Baden Emigration and Immigration

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Approximately half of all people in Baden left illegally without permission granted by the administrators. Most emigrants left via the French port Le Havre where pass controls and regulations were not as stringent as they were at the German and Dutch ports. Many emigration documents before 1850 have been destroyed. Most emigration materials in the general archive are from 1850-1880 with more emigrants from the north than the south of Baden. However, the records of the Bezirksämter (administrations, abbreviated BA) of southern Baden (Brühl to the Bodensee) have not yet been thoroughly evaluated.

Emigration records contain personal reasons for emigration or economic and social circumstances. In the Freiburg Archive are housed the so called Standesbücher which were created between 1810 and 1870 by priests. They also had to supply duplicates of these records and give them to the lower courts. If the birth information of the ancestor is known, he could be traced in these books as well as his parents, brothers and sisters and his grandparents.

In the archive other information regarding emigrants can be retrieved, especially if the birth place is known. 400 village histories list among other data persons who have emigrated. Some authors have extracted data between the 18th and 20th century. The information came from citizenship lists, land records, family books, taxlists and so on. In some local archives are lists of names of emigrants which were created by the mayor's office and had to be forwarded to the higher authorities for approval. Another source to retrieve names of emigrants are village genealogies. These books usually contain information beginning with the end of the Thirty Years War to the year 1900.

Note: Information regarding departure of emigrants, on what vessel under what captain from what port and the destination is not a part of German emigration records.

Werner Hacker has thoroughly documented the emigration from Baden by regions. His books are available through the Family History Library at author search: Hacker, Werner

Emigration from Konstanz A-Z (1633-1699) name index A-Z (1837) emigration documents A-W (1837-1951) are available through the Family History Library network (International Film 1204485)

Emigration of prisoners from Baden

     Poverty was in the mind of administrator the cause for social disgrace. Government officials spent a lot of money to ship their poor to America. Such measures were looked upon as more economical. But not only did they sent the poor, prisoners were sent as well. In 1850 fifty people were selected and financed to find a new home in America. 

     Friedrich R. Wollmershäuser has listed the unwanted and published their names, their place of residence/origin and when they were shipped out according to gender, male and females.
In 1850/51/52 people were released from Pforzheim police custody. In 1853/54 people came from 4 districts of Baden. There are no further documents for the following years, however, prisoners were still released for emigration to America. In 1860/62/64 people were released from Bruchsal prison and the workhouse in Freiburg.

     The lists were published in Archiv für Familiengeschichtsforschung, 3. Jahrgang, Heft 1 (1999). The periodical can be accessed through FamilySearch, Family History Library, call number 943 B2as.

Palatinate Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1793

The ancient “Kurpfalz” territory is not the same as the present-day “Pfalz” in German or “Palatinate” in English. The Kurpfalz territory included parts of the state of Baden on the east side of the Rhine River and parts of the present-day Palatinate, namely the former Oberämter (administrations) of Alzey, Neustadt, Lautern (Kaiserslautern), and Germersheim on the west side of the Rhine River. The state of Kurpfalz ended in 1801 under Napoleon of France. The Palatinate then became part of France and was named “Departement Mont Tonnere. In 1815, this territory fell to the Kingdom of Bavaria, and since World War II is known as “Rheinbayern” or “Bayrische Pfalz”.
The first Swiss-German Anabaptists or Mennonites immigrated to the Kurpfalz in 1664. After the 30 Years’ War the area was hugely depopulated and the religious refugees from Switzerland were encouraged to settle under certain conditions. They had to observe religious restrictions, pay protection fees and other obligations. In order to make sure everything went according to law, the Mennonites needed to register with the authorities at irregular intervals. Hence, censuses were taken in 1664, 1685, 1706, 1717, 1724, 1738, 1743, 1753, 1759, 1768, 1773, 1790, and 1793.

Not every subsequent sovereign upheld the protective rights for the people of a different creed and limited their growth so that especially young people were forced to leave. Many simply moved to a neighboring village if it belonged to a different sovereign, but most saw no other alternative than to pack up, travel down the Rhine and eventually make the voyage across the Atlantic to America.
The census lists were forwarded to the respective authorities (Oberämter). The genealogists Hermann and Gertrud Guth transcribed these lists and discovered that the Kurpfalz officials were not familiar with the Swiss-German names. Names were frequently spelled the way they thought they should be spelled causing some unusual deformities. Several surnames point to the origin of the person. Families had Lower German or Dutch origin. After 1671 family surnames from the Cantons of Aargau and Zurich appear in the former “Upper Palatinate” (the Kraichgau area southeast of Heidelberg). Bernese names were predominant in the Lower Palatinate (the area west of the Rhine River near the cities of Worms and Alzey.
In 1712 names of Amish Mennonites from the Canton Berne appeared primarily in the southern part of the Palatinate. These families arrived after they were expelled from the city of St. Marie-aux-Mines (Markirch) in Alsace where they had first settled after leaving their Swiss homeland.

The list of family and village names are available in book or fiche format call number 943 X2g or 6001862 pt. 1-2 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City Utah, International Floor.


Guth, Hermann and Gertrud Mennonite Census Lists 1664-1793. Mennonite Family History, Elverson PA, 1987.

In connection with the above mentioned article of Palatine immigration by Swiss settlers see also this website. The authors want to emphasize their research on the area left and right of the Neckar between the cities of Hassmersheim and Eberbach. They already produced data for the following places: Aglasterhausen, Asbach, Auerbach, Bargen, Dallau, Daudenzell, Hassmersheim, Heinsheim, Hochhausen, Hüffenhardt, Kälbertshausen, Michelbach, Mittelschefflenz, Mosbach, Neckarzimmern, Mülben, Neckarburken, Neckarelz, Neckarmühlbach, Oberschefflenz, Obrigheim, Rappenau, Rittersbach, Schwarzach, Strümpfelbrunn, Treschklingen, Unterschefflenz, and Wimpfen.

With this data a researcher can determine from where his Swiss families originated.The data is found under "Projekte" and then "Schweizer Einwanderer im badischen Neckartal-Odenwald".

Emigrants from Fellbach

It is estimated that about 2,000 persons emigrated from the village of Fellbach between 1735 and 1930. This is the estimation by Otto Conrad who created the history of emigration from Fellbach to America. 1,421 names he extracted from the local newspaper Fellbacher Tagblatt, however, he assumes that the real number of emigrants is much higher.

“The Fellbach records are so fragmentary for the 18th century, it is not possible to identify immigrants coming to America during that time period”, writes Clifford Neal Smith in a summary of the book by Otto Conrad. Smith further says “that in 1803-1805 one can link a number of Fellbacher emigrants with persons landing at Philadelphia, as reported in volume 2 Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Strassburger and Hinke. It is likely, that there were many Fellbacher immigrants before 1803, one strong clue being that in the period 1803-1830 several apparently unaccompanied women journeying to America, no doubt to join relatives settled in the country before 1803. If the names of such settlers had been available in the Fellbach records, many of them would be identifiable in Strassburg’s and Hinke’s works.”

Clifford Smith in his volume Emigrants from Fellbach Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, 1735-1930. (McNeal, AZ 1874) lists head of families with apparent relatives, destinations and years of emigration. His data covers mainly the 1800s. The book is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, call number US/CAN 973 W2smn n. 14

Another volume by Smith is Emigrants from the West-German Fuerstenberg Territories (Baden and the Plalatinate) to America and Central Europe 1712, 1737, 1787. Mr. Smith bases his research on an article published by Hermann Baier in 1937 and states that "Hermann Baier examined the records of emigration from the Fuerstenberg territories in southwestern Germany. He chose three years only: 1712, the year in which the great wave of Swabian emigration to Hungary began; 1737, the year in which there was a similar exodus of settlers to the Saderlach (Banat); and 1787, a typical year in which emigration was general and to many destinations. In each of the threee years migration to the New World also occurred. Considering the large number of persons listed for the three years reported upon herein, it seems clear that analysis of Fuerstenberg records for other years of the 18th century would yield a list of thousands of additional emigrants.

For the researcher of German-American lineage, settlement in Hungary and the Banat may seem of slight interest until reminded that the descendants of these central European German settlers have immigrated to the United States and Canada under the name Volksdeutsche in the 1950s and more recently. Perhaps even less relevant may seem the numerous entries herein pertaining to Fuerstenberg subjects whose destinations are not recorded in the extant manuscripts. But they, too, have a potential value to the German-American lineage researcher: several, for example, have been tentatively identified in Strassburger's and Hinke's lists of immigrants arriving in Philadelphia and many others--probably migrating only within Germany itself--will eventually be discovered to have been the parents and ancestors of Germans who did immigrate to the New Wworld, for it is an interesting fact that most migrants are descendants of previous migrants--stones once detached from the mother lode tend to keep on rolling, finding with difficulty permanent resting places; so likewise it is with people".

The book is part of the US/CAN collection of the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, call number 973 W2smn no. 9


  • Database of emigrants leaving Southwest Germany primarily during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Auswanderung aus Südwestdeutschland. Database. Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg (

  • Emigrant Database as entered by researchers. The entries are queries.

Baden's Black Forest (Schwarzwald) area - Blackforest Emigrant Database site

  • Emigration from Baden's Black Forest (Schwarzwald)

Auswanderung aus dem Bereich des östlichen Rands des mittleren Schwarzwaldes

  • To United States and Canada

Auswanderung nach Nordamerika (Emigration to North America)