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Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America

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ISBN-13: 978-0271018331
ISBN-10: 027101833X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This monograph will be of interest to specialists in early American history and immigration history.”
—L. Scott Philyaw, History

“This is a valuable contribution to the study of immigration, ethnicity and the economy, and essential for historians of greater Pennsylvania. . . . This is a rich study of the peopling of North America that should be of widespread interest to specialists in many sub-disciplines of history.”
—Susan E. Klepp, Temple University Book Review



“While Wokeck’s book breaks important new ground concerning the development of a market devoted primarily to moving immigrants, it also contains a variety of additional information and data that many readers will find even more valuable.”
—Ray Cohn, Northern Mariner

Trade in Strangers is an important addition to the study of mass migration.”
—Nupur Chaudhuri, International Migration Review

Trade in Strangers makes a useful contribution to our knowledge of colonial immigration, and raises many questions for future research.”
—David W. Galenson, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“Only a historian versed in the Dutch, English and German languages and armed with tenacity could accomplish such a carefully researched chronicle.”
—Simone A Wegge, EH.NET

Trade in Strangers is first a sharply focused, impressively researched monographic study of the movement of German-speaking settlers to eighteenth-century Pennsylvania. Based on detailed research in German, Dutch, English, and American archives, Trade in Strangers is clearly the best study we have of this important migration and will serve as the starting point for all future scholarship on the subject. . . . While this book is aimed at professional historians even those with a more casual interest in early America will find much of interest here. Wokeck presents the clearest description I have seen of the redemptioner system, and offers a compelling account of the experience of eighteenth-century transatlantic migrants. In sum, this is a first-rate book that deserves a large audience.”
—Russell R. Menard, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

“This monograph will be of interest to specialists in early American history and immigration history.”

—L. Scott Philyaw, History



Trade in Strangers is an important addition to the study of mass migration.”

—Nupur Chaudhuri, International Migration Review

About the Author

Marianne S. Wokeck is Associate Professor of History at Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis. She was previously Associate Editor of The Papers of William Penn and director of the Biographical Dictionary of Pennsylvania Legislators.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press (April 22, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 027101833X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271018331
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Howells on September 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How did tens of thousands of Germans and Irish arrive in America before the War for Independence?
How did they decide on the journey? What factors turned their heads westward instead of to the eastern settlement schemes of Prussia, or the Austrian or Russian empires? Where did they get their advice from? Who led the Germans down the Rhine? How were they collected for trans-Atlantic shipment? Which middlemen profited from (or exploited) the "trade in strangers"? What were the costs of their passage? How were they received in the valley of the Delaware?
This scholarly book addresses the earliest trans-Atlantic mass migration to North America - those immigrants from southwestern Germany and northern Ireland who arrived prior to 1775. It answers the above questions and many more.
Our immigrant ancestors didn't just jump on a boat one day and arrive in the New World many weeks later without an entire system of personal and commercial contacts, information flows, and market forces to facilitate their passage. The huge influx of Germans prior to the Revolution followed a very complex chain of immigration which ensured that ships sailing to Philadelphia from ports in Holland carried "Redemptioners" rather than mere ballast. This book is primarily focused on their experiences.
The later and lesser pre-1775 Irish immigration differed significantly from the German experience both in immigrant composition and geographic mix between the northern counties and the southern counties of Ireland. Elements of the both the German immigrant trade and the Irish immigrant trade prior to the Revolution set the pattern for all later migration in the 1800s.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Aurand(Fillan) on October 16, 2002
Format: Library Binding
As an amateur genealogist and family researcher I have had many questions on the mechanics of how my ancestors made their voyage from Nassau (Germany) to Pennsylvania in the 18th Century. Most sources skip over these details. However, to understand the challenge they faced, one must know these details. Wokeck has mastered many documentary sources on both sides of the Atlantic to provide the definative answers to such questions. She also explores how these early mass migrations of Germans and Irish provided a model for the later and better known 19th Century migrations. To understand how we became Americans all of use must understand the immigrant experience. That experience began with the subject of this book: the development of the transportation of European migrants into a successful business enterprise. It began small, sporadic, and experimental and became a mass commercial enterprise which was both efficient and profitable. The text and the cited sources are invaluable. I was exhilarated after reading it. It has renewed my enthusiasm for my research at a time it was in the doldrums. Any person with a 'Palatine' ancestry should consider this a 'must read.'
Also recommended: A Tide of Alien Tongues, Marrianne Wokeck (1982)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Allen on March 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
A comprehensive and detailed account of the heavy migration from German-speaking areas of Central Europe, and from Ireland, during the l8th Century. It is heavy with facts and statistics regarding the above subjects, including many charts, tables, and an appendix of all known German voyages during the period. Professor Wokeck has obviously done a lot of work researching and analyzing all the available information. She has also spent more than a little time establishing new estimates of the numbers of persons involved in the above migrations, estimates that will most likely be considered the most authoritative for many years to come.
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