Academic journal article German Quarterly

Württemberger in Nordamerika: Migration Von der Schwäbischen Alb Im 19. Jahrhundert

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Württemberger in Nordamerika: Migration Von der Schwäbischen Alb Im 19. Jahrhundert

Article excerpt

Krebber, Jochen. Württemberger in Nordamerika: Migration von der Schwäbischen Alb im 19. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: Steiner, 2014. 317 pp. i52.00 (hardcover).

In expressing his thanks to the many who guided and assisted him in the research which ultimately led to the publication of the current volume, Jochen Krebber acknowledges with gratitudetheadviceandgoodcounseloftwoDoktorväter.Indeed,heunderscoresthefactthat it is unusual to have two mentors. In this case, however, it was largely an accident of fate brought about by the number of years required to bring the project to fruition. The end result not only justifies the years spent in the making but also reflects the value of painstaking research, which illuminates its subject from a variety of different points of view.

Krebber's title promises a study of the migration of inhabitants of the Swabian Jura to NorthAmericainthenineteenthcentury.Onthesurface,suchaclaimseemsoverlyambitious, yet it is not altogether inaccurate. Krebber characterizes the undertaking as multifaceted and transnational-"divergent, transnational, und multilokal" (9). He examines in depth the migrations of approximately six thousand individuals from forty-four communal jurisdictions in southwest Württemberg to the United States and Canada in the period from 1830 to 1880. Through a careful review of public and church records in Württemberg and census and other public records in North America, Krebber was able to match almost two-thirds of those who left Germany with their points of original settlement in America and even subsequent migration and resettlement, often over several decades. As Krebber himself notes, his success in matchingthoseleavingGermanywiththeirrespectiveresidencesinNorthAmericaisunprecedented in migration studies to date. Because his data are both rich and numerous, the points of departure restricted geographically, and the intermediate and final stops in America so varied,Krebberisabletodiscernpatternsintheprocessofassimilationandacculturationacrossan unusually wide range of socio-economic, religious, and geographical factors.

The table of contents outlines (literally) the material as it is divided into eight separate sections, each with several subsections and even sub-subsections. The first section lays out the scope and methodology of the study; the final section, the only one without subdivisions, lays out Krebber's conclusions in slightly more than fifteen pages. …

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