Max Kade Institute

for German-American Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Resources & Link | Immigrant Experience

Resources & Links

Allgemeine Auswanderungs-Zeitung
Digital images of the “Allgemeine Auswanderungs-Zeitung” (1846-1870) and its supplement, “Der Pilot” (1855-1864), which provided advice for emigrants, including testimonials and letters.
Amerikanetz: Netzwerk westfälische Amerika-Auswanderung seit dem 19. Jahrhundert
German-language network for tracing 19th-century emigrants from Westphalia to America.
Auswandererbriefe aus Nordamerika
The free University of Berlin in co-operation with the research library Gotha has collected more than 7,000 letters written by German emigrants from North America. Finding aids provide the names of the letter writers, their place of origin in Germany and place of residence in the U.S., dates, number of pages, and information on whether the letters are transliterated.
Auswanderung nach Amerika
Web site in German and English about German immigration to the United States.
BallinStadt Hamburg
Dedicated to the 5 million European emigrants who left their homeland between 1850 and 1939 via Hamburg's port in search of a better life across the Atlantic, this unique historical center will feature a combination of genealogical research, historical displays, and interactive, hands-on activities.
Ellis Island
Search immigrant records, view exhibits on the immigration experience
Emigration & Immigration Records & Links, including Passenger Links and Naturalization Records
Handy reference to resources
Emigration Port Hamburg
Exhibit with background history on how Hamburg became an immigration port, who were the immigrants conditions on board of the ships, what the immigrants expected to find in America. Pictures and text now saved on the Wayback Machine -- takes awhile to load.
Find Your Roots in Germany: Links for Researchers and Travellers
Site provides access to numerous research tools, resources, and databases, as well as to tourist information on Germany. Links to passenger manifests, online databases, genealogy sites, and a variety of German regional databases.
Forschungsstelle Deutsche Auswanderer in den USA
Research Center German Emigrants in the USA: Information related to the center; passenger lists; letters; U.S. Census 1880, articles on the 48ers.
Germans in America
Library of Congress exhibit provides information about immigration from the German-speaking world to the United States, and about the activities of German immigrants in the United States from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Chronology with links to many photos
Good Bye Bayern, Grüß Gott Amerika: Emigration from Bavaria to America since 1683
Web site based on an exhibition held at the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, June to November, 2004. The site, in German and English, includes information on motives behind emigration, the journey, arrrival in America, biographical sketches, images, and audiosamples.
Immigration History Research Center
Archival and library collections of the University of Minnesota on various ethnic groups
Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
A Web-based collection of selected historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums that documents voluntary immigration to the US from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. Subject topics include acculturation, nativism, racism and prejudice, homesteading, industrialization, and more.
Swiss Roots
Organized by the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and official Swiss representatives in the U.S., in cooperation with numerous local Swiss associations,and now part of the Swiss Center of North America, this Web site serves as a gateway to allow the 1 million Americans of Swiss descent seeking to trace their ancestral roots and those with Swiss affinity to discover and communicate with people in Switzerland. The site also showcases the best in Swiss innovation, culture, history, education, and business.
Understanding Your Ancestors
Site’s goal is to help you understand the lives of immigrant ancestors, particularly those who lived in the 1700 and 1800s in Western Europe. Sections examine life in Western Europe, especially for the peasant class; the immigration experience; and searching the records for ancestors.

Immigrant Experience

Archivaria: Buffalo, New York
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks has created a page that combines her study of the history of Buffalo, New York, with her interest in German language and literature. Includes a translation of the history of Buffalo from a German perspective, a history of Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, and scans and translations of many German-language newspapers and journals. Also includes an index of names.
Der Deutsche Pionier
Der Deutsche Pionier was, from 1869 to 1887, the publication of the Der Deutsche Pionier-Verein von Cincinnati. It is generally considered an indispensable source for the history of Germans in the United States, owing its quality and high reputation particularly to Heinrich Armin Rattermann, who edited the journal from 1874 to 1885. This site, hosted by the Forschungsstelle Deutsche Auswanderer in den USA (Oldenburg University), provides scanned images and thorough indexes of all issues of this paper.
Emigrants & Emigration: The Emigration Experience As Described in Letters
Letters written by emigrants from Emsland and other parts of Germany. 
"Ferner thue ich euch zu wissen..." Die Briefe des Bauern Johann Heinrich zur Oeveste aus Amerika
Letters of a farmer to his family; in German
German Heritage Tour of Missouri
Heritage tour initiative highlighting Missouri’s German culture and history along the Missouri River. The program is collecting an inventory of sites, past people and institutions, settlements, culinary aspects, conflict (nativism, Civil War, Word Wars I and II), scenic byways, transportation (river landings, bridges, trails), religions influence, agriculture, maps, prints, and images, music, art and architecture, along with a list of current individuals and organization with whom to collaborate.
German Iowa and the Global Midwest
Explores aspects of the largest group of European origin to settle in the state. Topics include: German Immigration to Iowa; Brewing, Prohibition, Politics; Community Life;
German Iowa in Crisis: World War I; Economic and Political Crisis during the Great Depression, and the rise of National Socialism in Germany; World War II and its Aftermath; the Story of the Scattergood Refugee Hostel in West Branch, Iowa; and German Iowa by County.
German Settlement in Colonial Pennsylvania: A Lesson Plan
Developed by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for middle to high school students.

Haas, Carl de: North America, Wisconsin, Hints for Emigrants (Translation of Nordamerika, Wisconsin, Calumet: Winke fur Auswanderer) Carl de Haas, a young German schoolteacher, came to Calumet, Wisconsin, in 1847. Impressed with what he found upon his arrival, de Haas wrote this immigrant guide and had it published in Germany to encourage others to emigrate to his new home. Though not the first emigrant guide, de Haas' book was one of the most influential. While many Europeans tended to look at reports from the U.S. with suspicion, Nordamerika, Wisconsin, Calumet was widely regarded as trustworthy for its honest approach, and helped other German immigrants plan their own voyages based on de Haas' personal experiences. This is a 1943 translation into English, followed by the original German edition (in two parts, dated 1848 and 1849).

Herewith I am giving you to know ...". The letters of the farmer John Henry zur Oeveste from Amerika 1834 - 1876 Another site with information on this 1834 immigrant from Osnabrück to America 

Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present
A project of the German Historical Institute, this site will comprise, when complete, more than 200 biographical essays on first- and second-generation German-American immigrant entrepreneurs, combined with essays on various topics illustrated with primary sources such as photographs, media clips, and business documents. Other components of the project will include bibliographies for further research and suggestions for using the “Immigrant Entrepreneurship” website in the classroom. The site offers valuable information and source material for anyone interested in German-American history. 

Letters from an Immigrant—America to Germany und zuruck . . .
Bertha Starke Geerdts was born in Neu Schönfeld, Bunzlau, Schlesien, Germany, on 11 January 1871. Sometime before 1885 and 1890, while still a teenager, she left her family and immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This site has letters from Bertha to her mother as well as letters from Bertha's friends and siblings in and near her hometown and in Alt Oels, Silesia, Germany; Medford, Taylor County, Wisconsin; and Rockton, Wisconsin. 

Old manuscripts, verses
From the Forschungsstelle Deutsche Auswanderer in den USA 

Report by the German Immigrant
Narration by a German immigrant; from Der Deutsche Pionier,1871. 

Tiefnort Immigration
Building upon intensive personal research into an exhibit and documentary book, Astrid Adler presents information on more than 440 immigrants who left the small German town of Tiefenort to create new lives in the USA and Australia. Her project goal is to find all of the descendants of the emigrants so that these "forgotten people" may be remembered.

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