During the 19th century, immigrants came to Wisconsin from many different parts of German-speaking Central Europe. In the New World they often settled near people they knew: family and neighbors from their home region. If you live in Wisconsin, there’s a good chance that you or a neighbor has a surname like Janke, Krueger, or Schmidt. In fact, 40% of state residents identify themselves on government surveys as having ancestral ties to German-speaking Europe.

German-speaking immigrants who came to Wisconsin in the 19th and 20th centuries were part of the big sea of global migration past and present. Like others who permanently relocated, they were pushed to leave their homeland for a variety of reasons, mostly economic, and simultaneously pulled by the hope of a better life in new country.



This exhibit has been made possible by

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Wisconsin Humanities Council