When you look at the Genealogy Display Case, you will see some of Irma Franke’s ancestors in Niedersachsen (now Germany). Why did Heinrich Christoph and his son immigrate to the United States in 1854? For one thing there were others from their area already in Illinois, both family and friends. A second factor that may have caused immigration was famine. Here is an excerpt from the “Ohio Repository” (Canton, Ohio), 21 July 1852: The famine in the mountain districts of southern Germany has not yet abated. A letter to the New York “Express” dated Prague, June 3d, says: “Families, formerly in easy circumstances, are reduced to beggary and severe sufferings from hunger. Bakers sell bread of rye and oat bran at high prices; people gather common grass along the public roads and highways, and moss in the woods, and cook and eat it to appease their hunger, and thus prevent starvation.” May this have helped the Winterhoffs to decide to emigrate?
From the early 1700s until the middle of the 19th century the majority of men and women leaving the Old World came from Southwestern Germany (many for religious reasons), though by the mid-1800s emigration had also started in the West and Northwest of Germany. From the 1850s onward Northern and Northeastern Germany became major emigration areas. . . Emigration started as a movement of families of agricultural background whose aim was to settle on American soil. . . A first wave of emigration hit Germany in the 1850s, peaking in 1854 when 215.000 people left their homeland. Altogether almost 1.3 millions left during that decade. Extracted from
Emigration from Germany to the United States in the 19th and 20th Centuries II.
Do you have German ancestors? Do you know why they came to America?