Tag Archives: German immigration to the U.S

The Phasing-Out of 18th-Century Patterns of German Migration to the United States after 1817

The years 1816 to 1819, at the beginning of the 19th century, saw the last wave of immigration into the United States that basically followed patterns of travel, finance, and trade established in the 1700s. Migrants from the German-speaking areas of Central Europe, in particular, reached British North America and later the United States under arrangements allowing them to book a passage on credit which they were to pay off by entering into a term of service for room and board which generally lasted from three to seven years. Their debt was redeemed this way, and such migrants were known as redemptioners. The contract agreement consisted of an original and a copy. When separating the two, the upper margins became indented—hence the term indentured servant. The reasons for the disappearance of this major 18th-century migration pattern, caused, above all, by the collapse of the redemptioner system, will be the focus of this article.

Continue reading