German Emigrant Origins

The following email was received from Hans-Martin Riehle in Germany who has researched relatives of his ancestors’ who emigrated to the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century.  Herr Riehle provides a number of interesting observations that are based on his investigations.  Please note however that he does indicate that his comments are without firm statistical support and certainly Riehle.Net has not attempted to further confirm the accuracy of the observations. 

In our experience, the clear majority of Riehles here in the US originated in the Baden-Württemberg area with fewer encountered from further east. This may however reflect our origins and the origins of many Riehle’s in the midwest, where perhaps word spread back to Baden in the mid-nineteenth century that social, climate and soil conditions were good. As stated elsewhere, we would like to hear from Riehles who’s Immigrant Ancestors landed in other parts of the US to tell their story.

In any case, we appreciate Hans’ contribution and we encourage feedback concerning the observations as well as any information on the specific descendants of the emigrants for whom he is searching.  Feedback can be provided via reply below.

From: Hans-Martin Riehle
Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 9:07 AM
Subject: Riehle-emigrants

(Map prepared by editor)

Dear Sirs,   
My name is Hans-Martin Riehle, I am German and I am living near Stuttgart in Southwest-Germany. I am 46 years old and I am doing family research for many years. Two brothers of my great grandfather emigrated from Mähringen, Germany to New York City in 1866 and 1887. I am still trying to find their descendants. In 1997 I travelled to New York and visited the archives. What I found out about the Riehles, their origin and their emigrants – and what every Riehle should know- is following:

1 – The name Riehle is not very common in Germany

2 – As far as I know, there are at least three Riehle-origin-areas:
– a:  The area Berlin / Brandenburg ( East Germany )
– b:  The area Sasbach / Wagshurst / Achern (Baden /
– c:  The area Mähringen / Kusterdingen; Tübingen county

3 – There is no known connection or relationship between those areas.

4 – People of those areas have different confessions:  people of area “a” and “c” were evangelic,  people of area “b” are Roman Catholics (few exceptions are possible).

5 – There had been emigrants from every three areas.

6 – Most emigrants went to America (17-19 century), but some Riehles also emigrated to East-Europe and to Switzerland.

7 – Until the present day many Riehle-families live in the areas “a”, “b” and “c”. 

8 – My ancestors came from Mähringen (area “c”). In this village the name Riehle was first mentioned in tax-lists of the year 1545 . Starting with the year 1652 and up to the present day birth-, marriage-, and death-records were made by the parsons- and can still be seen in the archives.

9 – Dr.Walter Schmid did great research concerning emigration from Mähringen and surroundings. He published a book about the emigration.

10 – Some Riehles do family-research here in Germany, and some do publish their family-trees in the Internet.  See:

Greetings to the Riehle-families in America from
Hans-Martin Riehle

Subsequent to this note Hans continued to contribute to our understanding of Riehle immigrants from Germany, especially those from the Mähringen. See more of his contributions here.

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