This passenger list from September 27, 1939 shows the von Trapp family arriving in the United States via New York City. This was their second time arriving in the U.S.; they had arrived in 1938 and their youngest child was even born in Philadelphia in January of 1939. However, when their 6-month visa expired they went on an extended Scandinavian holiday and returned on the S.S. Bergensfjord, whose passenger list is shown above. The details on the list are tiny, but you can click on the image to see an enlarged version that is zoomable.
Some neat info from the passenger list: In 1939, Georg was 59 and Maria was 34. The oldest child from Georg’s first marriage to Agathe Whitehead, Rupert, was only six years younger than Maria. Another interesting fact: one of Georg’s children was also named Maria. The list states that the children are a mixture of German and Italian citizens. This is because Georg was born in the city of Zadar (now in Croatia) which at the time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire but had then been transfered to Italy in 1920. Thus all of his children were Italian citizens.
From the National Archives page on the family, here are a few facts about the real family that don’t match up with the movie, The Sound of Music:
- There were 10 children in total. Georg had 7 with his first wife, who died of scarlet fever in 1922, and then 3 more with Maria.
- Maria was only hired to look after one child: Georg’s daughter Maria. She needed a tutor after she contracted scarlet fever in 1926.
- Maria and Georg married one year later, in 1927, instead of right before World War Two as depicted in the movie. At the time Maria was 22 – imagine marrying a 47-year old widower with 7 children at that young age!
- The family ended up settling in Stowe, Vermont and opened the Trapp Family Lodge, which still exists today.
- Georg died in 1947 and Maria died in 1987.
Source: [National Archives]