Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From Europe to North Dakota: German-American legacy Part2

Where they settled, what they did.

Germans, like other immigrant groups, settled with other speakers of their language from the area of their birth, where they felt at home away from home. They settled in areas where farm land was reasonably priced, and where churches and schools already existed. While there were attempts to form a new German state in the colonies, such as in Texas in the 1840s, none came into fruition. The majority of Germans in the 19th century settled in the states of Ohio Missouri, Michigan to North Dakota through Nebraska. Craftsmen went to the cities of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, St. Louis and Chicago, as well as the already well-established cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The southern states held no attraction for German immigrants following the Civil War, though several state governments had established agencies to attract immigrants.

Skilled craftspeople formed the largest group of German immigrants in any given period. Germans became high profile businessmen and shopkeepers, skilled laborers in rural and urban settings. Fields such as breweries, watchmakers, distillers, and land surveyors were almost exclusively filled by Germans. They also became bakers and butchers, cabinet makers, shoe makers, tailors blacksmiths, typesetters, and printers. Young women from Germany often worked as domestic servants in English-speaking households, which also led to greater assimilation.

Immigration to the US, 1820-2007 v2 from Ian S on Vimeo.
Found on SayAnthing


From Europe to North Dakota: North Dakota Germans. Part 1

Americans claim to have German heritage than any other national ancestry, according to the report for 2000 released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 43 million Americans — about 15% of respondents — listed German as their primary cultural heritage in 2000. The numbers highlight the strong sense of tradition among descendants of German immigrants who left their homeland to make a new life for their families in the United States.

Why they left
Many Germans were encouraged to immigrate through idealized depictions of life in the new world, like this illustration of happy farming life in Missouri.

By far the most Germans who immigrated to the United States left Germany in search of an improved standard of living. Religious freedom prompted many groups to immigrate, as did fear of compulsory service in the Prussian military. Today, it is impossible to quantify what motivated immigrants to set out for the new world, but it has been determined that knowledge about the American business cycles, wages, food prices, and standards of living were widely publicized in Germany beginning in the 18th century. Land and railroad companies as well, often overstated opportunities for settlers willing to try their hand in the colonies. Those who left in pursuit of their own land often did so to reject the rigidity of the German social structure in the authoritarian German states.

Both pious sects and state-recognized churches helped immigrants to the colonies, mostly in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Lutherans immigrated to evade the forced unification of the Lutheran and Reformed churches in 1839, while Catholics, stepped out of the power struggle towards the end of the 19th century between the church and the Prussian State incited by Bismarck’s “Kulturkampf.” Jews as well, fled social discrimination at several points in German history.

Political reasons were naturally tied to economic and reasons. The greatest wave of political asylum seekers left Germany in 1848 after the failed German Revolution. Bismarck’s Anti-Socialist Law (1878-90) also motivated many activists to continue their class struggle in American metropoles. The last largest group of political refugees was made up of people persecuted by the Nazi Regime, primarily German and European Jews, Social Democrats, dissidents, and homosexuals.

But even more Germans left to pursue the “American Dream” of land ownership. Spurred on by an inheritance law which left many sons without income in southern Germany, many young Germans set out to the Midwest, where soil was fertile and space in abundance. By the end of the 19th century, most emigrants were unmarried industrial workers who came to the United States seeking seasonal work but never returned to Germany.


From Europe to North Dakota

Fargo ND. Between 1890 and 1910 North Dakota’s population more than doubled in part due to immigrants from abroad and in part due to settlers from the east eager for their own piece of land. These turn-of-the-century settlers often lived in sod houses like the one pictured here.

Northern Dakota Territory in 1870 was a sea of grass waiting for the plow share. With the end of the Civil War, America saw an unprecedented surge of immigrants land on its shores. Many of them were in search of free land offered through the Homestead Act. The immigrants and the land came together on the northern Great Plains from the 1870s into the early twentieth century. This explosion of people, farming, and building transformed, in a surprisingly short time, the flat, rich land of eastern North Dakota—the Red River Valley. The landscape became dotted with small farms, around which trees had been planted to shelter them from the almost incessant wind; with towns situated along the railroad lines like a web across the prairie; and the most impressive scene of all, the seemingly endless fields of grain.

This transformation was the work of numerous immigrants, as well as internal migration from points further east in the United States. Numerous countries and groups are represented in the ethnic mosaic of North Dakota. Dominating all other immigrants were Norwegians and German Russians, followed by Germans, English, Czechs, and Swedes. In addition there were groups from the Ukraine, Poland, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark, as well as French Canadians.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fargo Ancestors: Saxony

Fargo Ancestors: Help

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Fargo Ancestors: German Emigrants


GERMAN  EMIGRANTS  TO  USAThe German Emigrants Database is constantly being added to, though it already contains data on 4.4 million emigrants. The current data stock covers the years 1820-1833, 1840-1891, 1904 and 1907. Visitors to the Historisches Museum Bremerhaven can do their own research into emigrants at two terminals.


Fargo Ancestors: WW1 and WW2