Flag of Germany Flag of USA Genealogy of Herdorf, Germany Immigrants to Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
A brief summary of the website's mission and methodology

Summary

Between 1753 and 1956, at least 251 immigrants with 74 surnames from the area near Herdorf, Germany came to Allentown, Pennsylvania and the surrounding towns.

The earliest immigrants found were the family of Johann Anton Klöckner, born 1719 in Derschen, near Herdorf. He came to America in 1753 with his wife Elisabeth Fischbach and son Johann Engelbert. The Klöckner family eventually settled in Moore Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania where the village of Klecknersville was named after him. The Kleckners were major landowners in and around this village.

The first significant wave of immigrants were drawn to the iron mining and iron making industry in Allentown. These same industries dominated the Herdorf area. Later immigrants were drawn by other job opportunities in silk mills, cigar factories and other occupations in the growing city of Allentown.

This website documents the genealogy and immigration details of each of these immigrants.

Mission

The motivation for this research stems from an October 2011 meeting in a Gasthaus in Herdorf. This meeting with three local historians, Martin Stinner, Artur Gotthardt and Rainer Wirth, was arranged by a good German friend Horst Schneider who accompanied me. The conversations that day and numerous Email messages thereafter led me to discover that many Herdorfers immigrated to Allentown. I am compelled to identify these immigrants, trace the genealogy of their ancestors and descendants, and report the details for others to build upon.

Research Methodology

Using a series of Family Books for six neighboring towns, including Herdorf, a list of surnames was compiled. A search for these surnames on gravestones in the cemetery of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and on Ancestry.com yielded candidates. Each possible immigrant was validated by tracing their birth and ancestors in the Family Books. Shipmates and neighbors of an immigrant yielded additional candidates. Relatives of immigrants were researched and this identified more candidates. Often, Church Book records of births and marriages were reviewed to assure that the immigrant originated in the Herdorf area. The result is a series of Family Trees with almost 4000 individuals. These trees show that most immigrants from Herdorf are inter-related directly or through marriage.