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Early History leading to the Emigration of the Palatinate Settlers into Bukowina and the New World.

The Habsburgs, theoretically, were the rulers of the Ruthenians of West Ukrainian since 1526 when the Kingdom of Hungary was formally joined to the Austrian dynasty. In actuality, the Habsburg rule was consolidated in Transcarpathia in the late 1700's and early 1800's. In 1772, a larger part of West Ukrainian territory was acquired, the " Red Rus" area better known as Galicia. Galicia, was Austria's share after Poland was divided, comprising the four regions of Krakow, Stanislau, Lemberg and Tarnopol.

Maria Theresa (1740-80) and Emperor Joseph II (1765-1790), wanted to settle farmers on the large government estates in order to improve the then backward cultivation of the country. The settlement concession was issued on the 17 September 1781, which guaranteed the German settlers free land, a farmhouse, equipment, even farming implements, freedom of religion, military exemption for the oldest son of the family, free transportation from Vienna to the place of settlement and a ten-year exemption from taxes in the new land.

Those Germans who heeded the Emperor's call almost exclusively came from Southwest Germany, the provinces of Rhenish Palatinate, Wurtemberg and Hesse. They settled in various parts of Galicia with the greatest density around settlements of Lemberg . These people hoped for better living conditions. They had trekked eastwards, in carts and on foot, in bad weather, on bad roads, for days and weeks, without a firm roof over their heads. In Gunzburg on the Danube near Ulm in Bavaria they boarded ships which took them to Vienna. Some were on the way for as long as a year. They celebrated weddings and christening but also had to bury their dead on the way.

Besides the central office in Vienna there was a main office in Lemberg for the registration of the settlements. The colonists were lodged in manor houses, monasteries and other public buildings and even with the Ukrainian farmers. Agricultural authorities provided lodging for the colonists, were responsible for the building of houses, divided the land into farms for settlement and gave the settlers food until they could live off their own land.

One of the largest Catholic Palatinate village in Galicia was Beckersdorf. The village was situated on the river Koropiec and by a large pond 5 kilometres from the district town of Podhajce. The living quarters were built on one side of the road and behind them the farm buildings. In front of the houses were small flower gardens and on the other side of the road vegetable and fruit gardens. Later, almost without exception these became building sites. The book "Heimat Galizien" by Julius Kraemer, lists over 350 German settlements in Galicia. Not all of these were begun by German colonist. Some were established Polish and Ukrainian villages in which significant numbers of Germans found homes after acquiring land near by.

By 1850 good land was a scarcity, many were disheartened and dissatisfied with this "glorified land" and many looked for new frontiers. Some went from Galician villages directly to northern Bessarabia to new settlements. A much larger number went to Bukowina, meeting a southern wave of emigration from Germany.
Going back to the Treaty of Constantinople, which had transferred sovereignty of Bukowina to Austria in 1775. Joseph II and Francis I, encouraged migration to their new territory, Bukowina (German; Bukovina is English; Bukovyna is Ukrainian; Bucovina is Roumanian). Bukovina covers an area of 10,422 square kilometres. In 1775, the population was 60,000. To encourage the development of this sparsely-settled land, the Austrian emperors subsidised the immigration of colonists to Bukovyna. After the official programs, colonists still continued to arrive at their own expense. This brought several thousand German colonists from the Southwest German states (Baden, Wurtemberg, Rheinland-Pfalz, the Palatinate & Swabians) via Banat, from Bohemia (forest) now in Czech Republic, and the Zipsers (Spis county in today's Slovakia). Some were sponsored by private entrepreneurs as specialised craftsmen from a false industry or brought as miners to exploit the newly discovered veins of copper, iron, silver and magnesia in Bukowina's mountains. Others came as farmers who received land from the state; some entered as government officials, teachers, architects, and businessmen. At the same time: Armenians, Hungarians, Jews, Ukrainians, Romanians, Jews, Gypsies, and Poles also filtered into Bukowina, with the result that the province soon assumed a multinational character.

Bukowina's Germans never reached 10 percent of total population. Nonetheless, they left their mark and played a prominent role in politics, social and economic development. Germans sometimes settled in already -existing villages; others carved an existence for themselves in virgin forest. They could be found in all areas of Bukowina with the greatest concentration in a broad wedge between the mountainous south and Suczawa Valley

Over population and limited economic opportunity triggered a new wave of emigration between 1880's and 1914. Many of the communities experienced its share of natural and man-made disasters: cholera in 1831 & 1848; famine in 1865-66; invasion and occupation by Russian troops on three separate occasions between 1914-17. In Bukowina, the Colonists owned their land through the generous grants during the settlement years, But over several generations the original farms had been divided amongst the heirs so often that farms became to small to support a family. Efforts to prevent this unfortunate development such as "buying out" younger siblings; share of the inheritance, who could then buy land elsewhere, were to no avail. Thus for the farmers, the main reason for emigration was the search for arable land of their own to make a good living for their families. Also industry in Bukowina had never grown to the extent it had elsewhere in the Austrian Empire, or in the New World. Together with the unrest of the wars. Many of the men were conscripted into the army and few returned. No wonder so many of our ancestors left Bukowina and travelled to many other parts of the world looking for a better life for themselves and their children.

The first wave of Bukovina German emigration began in the 1880's. Most of these were destined for Ellis, Kansas; Yuma Count, Colorado; Lewis County, Washington; Saskatchewan, Canada; Rio Negro, Brazil, and other parts of Germany and Europe. A second wave of emigration to the Americas took place in the preceding years and following World War 1. While some joined those who preceded them in the above mentioned locations, others went to New York City, USA. Those who remained faced severe hardships and suffering when they had to flee during the World War II.

Rosch 1782
Two families had settled in this village when the third arrived, namely the above mentioned Peter Jano. Baumgartner owns 4 koretz of farmland but no meadows; he has to lease these from the nationalists (?), so that the remaining two families each has two koretz apiece. Therefore they ask that two more falches (?) of meadows be distributed. To the city of Czernowitz, as their manor, they have paid the usual obligation since the biginning of the settlement, but the contribution for only year so far. Note: In addition to these 3 families 15 German farmers and craftsmen settled in this village by and by. They consisted partly of discharged soldiers, the rest from various sources from Banat and even imperial members who had immigrated directly from the Holy Roman Empire. They will glady carry out the orders of the lord of the manor, if one would give some to them; they only ask that someone direct them to a pasture so that they can fence it in, erect some shelters for protection from the villainous injuries of the nationalists. The month isn't named, although January is obviously implied.

Molodia 1782
Here there had settled, in all, 13 German families, but after Erhard had gone away from here, the widow Kloser had entered service (i.e., as a domestic worker), and Josef Haid had turned his business - together with all his debts - -over to Michael Heim, there still remained 10 families that had been settled here and supported with advances from the former state administration. They have continued to hold on to up to 4 korets of tillable land and 2 faltschen of pasture, but would wish for themselves at least twice that much for a better subsistence. They are rather well-to-do and need no support.

From the very beginning they paid to the lord of the manor the tributes customary in this country: in consideration of which contribution they were promised six years of freedom, which came to an end----varm Jahr--(?)
Since by their own acknowledgment they were also set free here, there appears in the present case to have occurred an oversight, of which the governing office of the Kreis will be given notice via the copy hereunto attached (?)

The Palatinate Colonies in Bukowina
Papers on the migratory history of the Palatinate citizens, published by the local History Center, Kaiserslautern Pfalzer among the Bukowina Colonists 1787-1791 by Johann Christian dressler.

The routes taken by the German colonists from the west on their migrations to the east were varied. Some went to Ulm, Gunzburg or Rengensburg, and then by boat on the Danube to Vienna, a journey which, according to advertising assurances ? would have taken seven days. In Vienna, everyone who wanted to go as a colonist to the Austrian territories in the east had to register. Here they were registered and provided with a pass for the onward journey to Biola, for which another seven to ten days had been stated on the poster. Along the way from Vienna to "billeting in Lemberg" assembly points, so-called "immigration agencies" had been set up. The most significant of these were in Olmutz, Mahrisch-Neustadt, Teschen and Bielitz. Those who travelled overland went either along the Danube to Vienna, or via Frankfurt-am-Main and Prague without touching Vienna, to Mahrisch-Neustadt, and from there on to Galicia. Those who originally emigrated to Polland i.e. Prusssian Poland, came to Biola either via Jagensdorf and Troppau, or from Warsaw via Zamosc. Registration lists (immigration lists) were drawn up in Vienna as well as in all the agencies and sent to Lemberg. The first German hereditary tenants (?) to arrive in Bukowina moved out from Lemberg via Czernowitz and Kuczumare to Fratautz, where their distribution throughout the individual districts was affected. The localities in question: Fratautz, Satulmare, Millescheutz-Badeutz, St. ONufry, Arbora, Neu-Itzkany, Illischestie and Teresblestie.

Evelyn Vielvoye