Pommern Immigration and Emigration
(Einwanderung und Auswanderung)
In the 1100s, the Slavic princes invited Germans into Pomerania to improve farming skills and tools and introduce some trades. This migration involved both nobles and peasants. The Catholic church was also given large tracts of land. The church brought in more German peasants and skilled workers from the Netherlands to work the church's land. During this period, the Hanseatic League also grew and promoted trade in the area. Around 1309, the Teutonic Knights moved into Lauenburg, Bütow, and Brandenburg's Neumark (Schivelbein and Dramburg). Most of Pomerania was settled during the 1200-1300s. Eventually, the Germans migrants intermarried with the native Slavs, and the Slavic language was replaced with German.
The earliest German settlers migrated to Rügen and came from Holstein, Westphalia and Lower Saxony. The next group came from the Harz Mountains, diocese of Magdeburg, and Brandenburg. Also, in the 1300s, and later in 1500-1700s, some families came to Pomerania from Scotland. Some Huguenots from France were also invited to Pomerania in the 1700-1800s. After the Swedish occupation in 1720, settlers from northern Germany also came into the area. Some Swedes remained in Vorpommern. In the 1700s Lutherans from Salzburg, Austria were invited to settle in Pomerania. There were also relocations from Poland, Bohemia, Switzerland, and Alsace. Around 1747, immigrants came from southwest Germany, mainly the Palatinate, but also from Saxony, Württemberg, Baden, Hesse-Darmstadt, Hesse-Nassau, and Mecklenburg. By 1770, one out of six residents in Pomerania was an immigrant.
During the Swedish occupation years (1648-1815), some Pomeranians from Vorpommern moved into Hinterpommern or regions even further east like East Prussia or the Volga area of Russia. Some also migrated into Sweden.
Before 1800 very few Pomeranians emigrated. There were laws starting in 1730 prohibiting emigration without permission. In 1827, families looking for land moved from Kreis Schlawe, Neustettin, Rummelsburg, and Belgard east into West Prussia and Posen. Between 1844 and 1871 an estimated 91,279 people emigrated from Pomerania, with many going to the United States. In 1850 Pomeranians went to Guatemala, 1858 to South Africa, 1840-60 to Australia and 1860-61 to Russian Poland. During the period of the American Civil War, many Pomeranians went east instead of to the United States. The most popular destination in the 1860s was Russia. The largest emigration from Pomerania to other countries lasted from 1880 until World War I. During this period, emigrants also moved from the eastern provinces in Germany to Berlin and industrial sections of the Rhineland and Westphalia. (From: Herrick, Linda M. and Wendy K. Uncapher. Pomerania: Atlantic Bridge to Germany. Origins, 2005)
Printed and handwritten ship passenger lists
compiled by the various shipping companies that transported
emigrants to America survive among the record groups
Pommersches Polizeipräsidium and Schifffahrtsdirektion
Stettin. The lists cover the years 1869-1902, and
contain about 500-800 passengers per year.