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Category: Immigration

Happy Birthday Gottfried Duden

We are excited to make these announcements…

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Immigrants and Refugees

America is a melting pot for so many, as nearly all of our families were immigrants once. Once our own ancestors came here with their own dreams pinned with hope for a better future.

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“I am in a free country”

Emigrants choose to make America their home. Not having the good fortune to have been born here, they do not take any of the wonderful liberties of freedom and independence for granted. They suffered many a hardship to call America home, a country where almost all us are immigrants. Happy 240th Birthday America! May you have many many more.

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Gottfried Duden

During the 1830s, over 120,000 Germans emigrated to the United States. Over one-third of those emigrants chose the new State of Missouri to settle in, because of a small German book published in 1829, by Gottfried Duden. They soon settled along the hillsides of the Missouri River and counties of Saint Charles, Warren, Franklin and Gasconade. Soon Missouri’s ethnic composition would become predominately German, an important factor during the Civil War, considering that Missouri had entered the Union as a slave state. Missouri’s German heritage began with these early immigrants.

The reason? A small volume simply titled “A Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America”. Duden wrote “I was of the opinion that the emigrants of Europe would have to direct themselves to those regions where the mass of natives is also seeking new homesteads. I also held the view that the Europeans had best take these natives as their models in the establishment of their new settlements.” In Germany Duden’s Report would become a best seller, and soon there would be several additional editions. It was what Germans needed, and definitely the right words at the right time. Shared in the wine gardens, discussed after church, pondered at family gatherings, and read to fellow passengers headed for Baltimore and New Orleans, the book inspired thousands.

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Where Missouri’s German settlement began

The beginning of German emigration to Missouri is the small village of Dutzow and located about 50 miles west of St. Louis along the Missouri River. In 1829, a German attorney named Gottfried Duden published a book about Missouri from 1824 until 1827, titled “A Report on A Journey to the Western States of North America.” This book caused many German immigrants to consider Missouri a land of opportunity. In the decade that followed, 120,000 Germans would immigrate to the United States, with one-third of them settling in Missouri due to Duden’s book.

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Are you a descendant?

Descendants of the members of the Giessen Emigration Society came together in an event held on December 13 at the Missouri History Museum’s Library and Research Center, and the Missouri History Museum’s exhibit Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America.

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Muench family loves Utopia!

The exhibition will open soon at the Missouri History Museum on Saturday, November 22nd. To all of the Muench family, we are so glad you enjoyed Utopia! For more information on the Missouri History Museum visit MOHISTORY.ORG and learn all about all of their upcoming events!

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