If you are doing research for your ancestors in my hometown area it is not avoidable that you are crossing records where the whole family or part of it has emigrated. It’s no surprise that you get thrilled and trying to learn more about the topic. So did I. By accident I got aware that there exist a book about the emigrants of my home town area. This passion was even increased when I could make contacts with other researchers in the U.S. or elsewhere where we found out that sharing information would help us on both sides. The first cousin I got in contact with and I had the luck to meet in person was Tim Grauer.
The book “Die Auswanderung auf den Härten”
was written by a local historian, Dr. Walter Schmid. He did an intensive research in working through all the church records and official emigration records available. He did document all the emigrants together with very interesting background information of the historical, political and economical situation through two centuries. After reading his book you get an idea how political or economical events have triggered the various waves of emigrations.
It describes a lot of historical aspects of the life of our ancestors and the various reasons for their emigration to the different parts of the world. Most of the people emigrated to North America, but others also to Hungary, Romania, Russia and other European countries. For some of you the book has only one challenge it is available only in German. It is privately published by Dr. Hans-Jörg Schmid and therefore only available from the direct source! If you would like to have one, please contact me via email and I will forward your request.
List of emigrants
When I read the book I was thrilled about that great source of information and with the experience already made to find some of the descendants on my Kemmler line, I felt it was a good idea to pay a tribute to his work and extract more details from the church records as parents, grand-parents and siblings and store it in my database. This would allow me to search for the emigrants in a database application also showing their inter-relationship and to identify any family relationship of them to my family.
For the searchers for their ancestral roots I would be also be in the position to provide much more ancestors information because there are so many linkages between the families. In order to allow researchers all over the world to find the roots of their ancestors in Germany I decided to post the emigrants in two ways. One is via this website and the other is via an upload to Rootsweb.com. The list includes all emigrants I have recorded in my database.
Please be aware, that on the website not all family members are published. The list contains only those persons who have really emigrated. In cases where the whole family emigrated you will find naturally also the data for parents or siblings. If parts of the family stayed at home, they are not shown. Nevertheless for most of the emigrants I have full family details with at least two generation of ancestors. If you have found your ancestor in the list, please contact me for further information. Normally I should be able to provide information on the whole family. The degree of information varies depending on the requested family. On the Kemmler side normally the information goes back to 1600.
On the overview page for the towns of Wankheim, Maehringen, Immenhausen, Jettenburg and Kusterdingen you can find a list of last names of emigrants. Please see also the map page for further cities. Please allow me to provide some comments on the notes I have included in my database. Some of the comments are in German. If you need a translation, please let me know.
Explanations of destinations:
Nordamerika – North America
Siebenbuergen – Romania
Explanation of sources:
Ev. Pfarramt …. – Lutheran parish of ….
Normally you will find the page no. of the parish record given like I/108. This would mean book I and page 108. If there is a reference to the above book, you will find the page no. of the index and sometimes some additional text. If a name is given the information is normally from another researcher. Please follow this link to visit the list of emigrants.
Special research projects in the U.S.
My research has shown that a lot of emigrants settled in Western Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Iowa. After the evaluation of various cemetery books I noticed that there are really hot spots in Williams County and Crawford County, OH. As a first step I intensified the research in Williams County, OH and Crawford County, OH and have set up separate pages with additional information.
Secondly I tried to visualize the settlement of the emigrants by using maps. Therefore the information in the location fields of the genealogy program have been used as ‘geo reference’ and was combined with geographical maps broken down in counties and cities in the U.S. Click on the respective gallery item to get to the post.
Presentation for the Historical Society Haerten e.V.
On Oct 14, 2005 I have held a presentation for the Historical Society in Maehringen with the title “On the trace of the emigrants”. Thanks to a lot of contributions I could present lots of pictures and share quite interesting information with the audience. According the feedback I received it was quite a success. Also the local press in Reutlingen and Tuebingen did publish an article about the presentation and its content. As I know lots of people are interested in the presentation I have translated it into English. It’s available on the download page.
Some hints for researchers outside of Germany
Please be aware that there is quite a difference in the handling of cemeteries as in the U.S. The cemetery of a city in the very early days was close to or around the church. With the growing populations of the cities, this didn’t work out any more, so the cemeteries were relocated at the outside borders of the cities. Even with the cemetery being located outside, the graves are removed very often after a certain period of time. Normally after 25 year the tombs are removed and the space will be reused. The time span can vary depending on the available space and the current requirements. There may be family graves, which will stay longer than 25 years, but under normal circumstances you will not find any grave older than 100 years. This means you must have big luck, to find any tombstones from your emigrated ancestors.
Another complication you may face reading the old documents, can be the old German letters. Up to 1950 in Germany these special German letters have been used instead of the Latin letters you are used to. You will need quite a bit of training to read it. You can look for a True Type font called Suetterlin, which looks very close to it.
If you would like to try to read some text in the old German letters, it’s the second page of a letter of one of my emigrants, Robert Eugen Kemmler, who has written it in 1892 to his friend Zindel.
After you have done your exercise, you can compare the results between your and my readings :-)).
German umlauts (Umlaute)
Not enough with the German letters. There are some special characters called “Umlaute”, which probably you are not familiar with. There are double points on top of a, o and u plus a special S character. If you see a double point on a letter in German it translates to the letter + e in English like Ä –> Ae, Ö –> Oe, Ü –> Ue, ä –> ae, ö –> oe, ü –> ue, ß –>ss.
Family sheets of the Protestant Church in Wuerttemberg
If you have a chance to look at Church records in Germany, especially for the Evangelische-Lutherische Kirche in Wuerttemberg (Protestant Church) you should look for the “Familienregister” (family register). These sheets will give you the best way to start, because it contains the information about the couple, the parents of groom and bride and their children. Normally you will find cross references to the preceding parents sheet and the succeeding sheets of the children, if they married in the same parish. If the children have married somewhere else, you can in most cases find the date of marriage and the name of the partner. Here is an example of a family sheet.
Normally these family sheets starts between 1750 and 1800 depending on the parish. From 1800 on you should definitely find them. If they are not available you have to look for the Taufregister (baptize records), the Eheregister (marriage records) and the Todesregister (death register). To figure out family relations out of this records it’s a real tough work, because you only have portions of information, which you have to bring together.
Very often there are multiple families with the same names. You have to be very cautious in making the relations otherwise you may be very quickly on the wrong tracks.