During the 19th Century, my immigrant-ancestors came from various parts of Germany and settled in Wisconsin. Mostly it was my great-great-grandparents who came, sometimes with their parents. This immigration occured primarily between 1839 and 1855 (approximately). Germany actually was still many separate kingdoms, duchies, and so on. Times were turbulent. Some probably left Prussia for religious reasons, because of the persecution of the "Old Lutherans", who stuck to a strict Lutheran dogma when the state forced a merger of the Lutherans with the Calvinistic Reformed church. Others probably came just to find a better life, where they could own their own farms. The failed peasant revolt of 1848 may have also been encouraged emigration. Two of the immigrants were Lutherans living in largely Catholic Bavaria, so religion may have also been a factor for them, too.
My father's father's ancestors settled in Jackson township (Washington County), near the village of Kirchhain, north of Milwaukee. They came from the Prussian provinces of Pomerania and Silesia. Nearby, in the Freistadt area, which straddles Germantown (Washington Co.) and Mequon (Ozaukee Co.), my father's mother's ancestors bought farms and raised families. They all came from Pomerania.
Milwaukee became home to my mother's father's ancestors, who came from Pomerania and Bavaria. Finally, my mother's mother's ancestors came from Prussian Saxony, Brandenburg, and Posen, and settled in and around Watertown, west of Milwaukee. This included the Rev. Hermann A. Sterz, who was the only one of my great-grandparents to emigrate (the others were born in Wisconsin).
The following sections try to tell the stories of these families, and present the data I have collected.
Here are some of the conventions I have used:
My thanks to all the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., who have contributed to this ongoing project. The records and documents collected by my late Great-Uncle Hugo Wallschlaeger provided the starting point for my research on my mother's side.
My e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
PostScript files (for easy printing):
John Bartelt 2006-01-30