Tour Texas

German Immigration

Through the Port of Galveston came many of Texas' most enduring immigrants. Political strife, economic hardship and letters home from settlers already in the region brought a wave of immigration to Texas from Germany and its neighbors, Czechoslovakia and Poland, beginning in 1847.

The new Texans settled the lands across the southeast and central part of the state reaching west of San Antonio and north of Waco, giving names to towns like New Braunfels, Schulenburg and Shiner. Germans made peace with Comanches in order to settle Fredericksburg and their transfer to the new homeland was impeded only by American conflicts such as the Civil War.

In Texas, Germans settled among Hispanics, Blacks and Anglo Americans of Irish/Scottish descent with relative ease, while in Louisiana they settled in readily with French Acadian immigrants. The area northwest of New Orleans along the Mississippi and Pontchartrain became known as La Cote des Allemands, The German Coast.

Though well-established in Texas, Germans experienced persecution during World Wars I and II. Popular San Antonio musician Adolph Hofner moved to California and changed his name during the second war due to the similarity of his name with that of Adolf Hitler.

Despite the troubles they faced, Louis Polansky, who manages the Fayetteville Area Museum, maintains that the Czechs and Germans are responsible for Texas' reputation as the "friendly state."

The port cities of New Orleans and Galveston hold valuable records of the immigrants' arrival on ships. However, some of the Galveston documents were lost to a devastating hurricane in 1900. There are many avenues for Texans of German, Czech and Polish descent to trace their roots.

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