Missouri has a strong German heritage; many have ancestors that arrived in the 1800s and often find “crossing the pond” to find those relatives very difficult. This can be difficult for those still in the old country who wish to reach out and meet their relatives here as well. The traveling International Exhibit Utopia, began when a filmmaker, historian, photographer and writer reached out to find out what had become of the Giessen Emigration Society that immigrated in 1834. This led to a traveling International Exhibition, book and documentary called Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America the opened in Germany in 2013, and arrived in the U.S. in Washington DC in 2014. Then it was seen by thousands at the Missouri Historical Society Museum, where Missourians could share in the experience. The book is available for purchase there still.
Part of the goal of the Giessen Emigration Society was to establish a place, where more of their families could follow and join them and create a cultural center in Missouri where those of German heritage would feel comfortable. Many years ago, I discovered that in St. Charles County, in what is called St. Paul and is also known as Dog Prairie, there were an entire group of families that had arrived on the Ship Olbers in June of 1834, in New Orleans, from the village of Belecke in Germany. These families had succeeded in bringing over many more of their relatives that had come on the Ship Moscow. These are the families of Molitor, Arens, Stahlschmidt, Cruise, Freymuth, and more.
Recently, I have been contacted by a member of these families, in Germany, who is researching his family and would like to reach out to others also from Belecke. He writes “Some years ago I came across by chance the quantities of Belecker in St. Charles (findagrave). At the moment I am in the process of putting it all together. I also found out that a number of other relatives of mine emigrated with the “Giesseners” in the years after (Molitor, Arens, Schmidt). Today this is almost completely unknown in Belecke, despite the fact that at that time about 5-10% of the Belecke population emigrated. I have the entry list of Olbers, Moscow, Charles Henry, from this I could already identify some persons and families.”
If you are one of these families, please email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to connect you.