Profiling on Census – German-Born



Having a nation-wide census done every ten years dates back to 1790 with the first one. At first, it was just numbers in a household (males-females and by age ranges). The only name was the first considered ‘head of the household’.

After the American Civil War, the Census Bureau had a particular interest in the presence of an ever-increasing segment of the population in the country then: Germans!

A few German immigrants made it over for the Jamestown colony, and the largest and earliest German settlers went to Pennsylvania. The number of Germans really picked up in the 19th century, exceeding any other group. The map shows the raw number of German-born people in each state, according to the 9th Census in done in 1870.

Then a detailed map was completed in 1872 based on the census profiling the areas with the greatest German-born residents. The key to the right has 1-3 per sq mile, the 3-6, 6-15 and the darker shade marks over 15 German-born residents per square mile. Any area that ere ‘clear’ marked ‘under 1 per sq mile’.

You can see the darker shade in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, along Lake Erie, lower Ohio, lower Indiana, Illinois, the western shore of Lake Michigan, and along the Missouri River in the mid-west.

The other map showing the numbers from the 1870 census of German-born shows a total of 1,690,146 all across America considered German-born. Examining each state or territory, it is interesting to see the numbers.

Some of those born in Germany who came to America and became famous include: Thomas Nast born 1840, was a caricaturist and cartoonist’; Levi Strauss born 1829 developed the working man’s blue jeans; and Hartmut Esslinger born in 1944 developed the Apple IIc home computer.

Of course, there were times in American history such as WW One and Two when the USA was fighting against the nation of Germany, many German names and products were changed due to anti-German sentiment. This type of sentiment was in all the allied nations fighting against Germany. Even German named towns and streets had they named changed. The strangest was changing sauerkraut to ‘liberty cabbage’. German measles was named ‘liberty measles’ and hamburgers were ‘liberty sandwiches’.

Photos: Maps 1872 and 1870 of German-born census results.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

German Immigrants

Ancestral German Towns

Germany – Using FamilySearch

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