• Tourist Information
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e.V.
Platz der Freundschaft 1
D-18059 Rostock

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  • From Mecklenburg to Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin
In Germany, one of the best known novels that deals with the migration experience is entitled "Juern Jacob Swehn der Amerikafahrer". It was written by a former school teacher from the small Mecklenburg town of Glaisin, named Johann Gillhoff. It first appeared in 1917. Recently, scholars in Germany and America have found that a collection of letters mentioned therein were not purely fictional. Information and documents have been gathered that prove Gilhoff's book was based on factual accounts.  It has been found that the story borrows from  letters written by a man named Carl Wiedow, the son of a day-laborer.  Wiedow left Glaisin for America on July 20th, 1868. He passed away in Springfield County, Iowa in 1913. The Wiedow family still resides on the same farm, in the nearby town of Victor and has recently been to Mecklenburg to visit the Glaisin area. Gillhoff's book is currently being translated into English by Richard Trost of Des Moines.

There happen to be many truths behind the fictitious framework of the novel that not only tell about the mass exodus to America during the 19th century, but also about  Mecklenburg and Pomeranian's past. The novel offers its readers the chance to learn about the history of a land and its people. It reveals to us a beautiful region, abounding with charming villages, boundless skies and a moraine landscape with countless lakes and meadows.

The people from here did not only travel to Iowa. Researchers will find numerous family names from Mecklenburg and Pomerania, as well as many town and village place names with German origins in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and especially around Milwaukee.

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Carl Wiedow and his family