|Courtesy of the Wendish Heritage Society of Australia|
I also tried to undertake some general reading, both off and online about the locality in Europe and why such a large migration happened from this region.
One of the best texts on the subject is "A History of German's in Australia 1839 - 1945" by Charles Meyer. This book determines that migration happened as a result of the following four facts, although it would be probably the result of at least two of them.
- Religion - Government Policy stopped the population from being able to follow their chosen Religious Worship in their own way. There had been migration because of this issue from the 17th Century and the destinations of choice at that time was the UK, USA and Russia. The Old Lutherans from the Prussian provinces of Silesia, Bradenberg and Posen who migrated to South Australia in the 1830s. They opposed King Friedrich Wilhelm III enforced union with the Calvinist Church and disagreed with the new prayer book.
- Economics - Following the end of the Napoleonic War there was an increased workforce as soldiers returned home and their became a shortage of land and work. Gradually prices started to increase, yet the wages did not.
- Political - There was compulsory military service which is was ultimately disagreed with by the masses. In 1848 there was a failed Revolution. The masses wanted to create a United German nation with an Emperor. The masses also wanted a democracy and to have an elected Government that would be responsible for Parliament.
- Social - Changes to social standing within a community was instrumental. Changes occurred due to a selection of reasons, farmers because of the economic climate becoming labourers, sons of wealthy farmers inheriting a proportion of the estate as it was shared amongst family members. Whilst individuals could do OK, there were curious whether they could do better in another land. Many Germans migrated in the Gold Rush period.
Understanding the background of where our ancestors came from is just as important as where they travelled to. It gives a wider understanding to their lives and enables us to really understand why they made the choices they did.