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Fall 2002
A Publication of the St. Louis Public Library

Vol. 2   No. 4

They Came From…highlights dates in the history of a particular place which may prove of interest to the genealogist.



1683-1820 Emigration from Germany during this period is caused mainly by religious persecution & economic hardship. Emigration includes a large number of Protestants from the Palatinate (southwest Germany).
1683 First permanent German settlement in U.S. is founded at Germantown, PA.
1700-1800 Many German Protestants settle in Pennsylvania, New York & Virginia. German Catholics begin arriving in Maryland. Approximately 200,000 Germans emigrate to U.S. during this period & 70,000 of them settle in Pennsylvania.
1708-1709 Most intense winter in memory begins in Germany in October 1708 & continues until April 1709. The intense cold destroys fruit trees & vineyards. Many Germans leave southwest Germany for London. British government originally encourages settlement of German Protestants in Ireland, but later encourages their settlement in America.
1710 Groups of German settlers leave England bound for the Carolinas & New York.
1775-1783 Large numbers of Hessians (German soldiers hired out by their monarchs to the King of Great Britain) serve in the British Army during the American Revolution. At least 12,000 desert & remain behind in America & Canada.
1789-1800 French Revolution rocks Europe. Various European wars occur during this time period.
1803-1815 Napoleonic wars. France is more or less constantly at war with one or more other European powers, including Prussia & Austria.
1821-1871 Emigration from Germany during this time period is caused mainly by economic hardship & war. Emigration includes large numbers of persons from Alsace- Lorraine, Baden, Hessen, Rheinland & Wurttemberg (southeast Germany).
1848 Revolutions in Europe begin. Various German principalities rebel, although rebellion is most widespread in Baden.
1849 After the revolutions fail, revolutionaries flee to Zurich, London & America.
1850 Hamburg passenger lists begin. Hamburg & Bremen become popular places to emigrate from because city fathers realize that money can be made feeding & housing emigrants while they wait to sail & by making them pay a tax to emigrate. Bremen is more popular because it has a reputation for treating emigrants better than does Hamburg.
1851 The advent of the steamship in the 1850s cuts trans-Atlantic travel time from 43 days (sailing ship) to 13 days.
1854 250,000 Germans arrive in at U.S. ports.
1862-1865 Germans who serve in the Union Army can become American citizens after 1 year of residency in the U.S. States like Pennsylvania & New York actively recruit Army volunteers in Germany, paying their passage & enlistment bounties.
1866 Prussia defeats Austria in Seven Weeks’ War.
1870-1871 Many men flee Germany to avoid serving in the Franco-Prussian War. German Empire founded in 1871.
1871-1914 Emigration to the U.S. becomes more common from all parts of Germany.
1875 Civil registration is required by the central government. Civil registration had already begun in some provinces.
1880 200,000 Germans arrive at U.S. ports.
1890 Large German-born populations are living in NY, PA, OH, IL, MN, WI & MO. Seventy thousand German-born persons are living in the Deep South, including 15,000 in New Orleans. More German citizens are living in New York City than in Hamburg, Germany.
1920 Between 1820-1920, more than 5.5 million Germans emigrate to U.S., more than any other nationality, including the Irish (4.4 million).
1944 Nearly all existing Bremen passenger lists are destroyed during Allied bombing raid on October 6, 1944. All that remains are some records for 1907 & 1913-1914.
1978 A study shows that nearly 7 million Germans settled in U.S. between 1820-1977.

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