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German Americans
A Family Heritage

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The German-



eople from various regions of today's Germany were among the earliest immigrants to America. Those arriving early settled in places such as New York and Pennsylvania. Following the 1848 revolution in Germany and other European countries, Germans came to many areas including Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and more.

Some created settlements with names honoring their homeland, such as New Holstein and Kiel in Wisconsin. Others created large German communities in cities such as Milwaukee, Chicago,  Cincinnati, New York, Cleveland and St. Louis. Today, German Americans are the largest self-reported ethnic population in the United States. Here are resources on German-American history and genealogy.

  History | German SettlementsGenealogy | Maps | Wisconsin

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German Immigrants (Immigration to the
United States)


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German Immigrants
in America: An Interactive History Adventure


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German Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Reception, Adaptation and Transformation


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The Spirit of 1848: German Immigrants, Labor Conflict,
and the Coming
of the Civil War


History of Germans Coming to America   [ Top ]

Timeline of German Groups in America: from Germans at Jamestown in 1608 through many groups that migrated including the Palatines in 1709, Amish in 1809, Old Lutherans in 1839 and many more.

German-American Chronology with mention of a 1633 publication that encouraged emigration to America, the 1683 settlement of Germantown in Pennsylvania by Mennonites and Quakers, the 1709 mass migration from the German Palatinate, the influence of the Revolution in bringing Germans to America, and more.

An illustrated chronology of Germans in America, beginning in 1608 and showing a Conestoga wagon and individuals such as John Jacob Astor, Adolphus Busch, Thomas Nast, Carl Schurz, and a 1914 map showing where German-Americans were prominent.

German American Day on October 6 was started in 1983 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first German-speaking settlers who arrived in the American colonies from Krefeld, Germany. Why they left, where they settled and occupations they followed

German Immigration: factors included:
  British efforts starting in 1708 to encourage
   German Protestants to settle in America;
  formation in 1784 of a Deutsche Gesellschaft
   to help German immigrants when they arrived;
  Gottfried Duden's 1829 book praising life in
   America with its bountiful harvests and its
   intellectual freedom.

Causes of German Emigration: from the prosperous region of the Middle Ages through the woes of many wars, German regions suffered and people left for America.   And the Men of 1848 who formed another wave of immigration to America, this time not farmers but cultured and educated people who became influential leaders.

German Americans: An Ethnic Experience - an online book with chapters on why Germans left home including religion, politics and quality of life; where they settled, typically near other Germans; the important role of German clubs including the Turners, and much more.

How German is American? A look at clubs set up by German immigrants, such as the Turnverein, and mentions New Berlin, New Glarus, New Holstein, Milwaukee, Plymouth, Watertown plus an  introduction to German-American identity, typically submerged rather than overt.

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The German American Family Album

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German Amercan
Family Album


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Hopeful Journeys: German Immigration, Settlement & Political Culture in Colonial America, 1717-1775


German-Americans: the largest self-reporting ethnic population in America, at some 47 million in the year 2000. See chart.  German was the No. 1 ancestry in 23 states in that census. Most German immigrants came between 1840 and 1920.

German immigration started an upswing in the 1830s and for 60 years was never less than 25 percent of all immigrants, peaking in the 1850s. Learn more and see chart of immigration by decade.

German Originality: about German- American heritage and immigration to America in the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and today.

Find Your Roots in Germany:  for help  finding German ancestors

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German Immigrants, 1820-1920
Coming to America)


German-American History & Heritage: includes biographies, books, more and German-American Historic Sites & Museums, by state.

Map of Northern European Emigration to America, including through Bremen and Hamburg, Germany

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Finding Your German

Ancestors : A
Beginner's Guide

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The German Americans
(The Immigrant

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Genealogical Dictionary

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Coming to America:
The Germans


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Germans in the Civil War: The Letters
They Wrote Home


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Dutchtown (NY)
(Images of America)


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Architecture and Artifacts of the Pennsylvania Germans: Constructing Identity in Early America


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German Pittsburgh (PA) (Images of America)


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(Images of America)


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Justly Proud: A German American Family in Indiana


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German Chicago Revisted (Images
of America)


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German Milwaukee:
Its History ~

Its Recipes


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German immigration to the Minnesota
river valley frontier,
1852- 1865


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The St. Louis
German Catholics


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German Seed in Texas Soil:
Immigrant Farmers
in Nineteenth-
Century Texas


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Address Book
for Germanic
Genealogy 6th ed.


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Genealogist's Guide
to Discovering Your

Germanic Ancestors


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In Search of Your German Roots. The Complete Guide
to Tracing Your Ancestors in the Germanic Areas of Europe


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A Student's Guide to
German American Genealogy


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The German-American Encounter: Conflict and Cooperation Between Two Cultures, 1800-2000

here They Settled in America   [ Top ]

Maps of German settlement or ancestry in America including:
  in 1872, with dark brown the highest, and a large version
  in 1880,
a map of Wisconsin counties showing the percentage of
   settlers from Germany with Calumet, Manitowoc, Milwaukee and
   Sheboygan among those in the top category, 15-30 percent. 

  in 1890, census data shows concentration of European-born
   German speakers from Pennsylvania through Midwest
  in 2000, with light blue showing the large areas of the U.S. where
  Germany ancestry is the leading ancestry for the counties involved,
  compared to more than a dozen other national origins
  in 2000, degree of German ancestry by state

America's Regions with German Heritage: New Braunfels and Fredricksburg in Texas, as well as Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Amana Colonies in Iowa, New York and more.

New York   [ Top ]

Palatine Germans in New York: with the Rhine River's Palatinate area destroyed by war, some Germans there went to America, aided by the British who want settlers on the frontier. In the 1720s, some settled in New York's Mohawk River valley including at Herkimer in the German Flatts area.

Kleindeutschland or Little Germany was an area of New York City's Manhattan Island on the Lower East Side around Tompkins Park in the late 1800s.

New Paltz in Ulster County was founded by French Huguenot refugees in Mannheim in the Palatinate or Pfalz area of Germany before coming to America

Buffalo in Erie County attracted many German immigrants who prospered in business, politics. This included the Old Lutherans from Prussia in 1839. And resources on German settlers in Buffalo, NY.

Pennsylvania   [ Top ]

Palatine Migrations to America: with a map of the Rhine Valley showing how they left. Recalling William Penn's invitation, many went to Pennsylvania.

Founding of Germantown: William Penn's 1677
trip to Germany resulted in Germans Quakers, Amish and Mennonites coming to his colony in America, now Pennsylvania. In 1683, they founded Germantown, now part of Philadelphia.

German Immigrants to Pennsylvania: they came
in three periods before the Revolutionary War, with those who came in 1683 seeking religious freedom, settling especially in southeast Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Dutch: called that because Dutch once referred to German speakers. Tthese are the descendants of German, Alsace and Swiss immigrants to southeast Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania German Folk Art: an illustrated tour from the National Gallery of Art

Maryland   [ Top ]

Chronology of German Immigrants to Maryland started with Germans in western Maryland in 1728, arriving from Pennsylvania. Includes an estimate of the number of Germans by state in 1776.

Ohio   [ Top ]

Germans in America's Breadbasket: Germans settled available lands in central North America -- the valleys of the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers -- and later pushed further west.

German Immigrants to Ohio: the story of Joseph Conde and family who traveled by sailing ship and flatboat to Pomeroy, Ohio, in 1839

German Heritage Museum recognizes role of German immigrants in Cincinnati history

Cincinnati included in documentary film on German- Americans. Essay notes that Germany aspects of the city were erased during the World Wars.

German immigrants were among the earliest white settlers in Ohio, including in Auglaize County and in Cincinnait's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood that was at one time 50 percent German in origin.

German American Citizens League of Greater Cincinnati fosters appreciation of German culture and has a German Heritage Museum.

Indiana   [ Top ]

German-American influence on the culture of the city of  Indianapolis from singing societies to gymnastics to architecture and more

Max Kade German-American Center in Indianapolis is a leader in German-American Studies.

Indiana German Heritage Society emphasizes German culture,not politics,  thus encompassing Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, German-speaking Switzerland, Alsace-Lorraine and Southern Tyrol

Catholic German immigration in southern Indiana

Illinois   [ Top ]

Germans in Chicago: in 1850, 1/6th of the city's residents were Germans

German-speaking communities in Chicago and the Midwest, and Mapping German Immigration in the Midwest, a research project.

Midwest America   [ Top ]

The "German belt" states -- Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa -- have the most dense German-American populations.


Germans in Wisconsin and why Milwaukee was America's German Athens

Germans in Milwaukee: in the 1840s, Milwaukee became known as the German Athens due to its rich German culture including Christmas traditions

A Bit of Germany in Early Wisconsin:  a 1927 article recalls the settling of New Holstein by Germans who sailed for America in April 1848. Their journey to New York, then  via the Great Lakes to Sheboygan and New Holstein is described.

Wisconsin history and genealogy including its important Germany settlers

German-American Dialects are outlined and shown on an interactive map with links between parts of Germany and areas of Wisconsin.

More for Wisconsin, Milwaukee, New Holstein and Sheboygan and German-speaking Swiss

See more on Germans in Wisconsin

MInnesota   [ Top ]

Germans in Minnesota, especially southern Minnesota, and why they came

Map of German ancestry in Minnesota

MIssouri   [ Top ]

Germans in St. Louis: the first wave came in the mid-1830s followed by the liberals of the 1850s who were abolitionists and nationalists

German settlement in Missouri using northeast Benton County as an example

Germans in the Ozarks:  German immigrants to Arkansas and Missouri influenced culture, history

Texas   [ Top ]

Cradle community of German immigration:  the town of Industry, in Austin County, founded by Friedrich Ernst, who arrived there in  1831. More on Ernst and German colonization of Texas

German Immigration to Texas: New Braunfels and Fredericksburg were established for German immigrants who eventually settled in both farm county and cities. Around 1850, San Antonio, Houston, and Galveston were each about one-third German.

New Braunfels, Texas was estabished for and by German immigrants

Germans to Texas: a series of colonization projects helped bring Germans to Texas in the 1800s forming what was considered the "German Belt" in the south-central region of the state. They were diverse in religion, education and lifeways.

Port of Galveston on the Gulf Coast saw the arrival of key immigrant groups to Texas including the Germans, Czechs and Poles

German ancestry in 1994, by state, highest being Wisconsin, 58%;  North Dakota, 55%; South Dakota, 55% Iowa, 54%; Nebraska, 54%; Minnesota, 50%.

Genealogy Products   [ Top ]

Visit our Genealogy Shop for family history and genealogy books, software and other products today. Check out the sections for German genealogy, Irish genealogy and more.

German Genealogy   [ Top ]

Cyndi's List - Germany: genealogy resources

Germany GenWeb:   a volunteer project with databases, maps, look-ups, more

German Genealogy: an in-depth guide with links to databases, how to get started, more

German Genealogy:  Internet sources

German Genealogy at FEEFHS with links to German genealogy Web sites, maps

Germanic Genealogy Society

German Genealogy: tips for researchers, including German history, maps, societies, more

German Genealogical Digest has indexes to surnames and topics in back issues, products

German Names: how to identify, and how endings like -er and -macher shape German surnames

German Name Changes in America

German Surnames: enter name in box, click on "Suchen," see where surnames are found today

German Roots: a wealth of German genealogy resources and links

Germany GenForum: a place to post queries about ancestors in Germany

GenForums List   for places in Germany and the former Prussia, including these:

Rootsweb Discussion Lists - search to find one of the 30,000+ lists or search the archives of all lists

Rootsweb Archives - search page

Rootsweb Discussion Lists - find by surname or county. Has Germany and specialty topics or area lists including these and many more:
  German Surnames
  Passenger Lists

German-American studies and resources

Germans in Wisconsin list from Rootsweb

German Genealogical Research: includes useful map and resources on Palatines and Hessians

Palatines to America: this German Genealogical Society has seven chapters around the USA, plus an online Query Index and more

Pennsylvania Dutch: genealogy and family history, with more than 500,000 names online

Genealogy Research in Northern Germany

Schleswig-Holstein Genealogy including a large emigrant database, a timeline of the complex history of this area fought over by Denmark and Germany, maps, towns, names, more

Schleswig-Holstein Genealogy including those
who emigrated abroad to America

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Palatines, Liberty,
and Property:
German Lutherans
in Colonial

British America


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The German Immigration into Pennsylvania Through the Port
of Philadelphia,


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Sauerkraut Yankees: Pennsylvania Dutch Foods & Foodways


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Books, Software
& More


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German Cincinnati
(Images of America)


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German Columbus
(Ohio)  (Images o


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German Settlers of South Bend (IN) (Voices of America)


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German Workers
in Chicago: A Documentary History of Working-Class Culture from 1850

to World War I


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Germans in

(Ethnic Series)


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Wisconsin German
Land and Life

Includes Calumet, Washington and Sheboygan counties


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Germans in Minnesota


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Independent Immigrants: A Settlement of Hanoverian Germans in
Western Missouri


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German Pioneers on the American Frontier: The Wagners in Texas and Illinois


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Germans to America (Series II) October 1848-December 1849


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Dictionary of
German Names


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Pickled Herring and Pumpkin Pie: A Nineteenth-Century Cookbook for German Immigrants to America


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Organizing Your
Family History Search


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Finding Your
Roots Online



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Immigrants in
America - The

German Americans

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Ancestors in German

Archives: A Guide to
Family History Sources

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Germans to America:
Lists of Passengers
Arriving at
U.S. Ports

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Becoming Old Stock:The Paradox of German-
American Identity

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Encyclopedia of



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The Making of


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Sheboygan County (Wisconsin)
(Images of America


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German Americans

(Spirit of America


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Books, Software
& More


ermans in Wisconsin  [ Top ]

How Wisconsin Came by its Large German Element in the 1800s, an 1892 article

German Forty-Eighters: while this focuses on Germans to Texas, it was the same 1848-1849 upheaval in Germany that sent many Germans to Wisconsin

Germans in Wisconsin: including why Milwaukee was seen as a German Athens

Arrival of German Immigrants - 1840s: Milwaukee became known as the German Athens due to its rich German culture

German, Scandinavian and other immigrants influenced music and art in early Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

Immigrants to Wisconsin:  from England, Ireland, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, Poland, Switzerland and more -- and a look at their Christmas traditions

Turnverein Movement: German immigrants called Forty-Eighters brought to America the turner societies: gymnastic and cultural groups

Turner Hall in Milwaukee: built in 1882 for the city's Turnverein founded in 1853

Carl Schurz noted his pleasure in migrating  to Wisconsin from Germany in 1854, and the lively German spirit he found in Milwaukee

Milwaukee in 1882: German element had its beer gardens, music, Turnverein events

Pommerscher Verein Freistadt preserves German Pomeranian culture in SE Wisconsin, offers large family pedigree database.

German Genenealogy resources, Max Kade Institute, University of Wisconsin

New Holstein Profile with Timm House photo

MORE resources for Wisconsin, Milwaukee, New Holstein and Sheboygan and the German-speaking Swiss in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Genealogy   [ Top ]

Links to the Past for Milwaukee:  major source for genealogy and history

Milwaukee Genealogical Society

Milwaukee Genealogy & History, a guide

Milwaukee County Historical Society and the county's area historical societies

Wisconsin Genealogy   [ Top ]

Wisconsin Historical Society:  Genealogy resources including Vital Records database

Wisconsin State Genealogical Society

Wisconsin History & Genealogy, a guide

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German Milwaukee:
Its History ~

Its Recipes


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Wisconsin Office of Emigration 1852-1855 and Its Impact on German Immigration to the State


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Urban Culture: Writers
& Theaters in Early Milwaukee


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Of Kindred Germanic
Origins: Myths, Legends,
Genealogy and History

of an Ordinary
American Family


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RootsMagic Family
Tree Genealogy


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Then and Now

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Finding Your
Roots Online

American-Migration-Routes.jpg (7175 bytes)
Map Guide to
American Migration
Routes, 1735-1815

American-Genealogy.jpg (4729 bytes)
The Researcher's

Guide to American
Genealogy 3rd Ed.


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