23 July 2015

Resource: Old Lutheran Migration

The latest issue of American Ancestors has a great surprise!  American Ancestors is a publication of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and I'm used to finding info about my maternal grandfather's Colonial New England ancestry in almost every issue.  I was unhappy about 2 years ago when the society decided to open their focus to be much more general: there'd be less content for me but I could understand their need to appeal to more people and make more money to support the society...so...

I never expected to find an article directly relevant to my Hegwer line!  While Carl Benjamin Hegwer and Maria Rosina (Ilgner) Hegwer are not specifically mentioned, "George Dopf and the Old Lutheran Migration of 1839" is a very good article about the nature of their immigration in 1839.  It's very hard (as in near impossible?) to find scholarly things in English about the early 1800s in Silesia, so this article is a real treat.  The ship the Hegwer's were on left Hamburg 1 Jul 1839 and is the one described in this article, arriving NY on 24 Aug 1839. 

Wherever the article refers to the Silesia group, that's us!  There is no doubt that Carl Benjamin Hegwer knew Krause and Grabau, and probably Rohr, too.  There was quite a bit of documented 'drama' among the 3 ministers, the Buffalo congregation, and the Wisconsin groups that has been left out of this article.  You can't fit everything in one article!

I had no idea that any of the travel documents needed by the Old Lutherans to leave Prussia still existed.  I can't wait to follow author McGrath's reference list and see if I can find some new info specific to the Hegwer's or Ilgner's.  Records from the part of Silesia now in Poland are harder to find than those now in Germany, but I'll still try... and maybe the Hegwer/Ilgner party had already started to move and were interrogated along the way, leaving records in what is now Germany???

McGrath, Lawrence R. "George Dopf and the Old Lutheran Migration of 1839." American AncestorsVol. 16 (2), Spring 2015, pages 37-40 & 59.

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