Palatine History Resources

Stufflebean, or Stoppelbein in its original form, is a German name straight from the Rheinland-Pfalz. Mainz is the modern day capital of this German state, which borders Luxembourg and Belgium.

The first wave of Palatine German settlers arrived in the colonies in 1709. The short version of why they left is that they lived in a region that suffered continual attacks by the French in the early 18th century; a severe winter and then famine compounded their already precarious lives and many made the decision to leave.

However, the governmental edict forbidding citizens to leave meant taking their lives in the hands to escape, but escape they did. Where they went and where they ended up is necessary information for a researcher tracing their own family’s Palatine origins.

Henry Z. (Hank) Jones is the pre-eminent scholar and genealogist who has traced the origins and pieced these families back together. His published volumes document many of the families who passed through England and/or Ireland and then made their way to New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

My goal today is not to detail the histories of individual families, but to provided resources to understand (1) what drove the Palatines to leave Germany and (2) the histories of the Palatine settlers in England, Ireland and the United States.

Just for the record, in the Stufflebean family history, there was a Peter Stoppelbein in the 1709 group of Palatines to America. He was an uncle of the 1740 family and so not my husband’s direct ancestor. Dave’s family arrived in the later group.

First, where did the Palatines go as they escaped from their homeland? They sailed down the Rhine River to Rotterdam and made their way to England. Although the English had encouraged the “Poor Palatines,” as they were called, to settled in England, so many arrived in 1709 and 1710 that they overwhelmed local resources.  The English government came up with a new plan to send the Germans on to settlements in Ireland and the colonies.

The Irish Palatines have been documented and descendants of some of these people still live in Counties Wexford and Limerick. Around the same time, families were also encouraged to continue on to New York and North Carolina.

What records were produced during these waves of movement? More importantly, how does a family historian understand what is and is not to be found in those records? He or she needs to see the “big picture.”

Here are some links to terrific articles to better understand the Palatines’ life situation and 18th century German immigration records:

7 Genealogical Lessons for Researching Your Palatine Ancestors by Hank Jones on Ancestry’s Blog

The Palatines, PDF file from the United Empire Loyalists Association

Palatine History by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on Olive Tree Genealogy

A Brief History of the Irish Palatines on the Irish Palatine Association website

A Short History of the Irish Palatines by Tom Upshaw

Early Eighteenth Century Palatine Emigration: A British Government Redemptioner Project to Manufacture Naval Stores by Walter Knittle

Palatine Immigration to America by Daniel Rupp

Palatine Immigration into England on Exodus, Movement of the People

The Poor Palatines: An 18th Century Refugee Crisis on the British Library European Studies Blog

Book Review –  Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to America  AND

The 1709 Palatine Migration and the Formation of German Immigrant Identity in London and New York, both by Philip Otterness

The Palatine Migration – 1723 on Berks History Center

The Valley’s Palatine Pioneers by Don Silvius

The Palatine Families Project on

The Great Migration 1717-1754: The Ocean Crossing and Arrival in Philadelphia, book excerpt from Pennsylvania Germans,  A Persistent Minority by William T. Parsons

Although Marianne Wokeck isn’t addressing just the Palatines, her (academic) explanation of information to be found (or missing) in ships’ passenger manifests is well worth the read:
The Flow and Composition of German Immigration to Philadelphia, 1727-1775 by Marianne Wokeck

Looking for a Palatine hereditary society? If you have Palatine ancestors, you might want to visit the Palatines to America National German Genealogy Society or the Irish Palatine Association websites.

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