We at Beyond History research the German roots of US-citizens almost every day. Our American clients try to find out, where their families came from, why they made the big trip across the Atlantic Ocean and what their lives in Europe had looked like. The shared German-American heritage is huge – and today it has its own commemoration day.
German-American Day is celebrated every year on October 6th and commemorates the German heritage of so many US Americans. The date derives from the same day in 1683, when settlers from the Krefeld area founded the first German settlement, Germantown, near Philadelphia. The village had a great influence on American history: In 1688, the first protest against American slavery was the work of four of the Germantown settlers. Two years later, Willem Rittenhouse built the first paper mill on American soil on Germantown’s boundaries and in 1743, the first Bible of the colonies was printed there too – in German, of course.
The commemoration day was first celebrated in the 19th century but festivities were halted when in the two World Wars, Germany and the USA were war enemies. Only in 1983, Ronald Reagan celebrated German-American Day for the 300th anniversary of the founding of Germantown and encouraged his fellow citizens to do the same. Four years later, the holiday was made official.
For us, every day is German-American Day and we couldn’t be happier about it! The shared history of the two countries is not only interesting from the research point of view but also creates a deep friendship between them. As we are researching German-American history directly, we witness the touching stories behind it regularly and are excited to contribute to our American clients finding out about their German roots and about themselves.