If your German ancestors emigrated to Missouri within the past 170 years, it might be time to dig out the family Bible. The Missouri Humanities Council will host a German Heritage Digitization Program in Jefferson City next month.
When German explorer Gottfried Duden visited Missouri in the 1820s, he wrote about the Missouri River Valley's similarities in landscape and climate to the Rhineland in Germany. As early as the 1830s, German emigrants found inspiration in his descriptions of the area.
"There was a lot of political and religious and economic turmoil in Germany in the mid-1800s, so when the larger groups started moving in during the 1848 revolutions, they either knew somebody that had already settled there or they had heard so many good things about it that a lot of people moved in in large groups into the Missouri River Valley area," said Caitlin Yager, director of heritage programs for the Missouri Humanities Council.
The MHC — a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization that provides programming highlighting Missouri heritage, among other efforts — secured a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2017 to create a German artifact digitization program, allowing the council to purchase digitization and preservation equipment.