Did you know? Germans were among the first Europeans to arrive in North America in the 1600s and the largest group of immigrants in the 19th century, with nearly eight million arrivals. Today, approximately 44 million Americans claim German heritage – the largest of the ancestry groups reported by the US Census Bureau. Perhaps you are one of them!
In the 1600s, Germans and other Europeans were drawn to the New World and its promise of religious freedom, abundant land and limitless opportunity. They established the first German settlement in 1683, and subsequent generations would go on to help shape America’s prosperous identity. Whether or not your family claims German heritage, learning about the impact of German immigrants on American history will definitely surprise you.
Use this site to learn about famous Americans with German roots, discover deliciously authentic German recipes and find information and tools to do your own genealogy research. And when you’re ready to take your search across the Atlantic, use the Trip Planner to discover heritage centers and emigration museums in Germany to guide you on a journey back in time.
Get inspired to discover your German heritage with these suggested trip itineraries.
Take a trip through our timeline – spanning more than 400 years – to visit significant moments in German-American history. Learn about the first Germans to reach North America in the 1600s, the vast immigration waves of the 19th century and the many contributions German-Americans made to American culture, like hot dogs and hamburgers, and Santa Claus as we know him today.