XL brought the German communities in Texas to my attention by sending me links to German settlements there, as New Braunfels (wiki), Gruene, and Friedrichsburg. Neu-Braunfels, Fredericksburg, and Castell (wiki) result from the work of the German Adelsverein, an organization that brought some hundred families from Germany, seemingly mostly from the Rhineland area, into the “new germany”. The name Castell is a bit astonishing in this connection, because it is a Franconian noble family, their place of origin is visible from the next hill on a clear day.
The Germans in Texas kept their own language and speak it still today, Texas German (Ger., Eng.), the subject of the Texas German Dialect Project (TGDP) that collects and preserves samples of the still spoken language. The German-Texan Heritage Society (link) focuses more on actual social events and offers courses for current spoken High-German, Hochdeutsch. And help with genealogical research – I wonder whether I should drop them an email, after all I would like to do some genealogical research again.
I did not realize that there is a considerable German community in Texas that dates back before 1848. I always thought the German emigrants would have went in more northern states like Illinois f.e. A new museum in Bremerhaven deals with the German emigration in general but especially with the role of the large harbours, the organization of emigration, and they offer a unique source, the passenger lists that were kept here on the German site (German pdf). When I last had to use it some years ago they were still digitalising – and of course exactly the year my customer was interested in was still missing, I think it’s worth a look how they progressed.
The University of Oldenburg had a research institute, but I have no idea how things are going there actually.
Some years ago (2004) a Landesausstellung covered especially the Bavarian emigration to the US, they made a really helpful catalogue. Such a useful tool is missing for the German emigration to Southern America, because they also went to Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. There exist today a Argentinisches Tageblatt, and a German-Chilenian weekly, Condor. For reasons unknown to me, I remember Blumenau (Ger., Eng.) in Brazil, but I forgot the context. Strangely enough another website I am connected to is regularly visited from Blumenau, Brazil.
My family name is not too common, but I found it in Northern American census records of the 1920s, and one traveled over: The twenty-five year old stonemason Valentin mago arrived aboard the “Suevia” on the second of October 1889 in America. I hope it went well for him.