Explore your German heritage

Categories: General Travel Info

German and American Flags in Nice, France
German and American Flags in Nice, France

[ source: Flickr]

It's well-known that the United States has always been a "melting-pot" of cultures, but did you know that more immigrants to the United States have come from Germany than anywhere else? Even you might have German heritage to explore! That's right, one can find German heritage everywhere. More Americans—50 million in 2005—trace their ancestry to Germany than to any other country, including the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Though the history of German immigration to the United States reaches back to colonial times, by far the largest wave of immigrants arrived in the 19th century. Between 1848 and World War I, nearly 6 million Germans sailed to the United States. After crossing the Atlantic, many settled in the Midwest, in states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Whatever their reasons for emigrating, Germans saw America as offering them the chance for a new life. And they took it.

Researching one's family history has become increasingly popular among Germans and Americans alike, and maybe you too have recently decided to explore your German heritage. Many historical records kept by churches and government agencies have already been digitized and can be searched on the internet from your home computer. There are a number of websites that can help you explore your German heritage, allowing you to contact other members and collaborate on family trees. Whether you're an experienced genealogist, or just beginning to trace your German roots, we stand ready to assist you in contacting the relevant agencies and resources in Germany that can provide valuable information into your German heritage.

Note: One of the best guides for researching German family trees is managed by the Mormon Church, and can be found at familysearch.org.

We're going to posting more stories here about this popular topic. So stay tuned...



About this Article

John Tanke

This travel guide has been written by John Tanke.

Dr. Tanke studied English and German at U.C. Berkeley, the Universität Göttingen, and Cornell University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1993. He has worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan and Union College, and more recently as a content writer/editor for Cengage Learning.

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