Württemberg Emigration and Immigration

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Emigration from Württemberg

Some of the earliest emigrants to America came from the state of Württemberg, Germany. It is the area of Germany from which the number of emigrants surpassed any other state. Anyone in America now who has ancestors from Württemberg and would like to trace their roots can rejoice because church records exist in almost every village. Very few of the church records, Lutheran or Catholic , were destroyed in the wars of the 20th century. For the most part the records go back to the early 1600s and some even earlier. Some of the records were destroyed during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Citizens from surrounding countries, specifically Switzerland, migrated to Württemberg because of the devastation of this war, to settle certain areas. Others came from France and Austria.

Many early emigrants to Pennsylvania and other Eastern states (Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, New Jersey and New York) had their origins in Württemberg. The books by Strassburger and Hinke and Rupp show ship passenger lists of these early emigrants. There were many captains, who destroyed the lists of passengers upon arrival in the new land. Some of the church records in Württemberg show the phrase made by a pastor “left to America, the new land or the Carolinas”. For emigration records a series of 8 volumes called Württemberg Emigration Indexes can be accessed through Ancestry.com. These are names of people, who applied for emigration legally to receive permission to leave the country and get a release from being citizens of Württemberg (clearance from military duties and possible debts or those who needed financial assistance and also those who had committed some crime). Many other Württemberg emigrants left the country over night with just a passport which was acceptable to ship captains. Those emigrants leaving in the 1700s usually gathered in a town close to the River Rhine and then took passage on the Rhine to The Netherlands. Later emigrants came via Le Havre, France, which was also reached via the Rhine River. Other ports were Bremen and a smaller portion of travelers left via Hamburg. In the 19th century these ports were reachable by train.

Emigrants were required to bring equipment on board, such as eating utensils, bedding in form of straw sacks and some food items. Often the promises made by agents and ship captains were not held and travelling became an arduous adventure. In a letter written by an emigrant in America back home advised travelers to bring a jug of whiskey which would help during seasickness.

There are authors, who published lists of emigrants from Württemberg, such as Trudy Schenk, Ruth Froelke (The Wuerttemberg Emigration Index, Vol. 1-8, Ancestry Incorporated, Salt Lake City, Utah 1986-1998) and Brigitte Burkett (Nineteenth Century Emigrants from Baden Württemberg, Vol. 1-2, Picton Press, Rockport Maine, 1997, 2001)

Stuttgart Passport Office Records

In 1991, the European Reference group on the International floor at the Family History Library, also indexed 18 rolls of emigration films from the Stuttgart Passport Office dated 1845-1920.  These were listings of passport applicants, many of which were not from Württemberg, but also from Bayern, Prussia and Switzerland, and many other areas, as well.  These applications gave the dates of application, name of the applicant, birthdate and birthplace.  Also included was the destination sometimes only being within the country of Germany, rather than only those traveling to foreign countries.

The index that was created is on film and in book form at the Family History Library.  The book call number is 943.47 W22i and there are many volumes to the index.  The microfilm numbers are 1,125,018-19.  The index includes an alphabetical list of names, birthdate and place, passport issue date and where they were going and the film number.  Unfortunately, the indexers did not include the running number which would have made it much faster to locate the name on the film.  Therefore, if you want to recheck the information for accuracy in transcription, it would be necessary to search the entire film.

The actual application films are in chronological order, by date, and therefore the names listed on these films were not in alphabetical order.

Online lists of emigrants from Württemberg,

State archive database 

Blackforest emigrant database

Early 1800s emigrants

Emigrants from Fellbach

Emigrants from Gechingen

Emigrants from Liedolsheim

Emigrants from Neuhausen ob Eck

Emigrants from Odenheim 

Emigrants from Rommelshausen 

Emigrants from Schwaikheim

Emigrants from Stetten im Remstal

Emigrants from Verrenberg

Emigrants from Grafschaft Wertheim

Pork butchers in Liverpool

It is believed that early emigrants followed the push and pull factor. For them lucrative salaries would have been pulling them while little prospects at home would have pushed them into emigration. Germany experienced unfavorable weather conditions in the 1800s that brought about food crises. Lack of food brought about elevation of prices. With a continually increasing population, some areas experienced devastation. When sons on top of that were not able to inherit the ancestral farm to support themselves and their families, emigration was one way out. Offers like new beginnings in England as pork butchers came at an opportune moment for some. In the 1860s men from Gerabronn and Künzelsau inthe area of Hohenlohe emigrated and settled in the northern and middle regions of England. There are German settlements in Liverpool, London, Hull, Bradford and Manchester. The butchers established themselves in family businesses in which their wives and children were also participating. Besides immediate family, many German women were hired who worked as servants, governesses and sales clerks. From Braunsbach came the Kochers and Happold, from Steinbach the sons and daughters of the Böhm, Dietz and Hackel families, from Steinkirchen the families Jaag and Vogt. The Egners, Kuhn, Leiser and Reisig originate from Künzelsau and Schmetzers came from Criesbach. The families Döhring, Dürr, Karle, Krumein and Rüben came from Bächlingen, from Oberregenbach came two brothers Rutsch, from Hohebach two sisters Stumpf, and from Dörzbach the Donrads, Dimler and Grund.

Because they knew each other from home, the emigrants established places of congregation which gave them support and opportunities to get to know each other better. One such place was the German church in Liverpool, where people could practice values and traditions important to them. By 1914 with the beginning of WWI the thriving businesses of pork butchers from the Jagstkreis in Wuerttemberg came to a shrieking halt. They were deported and had to look for other business opportunities. Some anglicized their names so not to be detected, others emigrated to America. The German church in Liverpool is still thriving today.

Source: Karl-Heinz Wüstner. Die Deutsche Evangelische Kirche in Liverpool – ein Rückhalt für Seeleute und Einwanderer im 19. Jahrhundert. http://www.deutschekirche.org.uk/Liverpool/Geschichte%20Gemeinde%20Liverpool.pdf