Location "Alt Somerstadt, Pommern" ??

+3 votes
This is the location given on the ship's register as "residence" for one of my immigrant families.   The date was 1891.    I am a bit familiar with Pomerania, having run into a family from Naugard.   But that was easy.   Found them and the church right away.

Alt Somerstadt is evading my googling skills.  What does Alt mean?  Googling Somerstadt is just giving me back my own relatives!
in Genealogy Help by Wendy Fromme G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
edited by Wendy Fromme
I tried the same thing, and your right, Wendy. I got all of your relatives, too.
I warned you!  = )   If you have ancestry this is the link to the actual record...very bottom of first page, Brinkmann...


Out of curiosity, I tried Googling "alt Somerstadt" and saw an article about a Norwegian ship "Somerstadt" struck by a torpedo... I don't know more about it, and only pursued it far enough to get the link which contains a poor OCR version of the document and may not offer much additional information -- here is the paragraph I found inside (poor OCR and all)"


The case of the Norwegian steamer 
Somerstadt, which was sunk on August 
12th ofT Fire Island by a recurving tor¬ 
pedo, as stated in the official report, has 
raised the question among experts as to 
whether the Germans have not utilized the 
American invention of radio or wireless- 
directed missiles of that character. 

While there is nothing in the official re¬ 
port to indicate that the torpedo whitffi 
destroyed the steamer took its eccentric 
course of passing the bow and returning 
to strike fatally on the port side by the use 
of radio power, it is not denied that such 
might be the case. 


Anyway, it occurred to me that  your ancestor might have been aboard this steamer, hopefully prior to the torpedo incident.  The document itself was written in 1919, so the incident must have happened before that.


Thanks for the tip!

I found it.  The steamer was torpedeo'd in 1918.  I don't think that is it, since they were on the ship to the US in 1891.

Alt means old.   stadt is city.

Old summer city doesn't work, but I think it's a transcription error there and there is some Old XXXX  City...

Did some more digging, I think they referred to it as Old City because it might have been one of the German cities that was renamed by Poland.


Looks possible but don't know when it was renamed!

3 Answers

0 votes
Best answer

I found Alt Sommersdorf in Demmin.  Page is in German but Google Translate will handle it. http://alt-sommersdorf.sommersdorf.kreis-demmin.de/

I also found Brinkmann in the name list for the City of Demmin which is about 15k to the Northeast of Alt Sommersdorf. http://demmin.kreis-demmin.de/

There are only about a dozen buildings there now. Alt Sommersdorf

by Scott Anderson G2G6 Mach 1 (15.0k points)
selected by Wendy Fromme
+2 votes

When I can't find a location by modern means I turn to the Jewish genealogy group's https://www.jewishgen.org/communities/loctown.asp  I learned about this great tool on another genealogy group's email list and found it to be a treasure trove

It said:  

Location SOMERSTADT (phonetic) in All Countries
Run on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 08:14:25 -0600
For an online Map click on Google Maps

(Native names in BOLD)
Feature Type Coordinates
(Click for JewishGen Resource Map)
Map Country Distance/Direction
from reference point
10 mile radius
Sommersted populated place
130.9 miles W of København 55°40' N 12°35' E
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (713k points)
+1 vote

I found this one, Sommersdorf, and its neighbor to the northeast Alt-Sommersdorf just on the Pomeranian side of what is now the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Here is the entry for Alt Sommersdorf, a landed estate, as it was listed in the historical Meyers Gazetteer, an atlas covering the lands of the German Empire for the years 1845-1916. 

The Meyers Gazetteer also has an entry for a different Sommersdorf in Pommern. That one is much closer to the current border with Poland.

"Dorf" means something like "village", and one could envision the steps for how "Dorf" might have been swapped for "Stadt". Although honestly it seems odd to me that they would have gotten their own town name wrong in a ship manifest.

by Marta Johnson G2G6 Mach 2 (24.8k points)
My German spouse points out that "Alt Sommersdorf" sounds like a rural little podunk farm village and if your relatives were trying to shed that association, they may have twisted the name to "Alt Somerstadt" because the city association could add a perception of some class to their background.
This sounds like them : ) Good clue, thank you so much.

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