dirty conditions, while the
screaming patient was pinned down by several sailors, without anesthetics. Afterwards the bleeding stump was
dipped in molten tar to seal it. Given the universal poor personal hygiene, along with ignorance of germs or
bacteria at that time, one wonders how so many patients managed to survive such a "cure."
Infected wounds were successfully, but very painfully, treated by packing them full of sea salt, the only antibiotic
available at the time.
Child birth during the ocean trip usually resulted in the death of either the child or the mother, if not both.
Young children and elderly people often did not have the strength to survive the trip. As many as 40% of the
passengers died on these 3-month long trips, so the immigrant ships to America were commonly
referred to as
"Coffin Ships." Even so, there were no coffins; the dead on German, Dutch and English ships were simply sown into their
hammock along with one or two cannon balls for weight, and then were thrown over the side into the sea.
Some French ships buried their dead in the ballast stones in the hold, further increasing the stench and health
hazards in the ship.
- Ship's Officers:
The ship's officers had much better food and living conditions. The senior officers usually shared a private,
but windowless cabin and toilet area; while the captain always had a large, private, windowed cabin with a dining area
and a toilet area of his own. The floor of the captain's cabin was covered with sailcloth which had been painted
to resemble carpeting. The captain's cabin often had furniture and trim similar to what was used in homes on land.
Captains could take their wife or a friend on the trip if they wanted to.
The officers kept several live pigs, goats and an occasional cow or two on board to provide fresh meat along
with chickens to provide fresh eggs - all for themselves. The officers' meat was baked or roasted, not boiled
like the crew and passengers' meat. The senior officers' food was served to them at their dining table by cabin
boys or by the junior officers. All officers usually drank wine or beer with their meals instead of water. The
ship's cooking stove usually had a small still built into it to turn sea water into fresh drinking water for
the officers, but it could not provide enough for the crew and passengers. Any extra fresh water the officers
did not drink, they used for shaving instead of sharing it with their passengers or crew.
How Did Our Poor Ancestors Pay for
© 1998 by Don Neff
an Expensive Trip Across the Atlantic?
They usually sold any belongings they had, partially for the resulting cash, but mostly
to avoid the cost of shipping them to the new country. This seldom gave them enough money to purchase
tickets so they "indentured" themselves to the ship's captain. The captain
would pay for their food during the trip and give them passage on his ship.
Once the ship reached their destination, the captain would sell their
indentured rights to the highest bidder on shore. The captain made his money
back plus a profit for his investment.
The immigrant, now an indentured servant, or voluntary slave, to the purchaser,
worked for free for the purchaser to repay him. The length of time of
indenture, usually 2 - 3 years, was predetermined and agreed upon by all
parties before the purchase was completed. The purchaser was obligated
to provide proper clothing, food and housing during the period, and sometimes
required to provide a small sum of cash or hand tools at the end of the indenture
period. At the end of their indenture the immigrant was free to pursue
his or her own destiny, often with a new trade or skill learned from the
While some indentured servants were treated poorly, most had good experiences
and often remained friends with the purchasing family. It was common
for the indentured servant to end up married to a relative or friend of the purchaser.
There were cases where one person could afford to buy a ticket on a ship, but their
friend, spouse or other relative had to be indentured for their ticket. Occasionally, both were allowed to
work for the purchaser, thereby cutting the indenture period in half while allowing them to remain together.
Trivia: When the Confederate Army was forced from Pensacola, FL in 1865, they set fire to everything including the docked Steam Ship NEAFFLE
Oath of Allegiance Signed by Adult, Male Passengers
We Subscribers, Natives and late Inhabitants of the Palatinate upon the Rhine and Places Adjacent, having transported
Ourselves and Families into this Province of Pennsylvania, a Colony subject to the Crown of Great Britain, in Hopes
and Expectation of finding a Retreat and Peaceable Settlement therein, Do Solemnly Promise and Engage, that We will
be faithful and bear true Allegiance to his present MAJESTY, KING GEORGE THE SECOND and his Successors, Kings of
Great Britain, and will be faithful to the Proprietor of this Province; And that we will demean ourselves peaceably
to all His said Majesty's Subjects, and strictly observe and conform to the Laws of England and of this Province,
to the utmost of our Power and best of our understanding.
When Entering USA at Port of Philadelphia, PA
(TRIVIA: The ship NEAFFIE, was a Side Paddle Wheel Steamer, operated by the Confederate States,
in coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico during the US Civil War. She was damaged during a sea battle off Fort Pickens,
Fla. on 22 November 1861, but managed to escape. However, some time before February, 1863 she was finally captured
by the Union Navy which then used her as a tugboat. See photo of similar steamer at bottom of this screen)
Complete Passenger List of MAYFLOWER in 1620
NO NEFFs were on board
John ALDEN John HOWLAND
John ALDERTON John LANGEMORE
Isaac ALLERTON William LATHAM
Mary ALLERTON Edward LEISTER
Bartholomew ALLERTON Edmond MARGESON
Remember ALLERTON Christopher MARTIN
Mary ALLERTON Mrs. MARTIN
John BILLINGTON Desire MINTER
John BILLINGTON (jr?) Ellen MORE
Helen BILLINGTON Jasper MORE
Francis BILLINGTON Richard MORE
William BRADFORD Robert? MORE
Dorothy BRADFORD William MULLENS
William BREWSTER Alice MULLENS
Mary BREWSTER Joseph MULLENS
Love BREWSTER Priscilla MULLENS
Wrestling BREWSTER Gregory PRIEST
Richard BRITTERIDGE Solomon PROWER
Peter BROWNE John RIGDALE
William BUTTEN Alice RIGDALE
Gov. John CARVER Thomas ROGERS
Katharine CARVER Joseph ROGERS
The Carver's maid Henry SAMPSON
Robert CARVER George SOULE
James CHILTON Capt. Myles STANDISH
Susanna CHILTON Rose STANDISH
Mary CHILTON Elias STORY
Richard CLARKE Edward THOMPSON
Francis COOKE John TILLEY
John COOKE Bridget TILLEY
Humility COOPER Elizabeth TILLEY
John CRACKSTONE Edward TILLEY
John CRACKSTONE (Jr) Ann TILLEY
Edward DOTEY Thomas TINKER
Francis EATON Mrs. TINKER
Sarah EATON _?_ TINKER
Samuel EATON William TREVOR
_?_ ELY John TURNER
Thomas ENGLISH _?_ TURNER
Moses FLETCHER _?_ TURNER
Dr. Samuel FULLER Richard WARREN
Edward FULLER William WHITE
Mrs. FULLER Susanna WHITE
Samuel FULLER Peregrine WHITE
Richard GARDINER Resolved WHITE
John GOODMAN Roger WILDER
William HOLBECK Thomas WILLIAMS
John HOOKE Edward WINSLOW
Stephen HOPKINS Elizabeth WINSLOW
Elizabeth HOPKINS Gilbert WINSLOW
(TRIVIA: In 1943 the 4-masted Schooner "Constellation" sank in Bermuda, BWI, where Captain NEAVE was desperately
trying to reach safety in his badly leaking ship with a heavy load which included morphine for WWII field medics.
Captain NEAVE's shipwreck inspired Peter Benchely's movie "The Deep" starring Jaqueline Bisset and Nick Nolte
as scuba divers who discover the ship and recover its drugs 40 years later.)
Typical Ships of the Period
1690 - 1780
Model Above Built by Don Neff
1740 - 1800
Model Builder Unknown
1790 - 1860
Model Builder Unknown
1840 - 1910
Model Above Built by William Hitchcock
Model Above Built by Don Neff