Schleswig-Holstein Emigration and Immigration

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Emigration and Immigration

Online Databases[edit | edit source]

Emigration from Schleswig-Holstein[edit | edit source]

After 1848 (gold rush in California and the uprising of 1848-51 in Schleswig-Holstein) the first significant wave of Schleswig-Holstein emigration to the United States occurred. These emigrants settled in the vicinity of Davenport, Iowa. They were farmers who were eligible to obtain land if they were able to cultivate it. It cost between 400 to 1000 Dollars and hard work to establish oneself and flourish. The emigrants were mostly young men between 17 and 25 years of age. In order to emigrate, they had to get permission and be officially released from military duty. Such records can be retrieved through archives. Steinberg, Segeberg, Plön and Pinneberg counties as well as the Duchy of Lauenburg and old counties Bordesholm, Eckernförde, Husum, Eiderstedt and Tondern transferred their records to the Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein. For other counties these emigration records can be retrieved through local archives However, in some instances such records may no longer exist or may have never been created since the emigrants did not register because they intended to resist the draft.

From 1880 to 1893 approx. 88.000 (recorded) Schleswig-Holsteiner, roughly 10% of the Schleswig-Holstein population moved to North America, first the Holsteiner from Probstei and Segeberg, then the Schleswiger during Prussian times (1867). According to some advertisers the shortest and least dangerous route to take was from Hamburg to Hull, England, then by train to Liverpool and from there to America. Most emigrants arrived in New York through Castle Garden and later (1892) through Ellis Island, New York.

Emigrants from Preetz can be traced through the local newspaper, Preetzer Zeitung. This particular paper featured articles on emigrants and published in a two to three months cycle obituaries of emigrants.


30. Nordelbisches Genealogentreffen “Archivalien zur Auswanderung im Landesarchiv Schleswig”

Hagenah, Gerd. Die frühe schleswig-holsteinische Auswanderung in die USA (1835-1860)

Kawalek, Jürgen. Literaturübersicht zur Aus- und Einwanderung von der Landesbibliothek Kiel

Pauseback, Paul-Heinz. 400 Jahre Schleswig-Holsteiner in Übersee

Pauselius, Peter. Möglichkeiten zur Erforschung von Auswanderungen am Beispiel der Stadt Preetz

Pauselius, Peter. Emigration. A Contribution to the Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of America

For further sources see also

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Timm. Genealogisches Schrifttum zur Schleswig-Holsteinischen Überseeauswanderung 2. Fassung 6. Feb. 2007, a lecture given 16. Nov. 2006 at Genealogische Gesellschaft Hamburg see

Publications of the Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesbibliothek Kiel

Huguenots in Schleswig-Holstein[edit | edit source]

When the Edict of Nantes was issued some 3500 Huguenots fled to Northern Germany, especially to Niedersachsen, but also to Altona, to Bützow in Meckenlenburg-Vorpommern, to Glückstadt and Lübeck in Schleswig-Holstein. Huguenots were allowed to settle with permission of the respective sovereign. The immigrants brought with them new skills and methods which could strengthen the export business of the area. However, religious intolerance which exposed itself in numerous limitations against the Huguenots and their endeavors and a failing market let these efforts come to a halt. In time the French Reformed believers were absorbed into the German-Reformed church and therefore, lost their identity. Today the records of the Huguenots of Glückstadt are in the Lutheran Church office in Glückstadt, Kirchenplatz 2 and those of the Lübeck branch in the city archive in Lübeck, Mühlentordamm.

Information about Huguenot colonies in Germany can be accessed through the Deutsche Hugenotten-Gesellschaft e.V. Hafenplatz 9a, 34385 Bad Karlshafen, telephone 05672/14 33, E-Mail

Source: Andreas Flick “Die Niederlassung der Hugenotten in Norddeutschland. Ein unbekanntes Kapitel“ Nordelbischer Genealogentag Rickling, 2003

19th Century Emigration[edit | edit source]

Colonists[edit | edit source]

Around 1750 the Danish king Friedrich V began to recruit colonists for the Schleswig and Jutland heath. The areas were sparsely populated and needed cultivation. Since such an attempt would be a great effort on part of the settlers, the government was very accommodating with free travel, erection of houses, free seed and exemption of taxes for several years. Most people responded from Württemberg, Baden, Hessen and Kurpfalz as their names reveal: Klein, Peisel, Höfferle, Krüger, Kaufmann, Vogel, Oberländer, Ratz, Frey, Reble, Huber, Herbach, Düderle, Günther, Dockweiler, Metzger, Grün, Schleth, Ertzinger, Lambrecht, Glaser, Beck, Licht, Stahl, Kellermann, Scheelhaas, Gasmann, Fahner, Feller, Kranich, Ritz, Jost, Glöckner, Knies, Lautenschläger and many more. Around 1760, the colonists appeared first in Kropp and surrounds. They were almost all Lutherans. Like other “foreigners”, the settlers kept to themselves, i.e., witnesses at baptisms were usually fellow countrymen. Others found the conditions unbearable and went home or settled elsewhere. Only later generations started to assimilate.

see: Archiv für Sippenforschung 5. Jahrgang, 1928, 298/h. Hansen, H. Die Besiedlung des schleswigschen Mittelrückens durch Oberdeutsche

The Colonization of Marshes and Heathlands in Schleswig-Holstein (1761-1765)[edit | edit source]

In the 1761 Manumission Index of the Zweibrücken Oberamt a Andreas Diehl from Erbach is listed to move to Flensburg in Jutland. This citizen from Erbach is an example of persons from the areas of the Kurpfalz, Württemberg, Hessen and Baden who were willing to follow an invitation by the Danish government to settle the vast marshes and heathlands in Jutland and Schleswig. The prospect of settling in a new area fit with popular notions as fleeing war, avoiding religious issues and escaping serfdom. The Danes promised tax exemptions for 20 years, along with various kinds of support. Colonizing a piece of property with a package of fringe benefits sounded alluring. Germans of the Southwest were more generally willing to leave the homeland. Many before this time had made precarious moves, having gone all the way to America.

The first “Pfälzer” (then a synonym for foreigners) as they became known in the North, approx. 15 families, left Frankfurt/Main in 1759. By 1760, the Danish government had 265 families to accommodate. People arrived from Leutershausen, Hohensachsen, Schreisheim, Orsenbach, Heddesheim, Grossensachsen, Oberflockenbach, Dittenbach, Litzelsachsen, Anfertal, Aschaffenburg, Kossenheim, Edigen, Burkenau, Anschbach, Ladenburg, Weinheim, Zwingenberg, Statthausen, Burghausen. Most of these towns and villages are „an der Bergstrasse“, located north of Heidelberg in the Rhine/Neckar region. Other places of origin were “Durlach, Hesse-Darmstadt, Pfalz, Speyer, the areas of Iserburg and Schwaben.

Some of the "Pfälzer" family names are: Bendler, Cords, Eggers, Reve, Harneck, Jansen, Kayser, Laurens, Mathiessen, Neller, Ohlsen, Stümmel, Thöm, Wilhof, Zarzinger.

The colonization of Jutland was organized in two areas, southwest of Viborg and west of Vejle. The plan was to build 4200 colonies. However, not even 600 were built and fewer than 500 remained. During the winter of 1764/65 the Danish government decided to abandon the marsh projects. Most “Pfälzer” with a few exceptions left to settle in Prussia or Russia, leaving the local residents to try their hand at marsh colonization.


Clausen, Otto. Chronik der Heide- und Moorkolonisation im Herzogtum Schleswig (1760-1765)

Holländer[edit | edit source]

In the 16th und 17th century Schleswig-Holstein was seeing the first religious refugees from Holland. They fled the Netherlands because of the Catholic church in Flanders, or from disputes in Evangelical doctrines. These people came with their knowledge of milk processing first to the Wilstermarsch and Eiderstedt in Schleswig-Holstein. Since 1530 Dutch names, such as Jansen, Pelgrim, Arriens, Cornelius can be traced in leases. The Dutch would rent land and cattle for a year from the wealthy landowners and produce butter, milk and cheese, which they would sell in the big citites. Eventually they moved to other regions and and their names can be traced in church books around the state. Since they were an ethnical entity, proud to be who they were, they not only are recognizable by their names, but the local pastors often identified them as “Holländer“. Their vital records, such as births, marriages and deaths have been extracted and are available in book form at the Family and History Library as follows:

Holländer in

Angeln FHL # 943.512/A K28m

Eckernförde FHL # 943.512/E2 K28 m v. 1-3

Eutin FHL # 943.59/E9 K28m v. 1-3

Lauenburg und Lübeck FHL # 943. 512/L 12 K 28 m v. 1-3

Oldenburg FHL # 943.512/01 D28m v. 1,2,3

Plön FHL # 943.512/P4 K28m v. 1-3

Rendsburg FHL # 943l51/K1 K 28m

Segeberg und Neumünster FHL # 943.512 D 28m v. 1-3

Stormarn FHL # 943.512/S7 K28m

Nachträge und Ergänzungen II zu den Holländerfamilien Schleswig-Holsteins FHL # 943.512 F2m

(for additional volumes please search in the Family History Catalog under Schleswig-Holstein: Emigration and Immigration

By the early 1800s the "Holländereien" (milk processing plants) were dissolved, the culture was no longer distinct, the Holländers intermarried, but their family names remain. If you have an ancestor by the name of Abraham, Nickels, Wilmsen, Thiessen, Volkersen etc. you may want to be aware of the above mentioned research done by Joachim Memmert.

A reference to Warner Möller of Bergenhusen in 1599 as a Holländer can be found in the records of the Arbeits-Gemeinschaft Genealogie Schleswig-Holstein e.V. through the research of Dr. Nils Hansen, Seminar für Europäische Ethnologie/Volkskunde, Universität Kiel.