Missouri Germans offers several different programs for those interested in learning more about Missouri’s German Heritage. We will be happy to share with your school, organization, or event, quality programs that explain and enrich everyone’s understanding of Missouri’s rich German heritage. Presented by our Executive Director, Dorris Keeven-Franke, a professional speaker with over thirty years of experience, these programs are one hour in length, with an opportunity for questions and discussion. These programs can be tailored to your group or events special needs or interest. Please use the contact form below to discuss the possibilities and dates for bringing Missouri Germans programs to your area.
The German Heritage of Missouri
Following Gottfried Duden’s Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America published in Germany in 1829, over 40,000 Germans emigrated to Missouri in the decade of the 1830s. Three-fourths of these settled the hillsides along the Missouri River, creating today’s German Heritage Corridor. By 1850, Missouri was one of the most predominately German in the U.S., and part of America’s “German Belt” and and an anchor in what is “the German Triangle” of St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. This program includes a strong focus on the subject of immigration. German.Emigration is a personal and difficult decision and this program explains how deeply personal it is. This program may be tailored to your locality, with research that explains the German heritage in your area. [Video of O’Fallon MO program]
What makes St. Louis so German?!
There were so many ways the German emigrants in St. Louis found to amuse themselves in their adopted homeland, which the Americans found as amusing as well. Customs and traditions brought from Germany were adopted and sometimes even Americanized. There was a lot more to having fun than simply the beer and ‘brats that might surprise you! Program will shares the history of the Schutzenvereins, the Maifests and Turner festivals and make you yearn to be German! [This program can be done without visual aids.]
Tracking Your Ancestors Back to Germany
Germans have been immigrating to America for over 300 years. Each emigrant has his own personal reason for coming to the U.S., with his trunk filled with dreams for a new life. Dorris Keeven-Franke is a professional genealogist with over 30 years experience.
She works with people in both the U.S. and Germany to find what became of their families here in the U.S., and helps those wanting to track their ancestors back to Germany. She shares methods, tips and tricks she has developed to help those wanting to locate those who immigrated to Missouri in the 19th Century. With maps, and examples of original documents, she will help you learn what to look for on your research journey. She will also help understand the naturalization laws every emigrant faced, and what early groups settled in parts of Missouri. [ Includes Handouts ]
The German Abolitionists in Missouri: The Muench Family
In 1834, Friedrich Muench, co-founder of the Giessen Emigration Society arrived in Missouri with over 200 fellow Germans. These families had felt they could not tolerate the conditions in their homeland any further, and had set out for Missouri “where the
sun of freedom shines”. A prolific writer, Muench would begin writing to his fellow Germans, inspiring them on the subjects of religion, agriculture and the politics of his day. His son Berthold would enlist in the Union Army with his older brother, only to be killed at the battle of Wilson’s Creek. His daughter Pauline would grow up and later leave behind her stories of what it was like to have a husband away during the Civil War. The family were active leaders in the abolitionist movement, and further our understanding of life in Missouri during this difficult time period.
I Remember PaPa
This interpretive program brings to life a woman’s perspective of Pauline Münch who emigrated in 1834, from the small village of Nieder Gemünden, near Giessen, in Hesse Germany. At the age of six, she arrived with her little brothers Adolph and Richard, her step-mother and father, Friedrich Muench. Growing up in a small log cabin along Lake Creek in southern Warren County, she shares what life was like for her family. On her 21st birthday, she married Gordion Busch from Bielefeld Germany and moved to Franklin County. As she reads from her journal entries, she reminds us of the struggles, women and emigrants, faced in the new world, and in Missouri. [Interpretive Program in costume]
Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America
In 1834, the largest organized German emigration group to ever set out for Missouri arrived. They came from small villages and large cities, were Catholic, Protestant, Jewish
and Free-Thinkers. They were lawyers, doctors, and teachers; and blacksmiths, tanners and farmers as well. They were organized, with good character references, who had pledged their entire life savings to join others with the same dream – Freedom and America! This was the life that they had sought for long. Theirs is the story of so many German emigrants of the 19th century who came to Missouri. Learn how their lives were changed in the U.S.. With a visual array of original documents, and beautiful photographs, listeners hear the first hand accounts of the successes and the failures, and what became of these emigrants. This is a true story, of an almost forgotten part of history, that fascinates and helps us to understand what it feels like to be an “emigrant” to America. Missouri was the land “where the sun of freedom shone” and thousands of Germans built new lives, made the best citizens, and left a legacy that exists to this day. Books and DVDs..