Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Catchy titles and migration history

I have been reading a family history with the catchy title of The Gottlieb Raddatz & extended Kühn & Sellin Families & Descendants of Queensland: including the associated Heeschen, Raaen & Schubert Families: 125th Anniversary of the arrival aboard the Reichstag of the Raddatz, Kühn & Sellin Families to Queensland on 1 August 1872. Fortunately its contents are more engaging than the title. I should not be too critical as the title contains much vital information, but I will need to avoid such descriptiveness in my own.

Unlike many family histories, which dive directly into the mass of genealogical information, the author (Jeffrey E. Hopkins) has made an effort to give a background to the family story. In this case, he outlines some of the conditions in Pomerania, which gave impetus to migrations of entire families, discusses the trip to Queensland and some of the conditions on arrival.

Three points were of particular interest to me. Hopkins indicates that German migrants were actively recruited by Queensland who wanted the “small farmer and artisan” and that agents “were sent there to actively recruit immigrants in the areas most vulnerable to suggestions of a better life in a new land.” (citing a 1991 article by L. Moreland on motivations for German migration).

One recruitment tool that these agents had was the land order system. This meant that if you could pay for your passage you were entitled to land of an equal value on arrival in the colony. Poorer migrants could also access this system with free passage and land on arrival. He doesn’t discuss the conditions of this system. I am assuming that free passage had to be paid for in some way. Were the poorer migrants indentured? Did they get worse land or less choice? Investigation of this land grant system is one of the earliest things I want to research.

A final point of interest was that direct migration from Hamburg ended in 1879. Large-scale migration had begun in 1862 and migration continued after 1879 but never to such an extent.

The Jaeckels will have to leave Hamburg sometime between 1862 and 1879. Bearing in mind that the Prussians took over Marburg in 1866, a departure date of 1866/1867 seems to be a good starting point.