Missouri’s German Genealogy can be difficult, with brick walls and a large pond to jump. Many of the earliest Germans that arrived in the 1830s were part of the large wave of “Emigration Societies and Groups” that banded together following Gottfried Duden’s
book. Those Germans then in turn wrote letters home to their “friends and family” urging them to join them where “the sun of Freedom” shone. By the 1850s, the failed revolutions had brought a new young wave of radical and intellectuals that decided that America would be their new home. During the Civil War, German’s were strong allies of Lincoln and supported his efforts, and had a huge impact on the war’s outcome. Following the Civil War, the huge wave of German emigration grew even larger, making every corner of our State “German” in every way. The 1880s brought the largest wave of immigrants of all. By 1900, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in our nation, and one filled with the most foreign born residents, and the largest amount of those were German.
Missouri is made up of those stories of those who came and made it home. They brought with them their customs and traditions, that make our heritage so rich. From the “church dinners” to the “Liederkranz” these cultural enrichment activities fill our lives yet today, helping us to know and understand this heritage. The stories of their lives help us to understand, and often help us to know where to look when doing our family history research. With so many Missourians being German, there are resources everywhere! Sometimes a class will help you start or refresh those Genealogy skills. Sometimes a tour will help you visit your family’s heritage or experience an event. Genealogy is more than just a list of names and dates, it helps us to grow and further understand our family’s history and why we are whom we are today.