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German Interest Group


Gerhard family, Washington D.C. ca 1912
Courtesy of L.H. Taylor

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About Us

We Meet: The 3rd Saturday of each month, January through November (check calendar)
Hours: 1 to 3:45 p.m.
Virtual GIG meetings using GoToMeeting: for more information.


The Southern California Genealogical Society's German Interest Group (GIG) was formed to provide a wide range of resources both inside and outside the SCGS Library to help trace German family lineage. GIG's purpose is to educate and support our members as they pursue German genealogical research. 


The group meets at the SCGS Library on the third Saturday of each month (January through November) from 1 to 3:45 p.m. Meetings include presentations on a wide variety of research topics, highlights of German resources available in the library, online research tips, group help with brick wall problems, highlights of discoveries, and personal research time with the help of other members. Meetings are held in a hybrid format--at the SCGS Library and online. We also hold an annual Oktoberfest potluck meeting, appropriately in October, that is very popular with our members and guests. We're proud to host top speakers and experts in German genealogical topics at our meetings.

Annette Unrau:

“The Plague of Prussia”

April 20

Milan Pohontsch: “Old German Script - Writing Capital Letters & Umlauts”

September 20

May 18

Tadeusz H. Pilat: “Military Conscription in the Kingdom of Poland”

June 15

Kathy Holland:

“The Life of Otto Preminger”

November 16

July 20

Barbara Stanculescu: “Wurttenburg”

August 17

Tadeusz Pilat: “Military Records Touching on the 3 Partitions of Poland”

October 19

Tadeusz Pilat:

“Using Online Map Resources as well as Cadastral Maps in Poland


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German Interest Group Events 2024                    

German Immigration to the United States


Nearly one million Germans immigrated to America in this decade, one of the peak periods of German immigration; in 1854 alone, 215,000 Germans arrived in this country.


An estimated 1.3 million German-born immigrants resided in the United States; 200 German-language magazines and newspapers were published in this country; in St. Louis alone, there were seven German-language newspapers.










The 1880s was the decade that experienced the heaviest influx of German immigration. Nearly 1.5 million Germans left their country to settle in the United States; about 250,000, the most significant number ever, arrived in 1882.

During this period, an estimated 2.8 million German-born immigrants lived in the United States. Most of them were located in the "German triangle," whose three points were Cincinnati, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and St. Louis, Missouri.

An estimated 2.3 million German-born immigrants lived in the United States by 1910. With declining immigration and increasing assimilation, the number of German-language publications fell to about 550.

Adolf Hitler's growing power in Germany caused a significant immigration of leading German scientists, writers, musicians, scholars, and other artists and intellectuals to the United States to escape persecution. By the end of World War II, there were about 130,000 of these German and Austrian refugees living in America.

An estimated 1.2 million German-born immigrants lived in the United States.

Between 1951 and 1960, approximately 580,000 Germans immigrated to the United States.

An estimated 210,000 Germans immigrated to the U.S. between 1961 and 1970.

German-American Day was established by Congressional resolution and presidential proclamation on October 6, 1987.

More than 43 million people living in the U.S. claim German ancestry.

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