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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Börninghausen (Boerninghausen), Germany to Missouri, USA - Part 1

Where in the world is Börninghausen, Germany?  Well, let me tell you, it is not easy to find this place on a map because it is a rural village in the northwestern region of Westphalia, Germany.  Literally 60 miles due east of the border of the Netherlands (Holland), it was part of Prussia until after WWI and was in West Germany after WWII.  Hannover is 30 miles to the east of this village.   It is about 30 miles south by south west of Bremen, a German port where many left Germany for the "New World".

Much of Germany has a bit of an anglicized translation that has been applied to their geographic location titles.  When you look on a Google Map, most likely, you're finding one in "English" rather than in the traditional German names.  As a result, Börninghausen with the umlat (those double dots over the ö), is spelled Boerninghausen.  Now that I know how to type the umlat (ALT 0246 gives you the lower case ö), I am all over updating my family tree to indicate the traditional spelling of the name as Börninghausen with more details in the description, or in parthentheses, indicating the modern spelling of Boerninghausen.

As I've mentioned before, my direct line ancestors (Vinup - Vienop, Koch) had all left this part of Germany by 1889.  What I find interesting is what appears to be droves of people who specifically left Börninghausen via Bremen to Baltimore, MD, and went directly onto Missouri to settle in and around the St. Louis area.  There's a story and history there for sure and it most definitely includes the Lutheran Church.  Will I ever find the entire history and explanation?  Maybe.   I have found bits and pieces online.  It makes for an interesting bit of history but does not exactly get me to my specific ancestors.  However, the fascinating part is the number of times I find Börninghausen origins for the various immigrants to Missouri between the 1840s and 1880s.  Let me explain further why this seems so interesting. 

Today Boerninghausen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, is a rural community with about "914 people per square mile".  When I read that statistic, I thought to myself, "That sounds like a lot of people!"  Well, I think that number deserves some qualification.  The closest city of more than 50,000 people is over an hour away from this village.  In comparison to where I live, the City and Metro Sacramento Area in Northern California has 4,660 people per square mile.   Mind you, this is all based on averages.  I can totally believe that there are 2,000 people living right around me in my square mile of the world.

Given the population density, or lack there of, for the "Village" of Boerninghausen these days, it does surprise me that Missouri was a bit of a mecca of the this German Village's transplants to the USA in the mid 1850s.  So, what was the population of Boerninghausen (or rather Börninghausen, Westphalia, Prussia) in the mid 1850s?

So far, all I have about the population of Germany from 1850 to 1880 is that it grew.  I also find a whole lot of websites online in the German language.  At some point, I will need to translate them into English using that Google translation toolbar.  For now, I end Part 1 of my research and notes about Börninghausen.  I'm sure that a Part II will come around at some point.

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