German Heritage in Letters

From Family Research to Digital History





Oct 15, 2020


German Heritage in Letters: From Family Research to Digital History

Thursday, October 15, 2020, 6 PM - 7:30 PM EDT

Between 1850 and 1920, more than five million individuals emigrated from theGerman-speaking lands to the United States, and over 300 million letters were exchanged between Germany and the United States over the same period.

This presentation will introduce “German Heritage in Letters” (, an initiative to find, collect, and share online correspondence that sheds light on the effects of emigration from the German-speaking lands to the United States on families and communities on both sides of the Atlantic. The project, supported in part by the “Wunderbar Together USA 2020” initiative (, is an innovative effort to create an online collection of primary sources that combines correspondence from institutional libraries and archives with letters contributed by members of the public.

The talk will focus on the relationship between family researchers and the project, discussing how project contributors have gathered information about their family letters using strategies ranging from transcription and translation to in-person research and travel. It will go on to share how the German Heritage in Letters project enhances this work by taking advantage of the revolution in digital historical content both to gather more granular information about the individuals who wrote and sent these letters as well as to embed the letters in current scholarly research about the events and eras they describe.

To register for the event: Please email the German Society of Pennsylvania office at with your name, OR reserve a free ticket on the website linked below. You will be added to a list to receive the URL link to the Zoom webinar meeting shortly before the program. You must register no later than 4:00 pm on Tuesday, October 13 in order to receive the web link.




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