My ancestors came over to Missouri from Baden-Württemberg, Germany during the 1880's as part of the 1.4 million German immigration wave that occurred during that time, mainly due to civil war and unrest. Anyway, I was recently asked what my lineage is and honestly did not know how to answer. See screenshot which shows my options...thoughts??

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2 Answers 2


Germany is usually considered to be part of Western Europe, therefore Western European would be the natural option to choose.

However assuming you are American I would be surprised if all your ancestors came from the same place in Germany. Therefore, putting a label on your "lineage" may be quite meaningless. In my case, I have yet to locate an ancestor born outside of England, therefore I could confidently say my lineage is "British Isles", but many Americans have ancestors from all over Europe as well as other continents. If that is your situation, you are probably best selecting "Other".

  • From my research it does look like most of my ancestors on my dad's side are from the Baden area of Germany. However, I am finding out that my mom has ancestors all over the globe so yes you are right...I am half German and the other half "American" lol Dec 24, 2016 at 17:37

Before 1952, the state today known as Baden-Württemberg did not exist. In 1880, Baden and Württemberg were separate countries, which were part of united Germany since only 9 years, but had large autonomy within the country.

Germany was stable in 1880, there was no such thing as a Civil War or any social unrest you're mentioning. Germany had social unrest in the late 1840s, a short "civil" war in 1866 (*) and a war against France in 1870 (in which it was the major victor). Between 1871 and 1914 Germany was a very stable country, however it had a major population boom (families of 5-9 children were most common) and there was not room for everyone, so many Germans emigrated to foreign countries, including the United States. Back then, southern Germany was significantly poorer than northern (today it's the opposite ironically).

Before the 1st world war, there was a lot of German communities in the United States, including things like entirely German town quarters and newspapers in German. See the related WP article.

(*) Actually the 1866 war was more a war of Austria and southern German states (including Baden and Württemberg) against Prussia. It is debatable if this can be considered a "civil" war or not, because it was germans fighting germans, but also legal government forces fighting legal government forces.

  • While all correct and interesting - Where is the answer to OP's question of "What is my lineage"?
    – Stephie
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:49
  • Well his "question" is not a question either because it's extremely unclear what he's asking ("thought ...?") and I had too much to say for a comment.
    – Bregalad
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:58

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