Faculty in the News In the News

April 23, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Sidney Daily News on Anderson | ’20 Percent of U.S. Population Can Trace Ancestry to Germany’

Dr. Timothy Anderson

Dr. Timothy Anderson

The Sidney Daily News reported on a speech by Dr. Timothy Anderson, Associate Professor of Geography, in a story about New Knoxville’s past, subtitled “German migration subject of society dinner.”

NEW KNOXVILLE — German immigrants who settled in west central Ohio during the early 19th century were part of a mass immigration from Europe, driven by economic and political forces, according to a speaker, Thursday, at the local historical society.

Timothy Anderson, a geography professor at Ohio University, said the saga of the Auglaize County settlers “gives context to the phenomenon of 7 million immigrants from Germany,” beginning in 1800 and lasting till 1921. He told the annual meeting of the New Knoxville Historical Society that “20 percent of the U.S. population can trace its ancestry to Germany.”

Anderson spent a year in Germany while working on his doctoral dissertation at Texas A&M University. And since teaching at Ohio U., he discovered striking similarities between immigration patterns in Ohio and those in his study focused on Westphalia, Missouri.

Residents of Germany faced some of the same forces that Anderson called “push factors” that also drove millions if Irish and English people to leave their homelands for the United States. Those factors included legal and economic barriers to own land while cottage industries were being taken over by the industrial revolution. Also, as Ireland was suffering from the potato famine, there were poor harvests on the European mainland, sparking revolutions against governments that didn’t provide relief.

“Pull factors” luring Europeans to America, Anderson explained, included open access to land ownership — including government give-aways. He quipped, “Advertisements said, ‘Just show up and we’ll give you land.’”

But he said the strongest draw was the economic success or friends and families already in the States. Anderson said, “Rural ‘ethnic islands’ drew settlers to the Upper Midwest and Great Plains.” Popular locations were in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas.

Read the rest of the article in the Sidney Daily News.

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