Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York

Becoming German The Palatine Migration to New York Becoming German tells the intriguing story of the largest and earliest mass movement of German speaking immigrants to America The so called Palatine migration of began in the western part of the

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Becoming German tells the intriguing story of the largest and earliest mass movement of German speaking immigrants to America The so called Palatine migration of 1709 began in the western part of the Holy Roman Empire, where perhaps as many as thirty thousand people left their homes, lured by rumors that Britain s Queen Anne would give them free passage overseas and landBecoming German tells the intriguing story of the largest and earliest mass movement of German speaking immigrants to America The so called Palatine migration of 1709 began in the western part of the Holy Roman Empire, where perhaps as many as thirty thousand people left their homes, lured by rumors that Britain s Queen Anne would give them free passage overseas and land in America They journeyed down the Rhine and eventually made their way to London, where they settled in refugee camps The rumors of free passage and land proved false, but, in an attempt to clear the camps, the British government finally agreed to send about three thousand of the immigrants to New York in exchange for several years of labor After their arrival, the Palatines refused to work as indentured servants and eventually settled in autonomous German communities near the Iroquois of central New York.Becoming German tracks the Palatines travels from Germany to London to New York City and into the frontier areas of New York Philip Otterness demonstrates that the Palatines cannot be viewed as a cohesive German group until after their arrival in America indeed, they came from dozens of distinct principalities in the Holy Roman Empire It was only in refusing to assimilate to British colonial culture instead maintaining separate German speaking communities and mixing on friendly terms with Native American neighbors that the Palatines became German in America.

One thought on “Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York”

  1. More than 300 years ago, a wave of refugees descended on England after hearing that Queen Anne would fund their journey to the North American continent, where they would be given free land and could begin life anew. They were collectively called 'the Palatines', although they came from a number of small principalities in what is today southwestern Germany. In 1708, a small group of people from the same area had successfully traveled to 'Carolina' at the expense of the English crown and were gran [...]

  2. This was a fascinating account of the experiences of a group of German immigrants to America, before Germany was a country and before the United States was a country. Really eye-opening to read of the hardships they endured in the various areas of Germany where they lived, and the whole new set of hardships they encountered on the way to America and once here. Further interesting to know that they felt little kinship with each in their native lands because of the fragmented collection of local p [...]

  3. This is an absolutely fantastic book if you are interested in the Palatines. I have read previous books but Philip Otterness has done wonderful original research looking at actual sources of information from the event to provide a realistic view of the Palatine migration, why it happened and the results. Other sources too often just repeat the errors of prior authors. Great information in a readable format with wonderful footnotes, I highly recommend it.

  4. Read this book because in my genealogy research, I discovered several of my ancestors hailed from the German Palatine Migration. I wish there was more in the book about those who stayed on the Livingston Manor and what happened to them, but this was an interesting read.

  5. I wanted to read this after finding out about 5 families in my tree were part of this. It was good to read about this event all in one book. One reason I am interested in researching my family tree is trying to understand the personality and lives of my ancestors were and why they made the big jump to America. This book gives good insight on that, how they spent their days, how their neighbors treated them, etc.It also did a better job explaining where the immigrants came from (not just Palatine [...]

  6. This book clearly isn't for everyone. The only reason I searched it out and read it is because it is linked to my family history. Through reading this book, I discovered one of my many Palatine German ancestors was a listmaster of one of the early settlements. My brother, who is our official family historian, is incredibly happy that I am now more interested in this topic. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone that is also intrigued by their New York or Pennsylvania German herita [...]

  7. Though I previously new of ancestral links to this migration through London - this book filled in many details of what occurred in New York state after arrival of about 3000 German immigrants responding to the agricultural crisis in the Rhinelands.The coverage of frontier relations between the Germans and Mohawk was particularly detailed and insightful. Some German leaders sent there children to live with native families - which explains how these same families became peacemakers / negotiators i [...]

  8. Well researched, based on the details given in the conclusion and appendix, with ample endnotes in the back of the book. This book is able to get behind the motivations of the people who left the German Southwest and eventually made it to New York, although discussing motivations runs the risk of becoming speculation. I thought this book was well-written, and a great addition to my library.

  9. A fascinating story, quite well-written, about the ornery Germans (not truly all Palatines) who arrived in America in 1710. (Four of them were my ancestors--can't wait to explore that further.)

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