From Hamburg, Germany group Immigrants
Genealogy and Family History
German language immigrants began arriving in Canada over 300 years ago from the region that is now Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Some German-speaking migrants emigrated from other areas such as Russia and the Austro-Hungarian regions of Bukovina and Galicia. Religious groups often settled in blocks, such as Catholics, Lutherans and Mennonites.
Even though not all immigrants shared the same culture, they all spoke the same language. However, variations in dialect did exist. Records of settlement for German-speaking people date back to 1604 when Swiss settlers were brought among the many colonists to settle Acadia.
Over 2000 Germans arrived in Nova Scotia between 1750 and 1752 when they were recruited for settlement of British holdings. In 1753 some of these settlers established the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The next large migration of Germans to Canada occurred during the period after the American Revolution. A total of 30,000 Germans fought in North America between 1776 and 1783; among them, 10,000 men served in Canada and almost 2,400 settled there after the war, mainly in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The settlement along the Grand River became the hub of the German district of Waterloo. Germans settled in many other areas of Ontario, including the Upper Ottawa Valley.
Between 1874 and 1911, 152,000 German speaking settlers arrived in Western Canada. By the beginning of the First World War, over 100 German settlements had been established, the largest being Rosthern, Wetaskewin, St. Peter's, and St. Joseph's.
During the First World War, Germans in Canada were considered "enemy-aliens." Over 8000 German Canadians were interned in camps. During this period, German language instruction was abolished and the German press was no longer allowed to publish in German.
German immigration to Canada resumed after the end of the War. Between 1915 and 1935, over 97 000 German speaking peoples arrived in Canada from Germany, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. It was not until 1950 that Canadian restrictions on German immigration were removed. During this period Canada also took a more aggressive approach to recruit craftsmen from abroad. As a result of these changes, over 400 000 people migrated to Canada from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland between 1950 and 1970.
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Balgonie, Saskatchewan: St. Joseph's (Roman Catholic) Church, 1891-1965 (MG 9 K 3-2)
This parish was established by German-speaking Catholics in 1886. This collection includes a church register and church minute books. Microfilm H-1812.
William von Moll Berczy, 1744-1813 (MG 23 HII6)
William von Moll Berczy brought settlers to Markham Township, Upper Canada, from New York in 1805. Included in this collection are a list of settlers, and contracts and agreements with settlers. Microfilm H-2298.
Cambridge, Ontario: St. Peter's (Lutheran) Church, 1834-1955 (MG 9 D 7-48)
Established in 1834, it was the first Lutheran Church in Cambridge, Ontario (then Preston, Ontario). Collection includes marriage registers, parish registers, and minute books. Microfilms M-3241 and M-3242.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia: Dutch Reformed Congregation, 1770-1927 (MG 9 B 8-21)
Church established in ca. 1770. Collection includes a register of baptisms (1770-1926), marriages (1770-1855 and 1880-1927), and burials (1771-1854 and 1880-1927). It should be noted that all records were recorded in German until 1837. Microfilms M-2210 and M-2211.
Immigration Branch, Central Registry Files (RG 76)
- Rosthern, Saskatchewan. German Catholic Settlement Society, 1902-1906, RG 76, volume 266, file 218250, microfilm C-7814.
- Movements of Mennonites from South Russia, 1924-1946, RG 76, volume 196, file 79160, microfilms C-7349 and C-7350.
- Hutterite and Mennonite colonies in the United States. Settlement in Canada, 1929-1940, RG 76, volume 359, file 425971, microfilm C-10262.
- Hutterites and Mennonites, 1930-1940, RG 76, volumes 175 and 176, file 58764, parts 12 to 14, microfilm C-7331.
- Association of German Canadian Catholics, Admission of 150 Refugees from Germany 1924-1926, RG 76, volume 241, file 148405, parts 1 and2, microfilm C-7390.
- Return to Germany of Undesirable German Nationals in Canada, 1943-1959, RG 76, volume 487, file 753708, microfilm C-10421.
- Admission of Doctors and Nurses from Refugee Camps in Germany, 1946-1950, RG 76, volume 650, file B28865, microfilm C-10589.
Records about German Troops
Library and Archives Canada holds many records for research on German troops, primarily for the Brunswick, Hesse-Hanau, and Anhalt contingents. Please note that the records are not indexed by name and may be written in English, French or German. Library and Archives Canada does not provide a translation service.
- War Office 17: Monthly returns, 1776-1786, MG13 WO17, vols. 1570 to 1580, microfilms B-1587 to B-1590.
- War Office 28: Headquarters' records, field officers' letters, 1781, 1783, MG13 WO28, vol. 8, pp. 165-240, microfilm B-2865.
- War Office 28: Nominal roll of the 1st Hesse-Hanau Battalion, January 1783, MG13 WO28, vol. 8, pp. 205-208, microfilm B-2865.
- War Office 28: Nominal rolls of German troops, January 1782, MG13 WO28, vol. 10, pp. 208-275, microfilm B-2867.
- War Office 42: Pension claims submitted by widows of officers of the King's German Legion who died in service or while on half-pay. Files include copies of wills, birth certificates and personal papers, etc., 1775-1908, MG13 WO42, vols. 52 to 58, microfilms B-4682 to B-4689.
Colonial Office (MG11 CO42)
- Nominal rolls of German troops, 1778-1779, MG11 CO42, vol. 39, microfilm reels B-34 and B-35.
- Nominal rolls of German troops, 1779, MG11 CO42, vol. 16, part 2, microfilm reel C-11891.
Sir Frederick Haldimand (MG 21)
- Letters of officers of the German Legion, with reports, 1778-1784. Includes lists of the names of regiments and their location, MG21, additional manuscripts 21811 and 21812, microfilm reel A-743, originals; also vols. B.151 and B.152, transcripts, microfilm reel H-1650.
- Letters of officers of the German Legion, with reports, 1776-1783. Most of these reports do not give the names of soldiers; however, names of some officers are mentioned, MG21, additional manuscript 21813, microfilm reel A-744, originals; also vol. B.153, transcript, microfilm reel H-1650.
- List of all those discharged from the Hesse-Hanau Chasseurs, 1777-1783, MG21, additional manuscript 21812, microfilm reel A-743, originals; also vol. B.152, transcript, microfilm reel H-1650.
Other Series of Documents
- Hessian Documents of the American Revolution, 1776-1783, MG23 K38. Journals, correspondence, and orders relating to the service of German troops in North America, 364 microfiches.
- Great Britain: Army, German Auxiliaries and Hessian Troops, MG 23 K35. Records copied from the Provincial Archives of Wolfenbüttel, Germany.
- List of Officers, NCOs, and enlisted men from the Brunswick Army Corps who were killed, deserted, or left the Army in some other manner, Wolfenbüttel Archives ref. 38 B A1T 260 Bdl, microfilm K-145.
- Nominal rolls of officers, NCOs, and men who were sent to America to fight with the British, 1777-1779, Wolfenbüttel Archives ref. 38 B A1T 247, microfilm K-145.
- Nominal rolls of troops considered prisoners of war, 1777-1783, Wolfenbüttel Archives ref. 38 B A1T 249, microfilm K-145.
- List of total numbers of the Brunswick troops and their different units, including nominal rolls and lists, 1776-1783, Wolfenbüttel Archives ref. 237 N. Nr. 107, microfilm K-146.
- List of Brunswickers who were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, 1777-1783, Wolfenbüttel Archives ref. 237 N. Nr. 108, microfilm reel K-146.
- List of Hessian or other troops, 1776-1782, Wolfenbüttel Archives ref. 237 N. Nr. 109, microfilm K-146.
Library and Archives Canada holds other archival records relating to German Canadians and German Language churches. It should be noted that parish registers are not always complete for all years. Consult the Archives Search
database using keywords such as a surname or an organization name.
Research at Other Institutions and Online
Research in Published Sources
- Finding your German ancestors, by Hans W. Rerup. (AMICUS 27148178)
- German Military Settlers in Canada after the American Revolution, by Virginia Easley DeMarce. (AMICUS 5150047)
- Germans to America: lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, edited by Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filby. (AMICUS 7691060)
- Germans to America--series II: lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports in the 1840s, edited by Ira A. Glazier. (AMICUS 25827706)
- Harvest of Stones: the German Settlement in Renfrew County, by Brenda Lee-Whiting. (AMICUS 5152211)
- In Search of Utopia: the Mennonites in Manitoba, by E.K. Francis. (AMICUS 2760321)
- Les mercenaires allemands au Québec du XVIIIe siècle et leur apport à la population, by Jean-Pierre Wilhelmy. (AMICUS 4704713) (French only)
- Ottawa Germania: a History of the 19th Century Immigration and Settlement of Ottawa's German Community, by Thomas W. Carkner. (AMICUS 27183923)
- The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia, by Winthrop Pickard Bell. (AMICUS 2451582)
- The German Canadians, 1750-1937, edited by Gerhad P. Bassler. (AMICUS 11956061)
- The Germans in Canada, by K.M. McLaughlin.
- The Hessians of Nova Scotia, by Johannes Helmut Merz. (AMICUS 13939793)
- The Hessians of Quebec: German Auxiliary Soldiers of the American Revolution Remaining in Canada, by Johannes Helmut Merz. (AMICUS 25841674)
- The Hessians of Upper Canada, by Johannes Helmut Merz. (AMICUS 16981231)
Search for other books on Germany and Germans in AMICUS, using authors, titles or subject terms such as:
- Germany immigration
- German Canadians
- German genealogy
- Austrian Canadians genealogy
- Swiss Canadians genealogy
- Lutheran genealogy
- Mennonite genealogy