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Status: Emigration from Southwest-Germany > History of the Project > The Contribution from Baden (Wolfgang Müller)

The Contribution from Baden (Wolfgang Müller)

The "Müller" Database is the Karlsruhe Part of the Database

The Baden emigration database consists of more than 200 000 entries about emigrants from the former dukedom of Baden, which Wolfgang Müller has captured during the last ten years.
The collection of sources on emigrants at the Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe started even before World War II with emigration records of the 19th century. To this end records of the Bezirksämter and official newspapers (Anzeigeblätter) were consulted and the information were put on file cards. Additional file cards were recorded by temporary workers between 1950 and 1970.

With the help of these file cards or the existing lists, however, a complete and satisfying result in searching emigrants from Baden can not be guaranteed for various reasons:

  • Half of all the emigrants left the country illegally. Most of them travelled via Le Havre, where passport controls and crossing regulations were not as strict as in German and Dutch harbours.
  • Many emigration documents, especially concerning emigration before 1850, have not come down to us. In times the historical significance of these documents has not been appreciated and many documents have been destroyed.
  • Most of the documents in the Generallandesarchiv date from the time between 1850 to 1880, some are from earlier periods and some documents comprise the beginning of the 20th century.
  • More emigrants from Nordbaden than from Südbaden are captured in this database. This has historical reasons as well as administrative ones. On the one hand it is due to the fact that at that time Nordbaden was more densely populated and had more economic problems than the South. On the other hand the records of the Bezirksämter in Südbaden (the region between Bühl and Lake Constance) have not been consulted intensively so far. Today these records are kept in the State Archives of Freiburg.

These are the reasons why - for the moment - many emigrants cannot be found in the database.

It turns out to be a great advantage of the emigration research of Baden that - apart from the Bezirksamtsakten - also the Standesbücher between 1810 and 1870 (January 31) are kept in the Archives in Karlsruhe and Freiburg. The parish priests kept these Standesbücher as a copy of the church registers, and every year they were handed over the Amtsgericht (district court). With the help of these books any emigrant can be identified if his or her date of birth is known. Also, the names of the parents and sisters and brothers can be traced quickly.

Many American genealogists demand information about the harbour, the name of the ship with which their ancestors sailed to America, the name of the captain or the place of arrival. Mostly this question cannot be answered as you do not find this information in the records. Only in cases where a "chain emigration" took place are the exact destinations and sometimes even the sea route mentioned. Chain emigration means that people willing to emigrate were invited by family or friends to come to America, because it was easier there to earn a living.

If the ancestor's origin or place of birth is known, then the Generallandesarchiv can also help with the following information:

  • In the library of the Generallandesarchiv there are about 400 Ortschroniken (chronicle of a certain village), in which sometimes the names of the emigrants can be found. Some writers have registered the emigrants from the 18th century to the 20th. Citizen registers (Bürgerbücher), land registers (Grundbücher), family records (Familienbücher), tax registers (Steuerlisten) etc. from the community archives were the writers' sources. Sometimes you can also find lists of emigrants, which from the mayor's office had to be sent to superior authorities.
  • Moreover, there are about 200 Ortssippenbücher, which contain entries about families copied from the church registers. These entries cover the time after 1648 (the end of the Thirty Years War) until 1900. This year is mostly chosen for data protection reasons. With the introduction of the Registry Office in February 1870 a continuous family research is not possible any longer. Yet some of the Ortssippenbücher have entries about families after 1870 up to 1880.
  • Werner Hacker has made 12 publications about emigration from Baden before 1800. In these publications he gives a detailed and complete description of emigration in the different regions of Baden.

By request we can tell you addresses of professional or private genealogists who are able to do detailed inquiries for a fee.

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