Basic, Reliable Information About Early Emigration from the Osnabrück Area (Landdrostei) in the Kingdom of Hannover to the United States During the 19th Century

By Prof. Dr. Antonius Holtmann, University of Oldenburg (Oldenburg, Germany)
Translated by Prof. Dr. LaVern J. Rippley, St. Olaf College (Northfield, MN, USA)

To outline the subject of North German emigration to the United States within a short essay would be a gargantuan challenge. For, references in the states of Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, in Holstein and Schleswig, in Oldenburg and East Friesland, in Westphalia, in Braunschweig and in Hanover are too at variance and complex. In cases where the issues concern what is basic and reliable, then complexity must be reduced, variables must be referenced to factors, which make it possible to examine what is common and to determine what is variable.


For this essay, I have chosen emigration from the Landdrostei (a word that equates with an administrative
district) of Osnabrück in the Kingdom of Hanover because I have dealt with this territory frequently and because the data about emigrants from that unit in the 1830s and 1840s reached 11% of the entire German emigration in 1836 and at least 14% in 1845, while the percentage from the overall Osnabrück composite between 1832 and 1840 stood at an average of 5.5%. From 1841-1850 the Osnabrück percentage dropped to 3.5% and in the decade 1851-1866 fell to but 1.8%. The divergence cannot be comprehended unless we bear in mind that only 1% of the population lived in Landdrostei Osnabrück.
We must emphasize that emigration from Landdrostei originated from those lands used exclusively for farming. Of the 60,630 who emigrated between 1832 and 1866, only 1209 (1.9%) departed from the City of Osnabrück (which had an average population during those years of 13,500), while the ten official units (Ämter, comparable to today’s Landkreis or county) each supplied between 4,500 and 9,000 emigrants (e. g., the Grafschaft of Bentheim supplied 1,500). In each of the 34 years under consideration on average 1,732 people emigrated from the Landdrostei, Osnabrück, which equates annually to about 0.65% of the 265,000 total inhabitants in the unit. Both the absolute figures as wall as the percentages could even be fractionally higher because the data for some units are not available, census data are not complete, and more than just one or two left the province under the shadow of secrecy. In the years 1845, 1848 and 1852 the percentages stood at about 1.7%, 1.8% and 0.9% respectively, and in some districts somewhat beyond these. Taken from the basis of age as well as civil units, the absolute figures as well as the percentages vary considerably. From a pool of 60,630 documented emigrants during the years 1832-1866, there were 15,298 single men, 11,071 single women, and 34,261 individuals who can be allocated as belonging to the 7,992 families that traveled. Note 1

Structures, Institutions, Motives

In spite of the living conditions today called structural, institutional safeguards, and individual motivations, most potential emigrants stayed behind, did not want to leave the family nor homeland, reasons which make allowances for abstractions like “Migration Theory.” Thus one can place emphasis on the structures, on the institutions or on the individual motives. None of these concepts was missing for the Landdrostei emigrants if we do not render them as absolutes. In the end, the individuals themselves acted on their own perceptions of life’s circumstances, regardless of what social scientists are wont to put down on paper.

Between the 16th to the 18th centuries, feudal relationships in the state of Osnabrück had stabilized. Lords of the Manors, be they of nobility, clerical, municipal or patrician status, became owners of the soils that were in turn cultivated by the “Colonen,” the farmers  (Bauern). This basic structure became institutionalized, which is to say, both through codified law and through the force of custom, by precedence acquiring longstanding guarantees.
Farmers’ rights to cultivation usually followed the rules of inheritance in each family. Since 1722 the (youngest) son held preference over daughters to inherit the undivided farm acreage. With respect to legal ownership, the son was bound to the lord of the manor: without the latter’s approval the son could not get married. Whosoever married into the farmstead did so only by bequeathing himself to the registered owner of the farmstead. This meant that in the event of death of the person responsible for cultivation, as much as one half of the private property of the deceased belonged to the lord of the manor. Furthermore, during the indentured farmer’s life, cash payments, services, a variety of natural
products of the fields and above all else the first 10% of the harvest, the yield of which could be prescribed in advance by the lord of the manor, had to be delivered to the lord of the manor. Taken together, these obligations could amount to 30% of the gross harvest. In addition, there were various operational costs, which the operating farmer had to bear. Very few such farmers ever got wealthy, and many fell deep into debt.Note 2

Farms were heavily mortgaged because departing sons and daughters, siblings of the family, often took a dowry or a cash settlement for their inheritance. Those who did not succeed in reaching the secure goal of social position with its level of recognition by marrying into an existing farm, had to be satisfied with marrying into a small farmer position, perhaps stay unmarried on the farm of the one who inherited it and quite literally mortgage himself as a farm hand or maid, or secure for himself a roof over his head with a day worker’s job. The latter had a positive side because it allowed marriage due to the fact that lease and usage terms for small, poorer, farms permitted an agriculture-related Heuerhaus (day laborer’s cottage) on the property. This person could keep some pigs, sheep, and perhaps also a cow. The work to be performed was arbitrary, even minimal, but often with burdensome payment obligations and the lease could be terminated arbitrarily.
This layer of society that owned no land had to earn money elsewhere to make a living. Many of the men left every spring for the Netherlands (Hollandgängerei), staying from planting time to harvesting, in between cutting turf and making hay while their wives and children worked at home on the farms. Many also earned money in the crafts, in particular weaving linen, which during the 18th century had developed into a stabile and profitable temporary industry for the state of Osnabrück, for “decentralized, rural work-intensive production to be consumed in foreign markets.”Note 3


Even at the end of the 18th century despite the French Revolution in 1789, the whole arrangement seemed to offer most people a stabile economy and a social structure which was legally institutionalized and more or less approved at all levels of society and justified for the most part on religious grounds. Neither the nobility nor the church had any doubts about their rights to dominion and ownership. The farmers produced their relative shares and the day laborers, for the most part devoted to their God, simply adapted to their precarious dependencies while hired men and domestic maids adjusted to their lots as poor servants. The landless increased in real numbers from within as well as owing to “immigration” from local farm settlements. Very few succeeded in bettering their positions. More and more, from the 18th to the 19th centuries, stagnation and downward mobility prevailed.Note 4
The fact that society found itself gradually stagnating was mentioned in 1818 by the philosopher Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). He commented furthermore that the people did not have the means to prevent themselves from sinking deeper and deeper and in large numbers below the minimum level of existence. Accordingly, in case any “surplus of wealth” existed, “civil society was by no means wealthy enough to cope with the surplus of poverty and the generation of a ragtag rabble.”

Hans-Ulrich Wehler suggests three primary causes for the growth of the population:
  1. the differentiation and commercialization of the agricultural economy,
  2. the increasing export of pre-industrialized local production and
  3. the improved international upswing in the economy since the Seven Years War’ (1756-1763).
“The explosive growth of population is caused almost entirely by a growth of the rural lower classes.”Note 5

In Osnabrück territory people reacted in the past to the emerging crisis of feudal rule and dependency in the way that observers, above all politicians and sometimes also social scientists are prone to do, trying to analyze and convince us with malevolent self-assurance. They try to convince us of the existing model, to justify what is customary. Use of the overgrazed common lands, the so-called Marken (woodland, pastures, heath, and moorland), which had been ruined by a lack of manuring, around the turn of the century were parceled out to the farmers, that is, they were completely taken from use by the day laborers (Heuerleute) in a process called Markenteilung (redistribution). In a new issuance of a law in Hanover dating from the year 1827, a marriage license was made dependent on “proof of sufficient ownership or job security and a dwelling” and was linked to increased restrictions on mobility, for the most part limited to place of birth, in which the license seeker held birthright. Not until 1867/68 did the rule of Prussia take effect, which was promulgated by the North German Bund in 1866 granting “total freedom of movement” and “total freedom from marriage restrictions.” Prussian rules for “the unencumbered freedoms of marriage rights” were enforced.Note 6

Even after the freedom to purchase the farm from the landed proprietors (Ablösung) arrived in 1831,Note 7 which allowed the farmers more self-reliance in spite of increased debts, the farm situation did not materially improve, especially not the living conditions of the day laborers. They no longer had anything to do with selfowning or dependent farmers and demands for their work output was more and more. Feudal structures were modernized but modernity was delayed by retarded industrialization practices. That which was supposed to liberate the farmers from their crisis, in fact reduplicated it.
Revolutions had changed Europe in general. The American (1776), the French (1789) and again the French (1831). But in this time frame there were no German revolutions, only a minimally “defensive modernization” by which is meant the continental blockade, Napoleon’s annexation of northwestern Germany (1807-1810), and his brother’s kingdom of Westphalia, all of which ended with the Battle of Waterloo (1815).Note 8

These events left their mark on Osnabrück country. The burdensome but until recently bearable seasonal trek for work in the Netherlands (Hollandgängerei) during the 1820s was no longer bringing in sufficient returns. Travel on the sea and foreign trade suffered from the continental blockade and continued population growth was a European common problem. Above all else, the markets lost for Osnabrück linen could not be recovered. In England processed cotton gradually replaced linen, which happened thereafter in the German states as well, at the outset only by bits and pieces in the better townships of Osnabrück country. The sinking price of linen during the 1830s meant income could no longer be made up by increased production with the result that by the end of the century not only prices but also amounts produced were decreasing. After the American Civil War (1861- 1865) industrial flax and especially cotton manufacturing gained preeminence for now it could readily be shipped by the railroads.Note 9

Downward Mobility: Population and social stratification of Belm Congregation in the Landdrostei Osnabrück  (Note 4)

The New World

In Osnabrück country emigration in 1831-1832 increased with such a leap that the local government began keeping statistics. Worsening economic depression for the landless and children of farmers threatened by their lack of farm land forced many farmer class individuals to undertake the feared sea journey into the alluring New World; it promised work and wages up to ten times those of home as well as land a plenty, and not least, “complete freedom of marriage restrictions.” Early on, letters from America reported about conditions and more and more also newspapers and magazines. Columns under headings like “Etwas über Auswanderungen nach Nordamerika, insonderheit den vereinigten Staaten” [Information about Emigration to North America, especially the United States] were offered by Der Oldenburgische Hauskalender oder Hausfreund auf das Schaltjahr 1833. And if by chance you pick up Osnabrück’s Neue Beiträge zum Nutzen und Vergnügen from April 14, 1832, you will read this entry:

Over there – cries the emigrant – exciting,
happy living, freedom of speech and writing,
safekeeping from wars, no public debt,
minimal taxation, no military draft, friendly
people and great outlooks for the future. Here
by contrast, restrictions and barriers; high
taxation and duties, social class structures
and dividing walls, constant fear of war and
therefore huge and costly expenditure for the
military and dim prospects for the future.Note 10

A farmer’s son, Johann Heinrich zur Oeveste, put it well in a single sentence to his siblings in Rieste near Bramsche on the 30th of September 1834: “because this is a free country where one person is just as good as the next and because here no one holds another in higher or lower class positions.”Note 11

The years 1776-1815 and the political-economic changes those years brought about altered people’s mindsets, even in “the lowest classes of the population” who were permeated with “a huge amount of knowledge, capability, concepts and ideas.” Bernhard Wechsler, the Landrabbiner in Oldenburg, in December, 1846 on the eve of the Revolutions of 1848/49 put it this way in a lecture to the Verein für Vollksbildung zu Oldenburg speaking about the emigrants:

Responsiveness and the enthusiasm to counter the needs and afflictions of the present situation and whatever else has befallen us ... have now become an oppressive burden which we are no longer willing to allow to burden us. The pain caused by inequality, injustice, the real or imagined affronts, ignoring our demands etc. are increasing in proportion as receptivity for justice and equality, for truth and human dignity are increasing, in which these concepts and ideas are becoming the common property of all people. Therefore it is not necessary that the measure of abominations and
imperfections become any greater ... it is a question of making such things known, that the ideas become more and more alive in the individuals - that things do not have to be the way they are.Note 12

Thirteen years earlier an anonymous Oldenburg poet wrote calling upon the conscience of his readers:

Wie preis’t euch Deutschen man so sehr
Ein Paradies dort über’n Meer?
Was drängt, der Zukunft unbewußt,
Euch von der Heimath Mutterbrust?

How so does the paradise across the sea look so
glorious to you Germans? What urges you onward,
you who are ill-informed about your future, ripping
you from the breast of your motherland?

Im Vaterland der eigne Herd
Der bleibt dem Deutschen lieb und werth,
Und was er drinnen wirkt und schafft,
Bewährt des Deutswchen innere Kraft.

In the Fatherland you have your own kitchen stove,
which remains dear and worthy to every German,
and that which works and is accomplished therein,
that, the inner strength of the German preserves.

Und durch ein unauflöslich Band
Geknüpft an Fürst und Vaterland,
Steht er mit alter Deutscher Treu
In allen Stürmen kräftig bey.

And by means of an indissoluble bond tied to the
prince and the Fatherland, he stands with good old
German fidelity, steady in all kinds of storms.

Und weichet nicht von Treu und Pflicht,
Und weichet vom Vaterlande nicht,
Weil er, bey trüber Gegenwart
Auf bessere Zukunft ruhig harrt.

And do not stray from fidelity and duty. Turn not
away from your Fatherland, because it, though beset
by a dreary present, quietly longs for a better future.

Auf seiner Fürsten Biedersinn
Blickt stets sein Fleiß vertrauend hin;
Es spricht, baut er sein täglich Brod:
Den guten Fürsten segne Gott!

On the respectability of his prince, his diligence
looks forward in trust; he speaks, he bakes his daily
bread: May God bless the good prince!

So denket fest und gut und wahr
Ein ächter Deutscher immerdar
Wer nicht zu diesen sich gesellt,
Mag ziehen in die neue Welt! Note 13

So, think deeply, well and true, forever a genuine
German; anyone who does not wish to consort with
these, let him move on to the New World!

Those willing to emigrate were both shoved out and lured at the same time. Migration researchers refer to this phenomenon with the words “push-pull.” Both in the daily routine of life at home and in the risk-filled conditions of the New World, many people learn, anticipate and acknowledge the political conditions of their lives. Emigration to the USA becomes more or less a political matter for the citizens.

Passport of the Kingdom of Hannover (Osnabrück State Archive)
To enlarge please klick on the passport.

The Politics of Emigrating

With a policy of positive but restrained “god’s speed,” government officials for the Kingdom of Hanover addressed the issue of emigration. Citizenship for those emigrating was not withdrawn. Those leaving did not become stateless. They also retained their right to homeland residence in their town of origin, even in the event they returned penniless, as long as, following the five-year waiting period, they had not taken on citizenship in the United States. Only young men in military draft age needed permission to depart, and a passport. Other emigrants could get a passport if they wanted to have one. Nevertheless it was not difficult to get permission or even to get the means to emigrate. With a modest payment, substitute draftees were readily available for the five-year military obligation (a relaxed lottery system due to an oversupply of men), and if worse came to worst it was always possible to disappear into the night according to the old adage (bei Nacht und Nebel). Either the emigration recruiter or the shipping personnel in Bremen/Bremerhaven were always willing to close one eye.

Hanover’s government officials did, however, cast a suspicious eye on the outright recruitment of those willing to emigrate. Emigration agents, especially those from Bremen, needed a license to recruit and government officials tried to barricade the overzealous promises of “wild” [free-wheeling] agents. In official Osnabrück advertisements, acknowledged licensees offered their services. These measures helped dampen the over enthusiasm of those wanting to emigrate and to reduce the worries of local officials concerned about social costs in the event of emigrants returning. The fellow who toyed with the notion of emigrating was not immediately discouraged by the threat of stateless standing in the event of return as was the case in Prussian Westphalia next door (not that it did much to daunt emigration from those parts). This policy offered space (opportunities) for the many who stayed home, be it in the job market or even in
the competition for marriage partners.Note 14

The Kingdom of Hanover treated “criminals ... vagrants and similarly problematic or publicly dangerous persons” far less moderately and more rarely with supportive services. In the years 1836-l846 the Interior Minister allowed 865 so-called “transfer settlers” (Übersiedlungen). There could have been at least 3,000 such individuals from 1832-1866. Officially there was no policy concerning this possibility of “resettlement,” but many were aware of it and at times there was even a brief notice in the newspaper. Furthermore, local communities were obligated with financing the trip, offering clothing, and some pocket money. In these instances guards accompanied the “prisoners” to the small town of Lehe near Bremerhaven and stood by until these public offenders were delivered, provided with clean passports, and put on a ship or secured as inauspiciously as possible. Protests from the United States and Bremen officials only briefly interrupted the Hanover flow and then only if they got some negative publicity. With restraint and with oblique answers, the Interior Ministry in 1847 suggested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “It would be in the interest of public security to complain if the transfer settlement of such pardoned criminals were not being rehabilitated, in particular because the public coffers are liberated from the not inconsequential cost of sustaining each such case. ... Murderers, robbers and similar obdurate criminals we have not shipped out, even if on rare occasions there may have been exceptions.” Note 15

Those prisoners transferring were “pardoned” with the stipulation that if they returned they would once again be interned. Emigrating was offered to them often because they requested it. Being released into the community after a prison sentence is itself quite burdensome. It would have been difficult to be reaccepted back into the social strata of one’s place of birth. Thus America was truly the chance for a new beginning.

For example, the 37-year-old alcoholic, Franz Joseph Schulte from Hagen, was transported to America in 1838. He had been arrested for drunkenness, imprisoned with “bread and water” and was given 12 strokes from prison guard, Verwold. He was also charged with theft and vagary. He said he would be willing to go to America. The town of Hagen and officials in Osnabrück worked out a cost-sharing agreement: 37 Taler for passage, four Taler for utensils needed on the journey, they being a woolen blanket, a straw mattress, tin plate and drinking cup, a pocket knife, fork and teaspoon, soap, a towel, tobacco and a razor; in addition, two Taler for cost of a guard to Lehe and nine Taler pocket money for a fresh start in the United States. On August 21, 1838, the ship named Triumph departed Bremerhaven with Franz Joseph Schulte on board headed for Baltimore.

In another example, two “musical families of gypsies, Böhmer and Tewitz,” were gotten rid of, going from Hunteburg to America. According to records they were reproducing like pigeons, practicing both incest and whoredom as noted by the mayor Meyer in his office at Wittlage. He commented that he would forever have had a guilty conscience if he had not done everything in his power to rid the community of these gypsies. At a cost of 1213 Taler, as stated in the final report, the “poor community of Hunteburg had been cleansed of 19 useless and for the most part dangerous subjects.” Indeed, he also provided the departing members with several musical instruments. For these the music store dealer in Osnabrück was paid 22 Taler.

In one more example, the prisoner Conrad Jansen from Leer was transferred from Leer to America in 1843. He still had six of his 10 years to sit out his sentence.He requested emigration to the West so as not to end up again in the poor house and “to not have to pound his way out on the same pathway which had already brought him into such difficulty.” The Office of Criminal Affairs reported to the jail office “the King in his majesty graciously agrees to pardon this prisoner, Conrad Jansen, with the condition that he be given transfer settlement to America.” Note 16

Hometown Articles in Your Suitcase

The emigrants now held their entire lives to date in a suitcase, at least Old World articles that would more or less work out in the New World. To preserve them, to get a toehold in an unfamiliar environment, was their concern above all else; best to find it in an ethnic or a homogenous church settlement or secular organization. Catholic Oldenburg in Indiana (1837) Note 17 and the Lutheran Church in Cincinnati, Ohio Note 18 are well-known examples.

Usually characteristic, but sometimes silly and scurrilous articles were also in the suitcases. For example, among the Catholic settlers in Oldenburg, Indiana, coming from the Oldenburg’s Catholic region of Münster, was Anton Hackmann with a background in agriculture from the town of Winkum, versatile, and in some ways a salesman. He took along to America his “Notebook on cures or, abstemiousness” (1847) and rose to be a successful local businessman. An excerpt from his notebook reads:

 “If you have serious Bieters on the bees. To get rid of these, take honey and mix in some brandy, give this to the bees instead of food and this will produce an awful beizerrei (bee sting)”Note 19.

For another example, his neighbor Johan Georg Schneider noted a prescription in his book:

“To cure intestinal problems. Move your hand over the breast and back of the horse or the person threetimes while saying the words O Jerusalem, thou Jewish city, in you they crucified Christ and there He shed water and blood, these are good for you, horse or man, for worms and intestinal problems. In the name of (three crossings); whatever else fails us should also be healed (three crossings). At the same time, tap yourself on theleft side as often as you say these words. That helps” Note 20.

As another example, the North German Lutheran Church in Cincinnati was also known as the Osnabrücker Kirche and as the “Plattdeutsche Kirche.” Johann Heinrich zur Oeveste on October 31, 1839 wrote to his parents and siblings in Rieste: “The German Lutherans this summer have built a beautiful church which they call the ‘Norddeutscher Lutherische Kirche’ and these people are nothing but Low Germans; they have lived separately from the High Germans who mostly come from the southern province of Germany.” Note 21

In a conflict the parishioners of “Osnabrück and Vicinity” split off from the “German Lutheran and Reformed St. Johannes Congregation,” because of the confession and because of the language, but probably also because since 1832-33 the Osnabrücker immigrants were gaining the upper hand and the church was becoming too small.  Osnabrück’s Lutherans separated on the basis of Paragraph 10 in their constitution, “Nobody can be admitted to the Church Council who is not fluent in the Low German language.” The High German Luthran and Reformed (Unionists) countered with a postscript Paragraph 15 of their new constitution: “In order to avert all provincial prejudice, the church finds it necessary to elect no more than three church members from one province. All North Germans however, belong collectively to one single province.” Note 22

The language of the hometown as well as the language of Martin Luther were important to the immigrants. The St. Johannes Congregation in 1839 entered Paragraph 2 into its constitution: “There should never be any preaching in the English language in our community; for all time to come, however, it should remain open for German-language worship.” It was made a bit less stringent in their constitution by a branch of the Low German church, the “German Evangelical St. Johannes-Gemeinde in White Creek” near Columbus, Indiana at the beginning of the 1850s, namely that “as long as three members so wish, there will be preaching in the German language”. Not until October 11, 1903 did the congregation’s plenary session decide that our pastor may also preach in English. By this time probably most of the faithful could understand English. On October 1, 1905 John H.Hormann and H. F. Eckelmann wrote in the book of Protocols: “Fünftenten Beschloß-- die Gemeinde das die zwei Öfen in die Kirche double drum sein sollten, und in die Schule were es nich nötig so ein großer sondern single drum were groß genug. 6ten wurde geschloßen das die Fenster und sills auswendig painted werden und sollte grained werden” (The fifth action taken, the community should replace the two stoves in the church with “double drum” [use of English to designate this type of equipment] and in the school “where” it is not so needed to use a “single drum” which would be large enough. And the sixth action taken was that the windows and “sills” should be “painted” and should also be “grained.”)Note 23
From 1942 onward, a few weeks after the declaration of war by the German Reich against the United States (11 December, 1941) worship services at the St. Johannes congregation were no longer conducted in German. However, the flag still stands next to the altar.Note 24

The offspring of the Osnabrück emigrants had finally “arrived” in the United States.

Note 1: Anne-Katrin Henkel, Ein besseres Los zu erringen, als das bisherige war,” Ursachen, Verlauf und Folgewirkungen der hannoverschen Auswanderungsbewegung im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert (Hameln, 1996), pp. 41, 216-218. Karl Kiel, “Gründe und Folgen der Auswanderung aus dem Osnabrücker Regierungsbezirk, insbesondere nach den Vereinigten Staaten, im Lichte der hannoverschen Auswanderungspolitik betrachtet (1832-1866),” Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte und Landeskunde von Osnabrück, 61 (1941), p. 86-176, esp. 176. Walter D. Kamphoefner, Westfalen in der Neuen Welt. Eine Sozialgeschichte der Auswanderung im 19. Jahrhundert (Göttingen, 2006), p. 25.

Note 2: Karl Heinz Schneider und Hans Heinrich Seedorf, Bauernbefreiung und Agrarreformen in Niedersachsen (Hannover, 1989), p. 22-31.

Note 3: Kamphoefner, Westfalen (see note No. 1), p. 28. Franz Bölsker-Schlicht, Die Hollandgängerei im Osnabrücker Land und im Emsland. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Arbeiterwandereung vom 17. Bis zum 19, Jahrhundert (Sögel, 1987). Franz Bölsker-Schlicht, “Sozialgeschichte des ländlichen Raumes im ehemaligen Regierungsbezirk Osnabrück im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Heuerlingswesens und einzelner Nebengewerbe,” Westfälische Forschungen 40 (1990), p. 223-250.

Note 4: Jürgen Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, Familien, Höfe. Die Bauern und Heuerleute des Osnabrückischen Kirchspiels Belm in proto-industrieller Zeit, 1650-1860 (Göttingen, 1994), p. 55, 373. “Von den Kindern der großbäuerlichen Eltern konnten knapp zwei Drittel sich den Status ihrer Geburt erhalten; fast ein Viertel stieg in die Heuerlingsschicht ab, den restlichen 11% gelang es immerhin, auf eine kleinbäuerliche Stelle zu kommen. Schlechter waren die Bedingungen für die Söhne und Töchter von Kleinbauern: über 40% von ihnen blieben ohne Eigentum an Haus und Grund.” [From among the children of parents with large farms, barely two-thirds were able to maintain the status of their births; nearly one quarter were reduced to day laborer status while the remaining 11% managed to get small farmer standing; over 40% of them, however, remained without ownership of house and soil.]

Note 5: Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, Vol. 2, Von der Reformära bis zur industriellen und politischen “deutschen Doppelrevolution” 1815-1845/49 (München, 1987), pp. 7-9. - Hegel quoted from this book.

Note 6: Schlumbohm, Lebensläufe, Footnote 4, p. 111. Klaus-Jürgen Matz, Pauperismus und Bevölkerung. Die gesetzlichen Ehebeschränkungen in den süddeutschen Staaten während des 19. Jahrhunderts (Stuttgart, 1980), pp. 175, 178-181. Schneider/Seedorf, Bauernbefreiung, Footnote 2, pp. 83-101.

Note 7: Schneider/Seedorf, Bauernbefreiung, Footnote 2, pp. 60- 75.

Note 8: Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, Vol. 1, Vom Feudalismus des Alten Reiches bis zur Defensiven Modernnisierung der Reformära 1700-1815 (München, 1987), pp. 347-546.

Note 9: Kamphoefner, Westfalen, Footnote 1, p.p. 28-66.

Note 10: W. Hardebeck, “Die Auswandereung nach America aus unserer Gegend,” Mitteilungen des Vereins für Geschichte und Altertumskunde des Hasegaues, 14 (1905), pp. 24- 37, here p. 27 ff. “Etwas über Auswanderungen  nach Nordamerika, insonderheit den vereinigten Staaten,” Der Oldenburgische Hauskalender oder Hausfreund auf das Schaltjahr 1833, 7 (1832), See also Bernd Jürgens, “Das Amerikabild im Jahrhundert der Auswanderung. untersucht am Beispiel der Oldenburger Presse von 1814-1875,” Zeitschrift für Niedeerdeutsche Familienkunde, 76 (2001), 2, pp. 227-245.

Note 11: Antonius Holtmann, ed. “Ferner thue ich euch zu wissen. .” Die Briefe des Johann Heinrich zur Oeveste aus Amerika 1834-1876 (Bremen, 1996), p. 40. (

Note 12: Bernhard Wechsler, Die Auswanderer. Ein Vortrag, gehalten im Verein für Volksbildung zu Oldenburg am 20. Dezember, 1846, mit einem Vorworte (Oldenburg, 1847).

Note 13: Oldenburgische Blätter vom 15. Oktober, 1833.

Note 14: Antonius Holtmann, “Auswanderungs- und Ubersiedelungspolitik im Königreich Hannover 1832-1866,” in Kornelia Panek, ed., Schöne Neue Welt. Rheinländer erobern Amerika, Vol. 2 (Wiehl, 2001), pp. 190-194.

Note 15: Holtmann, Auswanderungspolitik, Footnote 15, pp. 195-199. See Horst Rössler, Holandgänger, Sträflinge und Migranten. Bremen- und Bremerhaven als Wanderungsraum (Bremen, 2000), pp. 193-260. (“Unnützte Subjekte, Vagabunden und Verbrecher”). Zur Emigration von Sträflingen in die Neue Welt (1830-1871). See also Günter Moltmann, “Die Transportation von Sträflingen im Rahmen der deutschen Amerikaauswanderung des 19. Jahnhunderts,” in Günter Moltmann, ed., Deutsche Amerikaauswanderung im 19. Jahrhundert. Sozialgeschichtliche Beiträge (Stuttgart, 1976), pp. 147-196.
Note 14:
Note 16: Holtmann, Auswanderungspolitik, Footnote 15, pp. 200-210, here 200-204.

Note 17: Antonius Holtmann, “Für Gans America Gehe ich nich Wieder Bei die Solldaten. . .” Briefe des Ochtruper Auswanderers Theodor Heinrich Brandes aus dem amerikanischen Bürgerkrieg 1862/63 (Bremen, 1999), pp. 33-42.

Note 18: Holtmann, Ferner thue ich euch zu wissen, Footnote 12, pp. 50 ff. Wolfgang Grams, “The North German Lutheran Church in Cincinnati. An Osnabrück Congregation”, in Reichmann, Rippley, Nagler, eds., Emigration and Settlement Patterns of German Communities in North America (Indianapolis, 1995), pp. 50-59.

Note 19: Antonius Holtmann, “Vom ‘finstern Winkel Deutschlands’ nach America.” Arbeit und Bestände der Forschungsstelle Deutsche Aswanderer in den USA (DAUSA) der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg ( in Oldenburgische Familienkunde 44 (2002), pp. 775-786, here 777 ff. The “Schreibbuch” is available in the archives of DAUSA.

Note 20: The “Buch” is available in the archives of DAUSA.

Note 21: Holtmann, Ferner thue ich euch zu wissen. Footnote 15, pp. 48-52.

Note 22: See Footnotes 19 & 20. “Constitution” and “Verfassung” in the Church books of both communities, which are available on microfilm in the research archives of DAUSA.

Note 23: Antonius Holtmann, An “Osnabrück” Congregation in Indiana. The “Deutsche evang.-luth. St. Johannes Gemeinde am White Creek (1840), in Reichmann, Rippley, Nagler, eds., Footnote18, pp. 91-105. - “Constitution” Church Records and Minutes of the White Creek Congregation are available on microfilm in the Indiana State Library and in the DAUSA Archive. - Concerning the problem of language shift, see the very thorough investigation of church books and the writings of the Missouri Synod in the dissertation of Harro Eichhorn, “Stellenwert und Funktion von Gemeinde, Pastor und Lehrer in Kirchengemeinden der Missouri-Synode des 19.und 20. Jahrhunderts. Auf den Alltagsspuren deutscher Auswanderer in Kirchenbüchern, Protokollbüchern und religiösen Periodika” (Oldenburg, 2006), pp. 333-342.

Note 24:4 St. John, White Creek, History of the St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church (Columbus, Indiana, 1990).

This article was first published in German in: Bunners/Bichel/ Grote (Eds.): Die Auswanderung von Norddeutschland nach Amerika im Spiegel der Literatur. Rostock: Hinstorff 2008, pp. 11-24. Printed with permission. No copies may be made without written permission from the author and Palatine Immigrant Editor.

The English version of this article was first published in: The Palatine Immigrant 34 (2008) 1, 20 - 28.

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