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You may know where your ancestors came from and when, but do you know why? The answer to that depends on whether they migrated during the first great wave in the Colonial period, or in the second wave. In this short video, German genealogy expert, James M. Beidler, reveals two of the reasons so many people emigrated during the second great wave, which lasted from the 1830s into the twentieth century.
There are 31 collections on Ancestry.com that pertain specifically to German immigration records in a mixture of English and German languages. Here is a quick look at five German records collections that may provide insight into your family history:
1. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 Containing the passenger lists of ships departing from Hamburg during that time period, this collection has over 5 million records, making it a go-to resource.
2. Bremen, German, Births on Ships 1867-1911 There are 771 records contained in this collection. You can get the name, gender, and birth date of the child, along with the parents’ names and ages.
3. Wuerttemberg, German Emigration Index This collection contains records of application to emigrate through Wuerttemberg. There are well over 100,000 records in the collection.
4. Pomerania, Germany, Passenger Lists, 1869-1901 These records document that passenger lists of ships originating in Stettin and Swinemunde and are only a portion of the extensive records kept.
5. 19th-Century Emigration of ‘Old Lutherans’ from Eastern Germany to Australia, Canada, and the United States Military drafts and marriage restrictions aren’t the only reasons people emigrated, and in this case, the reason for leaving was religious-based.
There are plenty more collections and records, ranging from German-language based to the records of their arrival and naturalization in the new world. Learn more about the full range of German records available on Ancestry.com, as well as how to search them (even when they aren’t indexed) in the Dig Into Ancestry.com’s German Records webinar.
Read more about six sources to find your German ancestor’s place of origin in this Plus article.