Mecklenburg-Schwerin Emigration and Immigration

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For a comprehensive understanding of emigration and immigration records, study the article Germany Emigration and Immigration.

Online Records for Mecklenburg-Schwerin[edit | edit source]

Emigration Records[edit | edit source]

Between 1850 and 1890, Mecklenburg with a population of only 420,000 people had some 148,000 people emigrate, the majority to the United States.  Most of these emigrants were peasants, struggling in poverty, looking for opportunities for a better life.

To lose workers through emigration would be detrimental to the Mecklenburg economy. Therefore, the Mecklenburg rulers tried to prohibit migration and emigration of their people as early as 1760. In spite of all banning, emigration flourished among serfs especially, who often fled to neighboring Prussia to escape pressing labor and often tyrannical manor lords.
In 1820 serfdom was abolished in Mecklenburg, however, the feared wave of emigration did not occur immediately, because most workers of the land sought the stability of the conventional life style. Starting in 1848 emigration became more of an option, usually an expression of dissatisfaction. The government again, tried to circumvent the trend by making available small farms. However, the news from emigrants already established held a greater lure. People opted for emigration because they saw no other way in obtaining land or a future for their children. Advertisements looking for skilled workers and promises of alluring wages, gave some people the impetus to cross the Atlantic.

Hamburg Passenger Lists[edit | edit source]

Most Mecklenburg emigrants left through the port of Hamburg. The port of Hamburg maintained records of departures starting in 1850. These departure records are called the Hamburg passenger lists. For detailed instructions, see Hamburg Passenger Lists.

Requesting Permission[edit | edit source]

Emigrants were required to request permission from the government to leave.  There are some emigration records available at the following address:

Staatsarchiv Schwerin
Graf-Schack-Allee 2
19053 Schwerin

Germany Nationwide Records Websites[edit | edit source]

  • German Emigrant Data Base,covers 1820-1939, main source: New York passenger lists beginning in 1820, supplemented by material found in Germany, ($)

U.S. and German Passenger Lists and Indexes[edit | edit source]