Mecklenburg-Strelitz – Herzogtum (duchy)Emigration and ImmigrationEdit This Page

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Between 1850 and 1890, Mecklenburg with a population of only 420,000 people had some 148,000 people emigrate, the majority to the United States. Most of these emigrants were peasants, struggling in poverty, looking for opportunities for a better life.

To lose workers through emigration would be detrimental to the Mecklenburg economy. Therefore, the Mecklenburg rulers tried to prohibit migration and emigration of their people as early as 1760. In spite of all banning, emigration flourished among serfs especially, who often fled to neighboring Prussia to escape pressing labor and often tyrannical manor lords.
In 1820 serfdom was abolished in Mecklenburg, however, the feared wave of emigration did not occur immediately, because most workers of the land sought the stability of the conventional life style. Starting in 1848 emigration became more of an option, usually an expression of dissatisfaction. The government again, tried to circumvent the trend by making available small farms. However, the news from emigrants already established held a greater lure. People opted for emigration because they saw no other way in obtaining land or a future for their children. Advertisements looking for skilled workers and promises of alluring wages, gave some people the impetus to cross the Atlantic.

Suleiman, Ali. Über die Auswanderung aus dem ländlichen Raum in Mecklenburg im vorigen Jahrhundert.

Most Mecklenburg emigrants left through the port of Hamburg. The port of Hamburg maintained records of departures starting in 1850. These departure records are called the Hamburg passenger lists. The records of Hamburg have been microfilmed and are available in the collection of the Family History Library.

Emigrants were required to request permission from the government to leave. There are some emigration records available at the following address:

Staatsarchiv Schwerin

Graf-Schack-Allee 2

19053 Schwerin


There are emigrants listed in Archiv für Sippenforschung by Karl Schomaker.Die Auswanderung aus Mecklenburg, speziell im 19. Jahrhundert pages 260-266 and 337-340 available in the Family History Library, call number 943 B2as yr. 27-28

Emigrants from Mecklenburg-Strelitz

16 to 20 thousand people emigrated in the second half of the 29th century to find a new home in America. Most of them came from the Stargard area. The data was collected and put into a databank which can be accessed here You have several options to search for a person. Most likely you will not know the case number (Fallnr), but you can enter the name, the maiden name and the birth place, date or profession.


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