Baden Grossherzogtum (grand duchy) Emigration and ImmigrationEdit This Page

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Approximately half of all people in Baden left illegally without permission granted by the administrators. Most emigrants left via the French port Le Havre where pass controls and regulations were not as stringent as they were at the German and Dutch ports. Many emigration documents before 1850 have been destroyed. Most emigration materials in the general archive are from 1850-1880 with more emigrants from the north than the south of Baden. However, the records of the Bezirksämter (administrations, abbreviated BA) of southern Baden (Brühl to the Bodensee) have not yet been thoroughly evaluated.

Emigration records contain personal reasons for emigration or economic and social circumstances. In the Freiburg Archive are housed the so called Standesbücher which were created between 1810 and 1870 by priests. They also had to supply duplicates of these records and give them to the lower courts. If the birth information of the ancestor is known, he could be traced in these books as well as his parents, brothers and sisters and his grandparents.

In the archive other information regarding emigrants can be retrieved, especially if the birth place is known. 400 village histories list among other data persons who have emigrated. Some authors have extracted data between the 18th and 20th century. The information came from citizenship lists, land records, family books, taxlists and so on. In some local archives are lists of names of emigrants which were created by the mayor's office and had to be forwarded to the higher authorities for approval. Another source to retrieve names of emigrants are village genealogies. These books usually contain information beginning with the end of the Thirty Years War to the year 1900.

Note: Information regarding departure of emigrants, on what vessel under what captain from what port and the destination is not a part of German emigration records.

The author Werner Hacker has thoroughly documented the emigration from Baden by regions. His books are available through the Family History Library at, author search: Hacker, Werner

Emigration from Konstanz A-Z (1633-1699) name index A-Z (1837) emigration documents A-W (1837-1951) are available through the Family History Library network (International Film 1204485)

Emigration of prisoners from Baden

     Poverty was in the mind of administrator the cause for social disgrace. Government officials spent a lot of money to ship their poor to America. Such measures were looked upon as more economical. But not only did they sent the poor, prisoners were sent as well. In 1850 fifty people were selected and financed to find a new home in America. 

     The author Friedrich R. Wollmershäuser has listed the unwanted and published their names, their place of residence/origin and when they were shipped out according to gender, male and females.
In 1850/51/52 people were released from Pforzheim police custody. In 1853/54 people came from 4 districts of Baden. There are no further documents for the following years, however, prisoners were still released for emigration to America. In 1860/62/64 people were released from Bruchsal prison and the workhouse in Freiburg.

     The lists were published in Archiv für Familiengeschichtsforschung, 3. Jahrgang, Heft 1 (1999). The periodical can be accessed through FamilySearch, Family History Library, call number 943 B2as.

Palatinate Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1793

The ancient “Kurpfalz” territory is not the same as the present-day “Pfalz” in German or “Palatinate” in English. The Kurpfalz territory included parts of the state of Baden on the east side of the Rhine River and parts of the present-day Palatinate, namely the former Oberämter (administrations) of Alzey, Neustadt, Lautern (Kaiserslautern), and Germersheim on the west side of the Rhine River. The state of Kurpfalz ended in 1801 under Napoleon of France. The Palatinate then became part of France and was named “Departement Mont Tonnere. In 1815, this territory fell to the Kingdom of Bavaria, and since World War II is known as “Rheinbayern” or “Bayrische Pfalz”.
The first Swiss-German Anabaptists or Mennonites immigrated to the Kurpfalz in 1664. After the 30 Years’ War the area was hugely depopulated and the religious refugees from Switzerland were encouraged to settle under certain conditions. They had to observe religious restrictions, pay protection fees and other obligations. In order to make sure everything went according to law, the Mennonites needed to register with the authorities at irregular intervals. Hence, censuses were taken in 1664, 1685, 1706, 1717, 1724, 1738, 1743, 1753, 1759, 1768, 1773, 1790, and 1793.

Not every subsequent sovereign upheld the protective rights for the people of a different creed and limited their growth so that especially young people were forced to leave. Many simply moved to a neighboring village if it belonged to a different sovereign, but most saw no other alternative than to pack up, travel down the Rhine and eventually make the voyage across the Atlantic to America.
The census lists were forwarded to the respective authorities (Oberämter). The genealogists Hermann and Gertrud Guth transcribed these lists and discovered that the Kurpfalz officials were not familiar with the Swiss-German names. Names were frequently spelled the way they thought they should be spelled causing some unusual deformities. Several surnames point to the origin of the person. Families had Lower German or Dutch origin. After 1671 family surnames from the Cantons of Aargau and Zurich appear in the former “Upper Palatinate” (the Kraichgau area southeast of Heidelberg). Bernese names were predominant in the Lower Palatinate (the area west of the Rhine River near the cities of Worms and Alzey.
In 1712 names of Amish Mennonites from the Canton Berne appeared primarily in the southern part of the Palatinate. These families arrived after they were expelled from the city of St. Marie-aux-Mines (Markirch) in Alsace where they had first settled after leaving their Swiss homeland.

The list of family and village names are available in book or fiche format call number 943 X2g or 6001862 pt. 1-2 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah, International Floor.


Guth, Hermann and Gertrud Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1793. Mennonite Family History, Elverson PA, 1987.


  • Database of emigrants leaving Southwest Germany primarily during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Auswanderung aus Südwestdeutschland. Database. Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg (

  • Emigrant Database as entered by researchers. The entries are queries.

Baden's Black Forest (Schwarzwald) area - Blackforest Emigrant Database site

  • Emigration from Baden's Black Forest (Schwarzwald)

Auswanderung aus dem Bereich des östlichen Rands des mittleren Schwarzwaldes

  • To United States and Canada

Auswanderung nach Nordamerika (Emigration to North America)


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