– Warren K. Deem
According to the 1990 federal census, approximately 52 million Americans-nearly one in four-have direct ancestral ties with Germany. Conditions in Germany were spurring German citizens to find a better life; war's devastation, heavy taxation, the need for land, hunger, religious quarrels, and persecution all contributed to the massive migration to America. Encouragement came from William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, who visited Germany's Rhineland in 1671 and again in 1677, expressly inviting German citizens to come to Pennsylvania. Among the first arrivals was a group of Mennonites who reached Philadelphia in 1683. The first mass migration brought German immigrants from the Palatinate to New York.
Researchers are likely to find frequent reference to the area of the Rhineland called the Palatinate or the Palatine, and to "Germans from the Palatine." Historically, the southern border of the Palatinate has always been France; the eastern border is the Rhine River; the western and northern borders of the Palatinate have changed frequently.
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