Passenger Lists and New Trails …

Three brothers from Wurttemberg emigrated to America in the 18th century, probably arriving in Philadelphia. They were Werner Digel, b. 1734, Peter Digel, b. 1738, and John (Johannes) Digel, b .1740. In my last post, I mentioned that I had been unable to find any of them in the online ships’ passenger lists I had looked at.

Joey Tickle from Arizona contacted me to say that he had information from passenger lists. With his permission I’ve reproduced parts of them here. As so often happens with genealogy, one piece of information leads to other discoveries and new trails to follow..

The earliest of the passenger lists – see below – shows a Jacob Digel, who arrived on the ship Forest in 1752. I believe Jacob was the brothers’ uncle, Hans Jacob Digel, born in 1718. This list only has male names on it but, from another source[1], I found he arrived in Pennsylvania in 1752, together with his wife, Ursula, and their two young children, 4 year old Johann Jacob and 1 year old Anna Barbara.

Another Branch of the Family

This led me to do a little research on Jacob and his family. There were several Digels in Württemberg and I was unable to find a baptism or marriage for Jacob that matched the information I had. I did find a baptism entry for Anna Barbara in the Lutheran Baptism records, Württemberg [2]. In this, her mother’s name is Ursula, but her father’s name is transcribed as Johann Jacob Tiegel. Hans is sometimes used as an abbreviation or nickName for Johann, so Hans Jacob and Johann Jacob are probably the same person. The fact that his surname is shown as Tiegel gives you some idea of how it might be pronounced and why it was later converted to Tickle.

I have found information in an Ancestry tree about further children of Jacob and Ursula, born in Pennsylvania. I’ve included them in the Genealogy section of this site (apart from some which I thought were questionable). There are few sources cited, so please treat this information as possible rather than definite. Hopefully, I’ll be able to include sources at a later date. This is a branch of the family that I didn’t previously know about. Are you a descendent of Jacob Digel? I’d love to hear from you if you are.

The Younger Digels

The next image below is the passenger list of a ship, Edinburgh, that arrived in 1754, two years after Jacob and his family.. The names Werner and Peter Dickel appear next to each other. Are these two of our Digel brothers? They would have been 20 and 16 years old respectively. Without more information, such as their ages and place of birth, it isn’t possible to conclusively say this is them, but it certainly seems likely. You’ll see that their surnames are not spelt the same way. It looks as if Werner was able to sign his own name, whereas Peter simply made his mark, so relied upon the person compiling the passenger list to spell his name as he thought fit.

Passenger list for Edinburgh

The final image shows a John Digel, who arrived on the ship, Sally, on 15 August 1774. If this is the John Digel we believe it to be, he didn’t emigrate until 20 years after his older brothers, when he was 34 years old.

If the men on these three passenger lists are the Digel brothers and their uncle, Jacob, it leads me to wonder why 20 years elapsed between the older brothers emigrating and the younger one joining them.


I shall be on the lookout for more information about Jacob Tickle and his family, Another thing I’d like to find out is whether the Tickles paid for their own passage or if some or all of them were redemptioners. A redemptioner was an immigrant whose passage was paid for upon arrival in America, either by a family member who was already there, or by a wealthy colonial who paid the fare in return for the immigrant’s labour for a number of years. Around half the German immigrants at this time came as redemptioners. Werner and Peter Digel were young and fit when they arrived and would have had little difficulty finding someone to pay their passage in return for their labour. It’s possible that they then saved up and ‘redeemed’ their younger brother, John, by paying his fare when he arrived. That might explain the long gap before he joined them. All this is speculation, of course …

I’ll cover the topic of redemptioners and the agents who recruited immigrants in a later post. Perhaps, by then, I may have more evidence of what happened to the Digels in Philadelphia. The image at the top of this post is an engraving of Philadelphia in the late 18th century, when they arrived.

I’m going to leave the Digel family history for now, as I want to write more about some of the Lancashire Tickles … and I have a massive data cleanup to do over the next few months.

[1] Source: GERBER, ADOLF. “Emigrants from Wuerttemberg: The Adolf Gerber Lists.” Edited by Donald Herbert Yoder. In The Pennsylvania German Folklore Society [Yearbook], vol. 10 (1945), pp. 132-237

[2] Original data: Lutherische Kirchenbücher, 1500-1985. Various sources.

2 thoughts on “Passenger Lists and New Trails …”

  1. Melody ,
    You have done a splendid job with this article. Really like how you have put so much into prospective.
    This in it’s self has taken me , quite some time.
    Well done!

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