German Palatine Migration to America 1709

Ancestors from Rhine Palatinate

My father Nathaniel Edward Fake (1916-1999) family ancestor’s last names were mostly (Schneider, Veeck, Feg, Faeg, Feeg, Faike, Fake) traced back to 1575 in Richstein, Germany.

  • Putnam Fearan Johan Schneider (1575-1636), 10th great-grandfather was born in Richstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany in 1575. He died in 1636, in Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany at the age of 61.
  • Johann Heinrich VonVeeck Schneider-Feg (1600-1677), 9th great-grandfather was born in Richstein, Siegen-Wittgenstein, Northrhein-Westfalen, Germany in 1600. He lived to be 77 years old in Inheiden, Hesse, Germany.
  •  Johannes Schneider (1621-1724), 8th great-grandfather, was born on June 19, 1621, in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.  Johannes passed at the age of 103 In Germantown, Columbia County, New York.
  • Johana Nicholas Veeck Feg (1648-1724), a 7th great-grandfather, was born on September 28, 1671, in Birkenfeld, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Having lived a life of 78 years he passed in Birkenfeld.
  • Johann Peter Schneider Feg (1672-1744), 6th great-grandfather and family arrived in America at Nutten Island in 1710. Johann passed at the age of 72 in Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

We believe that some of my early ancestor’s occupations were that of a tailor. The last name Schneider is German for a tailor.

Palatines refer to the thousands of Germans that left their homeland between the period of 1700-1800. After their arrival in America, my family eventually settled in the colony of Pennsylvania later known as Penn’s Woods. Other Palatine families settled in the colonies of New York, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia.

History of Palatinates

The historic foundation for Germany and Palatinates (geographic area) began in the 4th and 5th centuries. Germanic tribes with names like Goths, Vandals, Franks, and other Germanic tribes formed feudal mini-states.

Next came a slew of kings, rulers, dynasties, empires, and religious leaders that added their political weight to mold and reshape the boundaries of modern-day Germany.  For this discussion, we will concentrate on the events that help create the mass exodus of Palatines from western Europe starting about 1400 to 1800.

Rhineland Palatinate Region
Rhineland Palatinate

A list of the political events that changed Palatinate boundaries:

  • The rise of the House of Habsburg during the 1400’s ended dynasty shuffling.
  • Martin Luther, a German monk created a religious upheaval that led to the Reformation and the founding of the Luthern church.
  • Thirty Years War from 1618-1648 resulting in the deaths of an estimated one-third of the German population.
  • King Louis XIV of France invaded the Rhineland putting tremendous pressure on the Palatines to consider emigration.

Other conditions such as severe weather, taxes, and religious quarrels added to the Palatine’s heavy survival burdens in their Rhineland-Palatinate homes.

Social and Economic Conditions

What motivated the Palatines and my ancestors to reckon with unknown obstacles to start over in America? German Palatine Historian Knittle lists war devastation, heavy taxation, and extraordinarily severe winter in 1708 destroying whole vineyards and lots of livestock. Additional reasons included the desire for adventure on the part of the young, liberal advertising by colonial proprietors, and the benevolent and active cooperation of the British government

There is an old saying, advertise and they will come. Indeed the Palatines by the boatloads made their way down the Rhine River to Rotterdam. After some debate in the English government, they sent ships to take the estimated 13,000 refugees to London, England from Rotterdam.

Excerpt from June 1, 1709: 553 Council of Trade to the Earl of Sunderland and the Lord High Treasurer:

“Obviously, in the Spring of 1709 arrival of people into Rotterdam and then into England was immediate and massive. The stream flowed on until, by July, it had become a flood that alarmed London. Even though hundreds of tents were immediately provided, overall accommodations could not be arranged fast enough. Disease threatened. The labor market was glutted. The government became alarmed. By the end of the year, plans were made to transport thousands of Palatines to New York”

England’s Invitation for a New Life

Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark of German stock and a Luthern were concerned enough about the plight of the Palatines to put plans into action to transport them to America. Quite naturally the English government had some additional motives-like using the newfound Palatine labor to help expand the English presence in America.

Queen of England, Scotland and Irelanr
Queen Anne (1665-1714)

“December 5, 1709, report of the Board of Trade on the plans for settling the Palatines:

That the Province of New Yorke being the most advanced Frontier of Your Majesty’s Plantations on the Continent of America, the Defence and Preservation of that place is of the utmost importance to the Security of all the Rest; And if the said Palatines were seated there they would be an additional strength and Security to that Province, not only with regard to the French of Canada, But against any Insurrection of the Scattered Nations of Indians upon that Continent, and therefore we humbly Propose that they be sent thither.

By the best Information we can gett, the most proper Places for the seating of them in that Province, so as they may be of benefit to this Kingdom by the Production of Naval Stores, are in the Mohaques River, and on Hudson’s River, where are very great numbers of Pines fit for Production of Turpentine and Tarr, out of which Rozin and Pitch are made. . . .

That the Governor be likewise Directed to grant . . . 40 Acres per head to each family, after they shall have repaid by the produce of their labour the charges the publick shall be at in settling and subsisting them there. . . .

Lastly We humbly offer that the said Palatines upon their arrival there be Naturalized, without Fee or Reward, that they may enjoy all such Privileges . . . of that Province.30″

My Ancestors Sail to America

Ancestors in my family tree that took up Queen Anne’s invite were:

  • Johann Peter Schneider Feg, age 38
  • His wife Anna Maria Risch, age 29
  • Anna Catherine, daughter, age 10
  • Anna Eve, daughter, age 10
  • Eva Elisabeth, daughter, age 8

Their ship James & Elizabeth sailed from London about December 5th, 1709 with a sailing fleet of 10 ships holding about 3,000 Palatines. They arrived on 16 June 1710 in the Province of New York on Nutten Island (today NYC). One can only imagine the conditions and food rationing that was required over the 5-month journey with 300-400 fellow Palintines. We as an ancestry family are thankful that they survived the trip.

On the same ship was Conrad Weiser Jr, age 14 with his family. In colonial America, he became a major negotiator with the many Indian tribes for the English while fending off the French. Somehow Conrad found time to court Anna Eve Feg (my 6th great aunt) and marry in 1720 before settlement in Penn’s Woods near present-day Wormlesdorf, Pennsylvania. His accomplishments are many where we have written a post dedicated to Conrad Weiser. (1696-1760)

FOLLOW US to discover what events took place over the next 100 years. In the colony of New York my ancestors discovered and settled on land in Schoharie Valley. After land ownership disputes in New York Johan Peter Schneider Feg (1672-1744) and his family settled on 190 acres of wooded land in Tulpehocken, Pennsylvania. Where they built at first a primitive home and made farmland for crops. Likewise in Pennsylvania, the Indian Nations claimed they still owned the land rights.

DISCOVER how Johan Peter Feg and fellow ancesters received title to land, representive government and limited voting rights. VISIT William Penn Helps Family in Pennsylvania.

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Copyright © 2018-2021 by Ronald L. Fake. All rights reserved worldwide


Ronald L. Fake

Pennsylvania native from York County. After graduating from Wrightsville High School enlisted in U.S. Navy. While in the Navy working in the field of Aviation Electronics decided to enroll in college. Selected San Diego State University with a focus on urban geography and environmental studies. After graduation in 1968 worked with county and state governments, and private industry on the environmental impacts of transportation projects. After retirement started my ancestry research and today I am writing that history as a blog at

2 thoughts to “German Palatine Migration to America 1709”

  1. Dear Mr Fake, I am writing from Germany and am excited about your post. Your descriptions are great, the facts and background very well researched. My ancestor Johann Konrad Anthes also traveled to New York with his family in 1709. Unfortunately, he probably died at sea. In the book “The early Palatine Emigration” only the widow is listed with the Children.
    Do you know if there are any records of who died on the crossing or on Nutten Island? I can only find baptisms and marriages.
    By the way, my husband was born in Mainz and his brother lives in North Carolina. It’s a small world!
    Maybe you have a tip for me where to find out more about the fate of the Anthes family. I only know that the son married in Schenectady in 1726.
    Kind regards
    Helga Lohr

  2. I have a potential ancestor in a partial passenger list from the James & Elizabeth in 1710 (listed as Maria Barbara below). She is grouped with perhaps your ancestor, Johannes (Schneider) Faeg. I feel this is possible since her husband and five other children died at sea. If her, the last name would have been Getman. I was wondering if you had any knowledge of her traveling with your ancestors / any information on her and her son. Thank you.
    185 Johannes (Schneider) Faeg
    Anna Margaretha (Becker), 37
    Elisabetha Barbara, 16
    Maria Barbara
    Jacob 7-0 Veeck, Feeck; Encrist’s ship in Holland. To Schoharie, NY & Tulpehocken,

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