German government-sponsored newspapers often carried notices of intention to emigrate. These notices include the name of the emigrant, his or her place of residency, and occupation or status. Sometimes they contain additional information on the emigrant’s family. More and more German newspapers are being digitized and placed online.
This notice from 1845 contains the names and additional information on several of the original settlers of Frankenmuth, Michigan who came from Roßtall, Bavaria. It lists Martin Haspel, master weaver, with his wife and one child; Johann List, single journeyman carpenter; Johann Leonhard Bernthal (my second great-grandfather), single journeyman weaver; Johann Bierlein, single tenant farmer’s son; Kunigunda Bernthal, single wagon-maker’s daughter; and Anna Margaretha Walther, single ropemaker’s daughter.
Another notice from 1847 includes the family of Johann Michael Stern (my third great-grandfather). It provides his residency as Brombach. It also provides the full name of his wife, including her maiden name. It states that Johann Michael was a Gütler, or smallholder/farmer, and that he was emigrating with his wife and four children.
This notice for the Georg Gugel family who immigrated to Frankenmuth in 1859 is particularly valuable as it lists the full names of all of his children who are emigrating, as well as their birthdates.
Several websites include some of these newspapers where the emigration notices can be found including Google Books, Internet Archive, and Bavarica for papers specifically from Bavaria, Germany. These government-sponsored newspapers are usually titled “Intelligenzblatt” or “Amtsblatt.” Searching for one of these titles plus a locality (such as “Mittelfranken”) will return several results. Searching with the surname of interest may or may not return results; optical character recognition (OCR) is not perfect, and in my experience, even less-so with the Fraktur font used in these publications.
A helpful and amazing finding-aid for emigration notices published in newspapers in Mittelfranken, or Central Franconia, Bavaria from 1837-1874 was produced by the City of Gunzenhausen, Germany. Staff of the Frankenmuth Historical Association translated and compiled the information they provided. The finding-aid is published on the Saginaw (Michigan) Genealogy Society, Inc.’s website. This index includes not only immigrants to Frankenmuth and the surrounding Franconian colonies but throughout North America. Included in the index are the emigrant’s name, status and/or occupation, place of residency in Bavaria, North American destination when known, possible additional information on the emigrant’s birth or family, and, importantly, a reference to the newspaper where the notice can be found.
German newspapers are a great source of information on one’s ancestor’s immigration to North America, particularly when ships’ manifests can not be located or are extant. Emigration notices may hold the key to the ancestor’s village or town of origin, as well.
1. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken: 1845 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1845), 26 February 1845, cols. 361 & 62, item no. 8; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 13 February 2016).
2. Königlich Bayerisches Intelligenzblatt für Mittelfranken (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1847), 24 February 1847, cols. 331 & 32, item no. 8; digital images, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Bavarica (http://bavarica.digitale-sammlungen.de : accessed 13 February 2016).
3. Königlich Bayerisches Kreis-Amtsblatte von Mittelfranken 1859 (Ansbach, Bayern: Brügel, 1859), no. 4, 15 January 1859, cols. 60 & 61, item no. 5; digital images, Bayerische StattsBibliothek, Bavarica (http://bavarica.digitale-sammlungen.de : accessed 17 February 2016).