Emigration from northwestern Germany
began to take on noticeable Proportion only after 1830. Before then,
emigration had been mostly seasonal and mainly to Holland, with annual
or eventual return of the migrant laborers to their home villages.
As a consequence, this list of emigrants from the former Amt Damme (administrative
office) of Oldenburg is probably nearly complete, as it pertains to overseas
The list was originally prepared by Johannes Ostendorf from official files (2) and published in an article entitled:
"Zur Geschichte der Auswanderung aus dem alten Amt Damme (Oldb.) insbesondere nach Nordamerika, in den Jahren 1830-1880," in Oldenburger Jahrbuch, vol. 46/47 (1942-1943), appearing on pages 164-279.
Herr Ostendorf's article includes a good deal of historical, statistical, and sociologieal material not included in this monograph.
The territory of the former Amt Damme
had traditionally belonged to Niederstift Muenster, a conglomeration of
estates belonging to the Archbishopric of Muenster. Thus, there was
a large pereentage of the population which remained Roman Catholle, despite
the general predominance of Lutherans in northern Germany after the
Reformation. In 1803 the Niederstift, including Damme, Vechta, Cloppenburg,
and Friesoythe, fell to Oldenburg.
After a reorganization of administrative offices in 1814,
was joined with Lohne,
villages to make the administrative district of Amt Steinfeld. In
1817, after a border change between Hannover and Oldenburg, Damme and Neuenkirchen
became known as Amt Damme.
was removed from the new Amt in 1827. In 1871 Damme and what remained
of Amt Steinfeld were again merged, but in 1879 all the area was combined
with Amt Vechta.
For the purposes of this list, however, the, "former Amt Damme" includes the Gemeinden (townships) of Damme, Holdorf, and Neuenkirchen, without considering the above-described political changes. For researchers who may be disappointed in not finding an ancestor listed herein, a search of the Vechta records might be productive.
It should be remarked that this list contains the names of a group of emigrants from Damme under the leadership of Franz Joseph Stallo who settled first in Cincinnati and more permanently in Stallotown (later Minster) in Auglaize County, Ohio. Others settled at Fort Jennings, Putnam County.
Ostendorf goes into considerable detail regarding the economic and social plight of the Heuerleute (hired people) in Oldenburg, who comprised most of the migrants. Population growth, changing agricultural methods, Perhaps falling prices for agricultural products, caused a significant decline in the avallability of jobs for these unattached people , and migration to a more promising area became the only alternative to starvation.(see german written part)
List of emigrants
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2. The following administrative
files have been consulted:
- Landratsamt Vechta:
Akte A.III.7 (Betr. Bevoelkerungspolizei. Auswanderungen, insbesondere die darueber aufzusteuenden Listen. Generalia und Specialia. Amt Damme);
A.III.7 (Betr. Auswanderungen Amt Vechta. 2. Convolut.);
A.III.8 (Betr. Austritt aus dem Staatsverband. 3. Convolut. Amt Damme);
A.III.8 (Betr. Auswanderungen 1851-1870. Altes Amt Damme. 3. Convolut. Regiminalia und Speeialia);
A.III.9 (Betr. Austritt aus dem Staatsverband. Amt Vechta. 3 Convolut. Regiminalia und Specialia);
A.III. 10 (Betr. Verhandlungen mit auswaertigen Behoerden ueber Staatsangehoerigkeit. Amt Damme Regiminalia);
A.IV.d6 (Betr. Auswanderungen. Amt Damme. 4. Convolut.);
DAI19 (Militaersachen. Akte betr. Erleuterung des gerichtlichen Verfahrens gegen ausgewanderte Militaerpflichtige. Generalia und Specialia).
- Staatsarchiv Oldenburg:
Bestand 70 (Regierung), XI2c (Betr. Wiedereinfuehrung der Legge-Anstalten im Amte Damme. Anstellung von Leggemeistern).
- Staatsarchiv Osnabrueck:
Rep. 116I, Nr.4246.
- Congretional Archives:
Church registers of Damme, Holdorf,.and Neuenkirchen parishes.
- Zentralstelle fuer Kirchenbuchauskuenfte in Vechta:
Notarized abstracts from various registers. (Various published works and newspapers were also used in the compilation.)