Palatines to America

Yesterday, I wrote about my husband’s 4x great grandfather, Johannes Stoppelbein who became known as John Stufflebean, patriarch of many of the Stufflebeans/Stufflebeams today.

I also mentioned that John’s father was an immigrant Palatine, but didn’t say too much else about the Palatines except noting the two major time periods in which they arrived and showing a map of the Stoppelbein ancestral village.

The history of the Palatines to America before they arrived shows a life of turmoil and deprivation for most of them.

This German state borders France, Belgium and Luxembourg, but in the early 18th century, the reasonably well-to-do region had been constantly overrun by attacks made by the French army, bringing destruction to the region.

The winter of 1708-1709 had been especially harsh and left many near starvation after poor harvests.  Then a ray of light appeared when the British government allowed about 13, 000 Palatines to emigrate to England in 1709. However, once the Palatines arrived, their sheer numbers overwhelmed the English and many had no where to live but in tents.  There were English political elements to this story, but I am only giving a brief overview here.

By 1710, most of the Palatines had been transported either to Ireland or to the colonies, which was the preferred destination for most of them. Most of the Palatines were not highly educated and had worked in the vine-growing area of their homeland or as laborers and they didn’t particularly want to be settled into English cities.

There was an extremely high mortality rate among them as they traveled. In the end about 3,000 settled in Ireland, another 3,000 in New York and a slightly smaller number in the Carolinas.

In the intervening time period between 1710 and 1740, the rate of immigration of Germans to America increased and a second large group of Palatines arrived in 1740, with most settling in the mid-Atlantic region or the Carolinas. All hoped for a more prosperous life in the new land.

There are many resources on line giving detailed accounts of life in the Palatinate, England and beyond to the colonies. There are also several membership organizations open to Palatine descendants. Click the tab on my home page to Non-U.S. links and then scroll to German Palatines.

One thought on “Palatines to America”

  1. I just discovered the Palatine 1709 situation. My G6Grandfather, Marcus Dobler Oberholtzer, was a resident of St. Catherine’s Refuge Camp, London, England, Great Britain with his family on 6 May 1709.

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