Happy Birthday Bertha (who would have been 121 years old on June 6, 2015)

I’ve been researching family history for some time now.  This post is about my grandmother, Bertha (Berta), who’s birthday I share.  I was born on June 6, 1953, on her 60th birthday.

Bertha Zibung immigrated from her home in a small village near Lucerne, Switzerland to the United States in April 1916. (She was 20 years old) She traveled by train from Switzerland, crossing through WWI Germany.  The train was robbed & she arrived in Copenhagen, to sail on the ss Hellig Olav to New York, where she was met & put on a train to SFO.  Arriving 7 days later, she was employed as a caretaker to children of an executive of Standard Oil until spring, 1917.  She sailed from San Francisco on March 30, 1917, arriving in Honolulu 7 days later, marrying Joe Fanger on April 8, 1917.

She gave birth in February 1918 to my father, Henry.  They lived at this time in an apartment at the Winchester Apts in Honolulu, 1204 Circle Lane. Most likely she was attended by a midwife.

What would propel two young adults out of their homeland to a pacific island, a territory of the US.  What would life have been like? Many stories…many questions.

Why does it matter to me?

Heritage / ancestry /


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