Overview of book: Prussian Peasants Seek The American Dream

Prussian Peasants Seek The American Dream 

Understanding The Migration of Millions of Peasants From Prussia During The Last Half of The Nineteenth Century

    Readers of central European history and genealogy, students, and descendents of Prussian ancestors will find this book expands their knowledge of the way people lived on Gutsbezirks under feudalism in the former Prussian Provinces during the late eighteen hundreds.  The peasant’s rational for emigration is explained which resulted in their rail and sea travel adventure.  The immigrants new life in the USA is described through the mid-twentieth century with dramatically improved freedom and independence.  Here the former Prussian peasants pursued their quest for realizing their human potential.  The author estimates that approximately twenty percent of the U.S. Population in the Year 2000 and Over Half of the Population in the States of Wisconsin and Minnesota are Descendents of  Prussian Ancestors.  An underlying current running through the book is a comparison of living conditions under feudalism vs democracy and a families adaptation from an agricultural society to a capitalistic industrial one.  

    The opening chapter of Prussian Peasants Seek The American Dream delves into the background of the Kingdom of Prussia including: it’s Geography; Provincial System; Climate, Population and Demographics; Transportation systems (Rail, Waterways and Roads); Agriculture (Land Ownership, Livestock, Forests, Viniculture and Fisheries); Mining and Metal Industries, Industrial Development, Hanseatic League; Constitution (Local Government and Justice); Military (Army and Navy), Religion (including Martin Luther’s contribution and Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of printing press); Education and Finance.  An appendix provides additional description for each of the fourteen provinces and their provincial capitals.  The narrative for each province includes: the general environment, geography, population and demographics, agriculture, mining and industry, education, political representation, emigration statistic; photos and in some cases history.

   The book then focuses on describing the life journey of the millions of Prussian emigrants through the historical chronicle of former peasants, Frederick Albert Ludwig “Fred” Dorn (* 13 Feb 1852 - † 17 Apr 1919, at age 67) and future son-in-law, August Carl Ferdinand “August” Bublitz (* 2 Feb 1870 - † 8 Oct 1927, at age 57).  Millions of  peasants from the Prussian provinces who immigrated to the Midwest lived through similar life events.  Eventually, most of these former peasants joined the middle class.  The former provinces of the Kingdom of Prussia are now part of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and a principality in Switzerland.  This was a time before the rapid advances in science, technology and materialism changed the world during the last half of the twentieth century.  

    The setting for the book takes place in Kreis (County) Regenwalde in the Province of Pomerania the following distances from major cities: 215.6 miles (347.0 kms) west of Kaliningrad, Russia (former Königsberg, Prussian capital from 1525 to 1701); 121.1 miles (194.8 kms) northeast of Berlin, Germany, Prussian capital after 1701; 137.7 miles (221.6 kms) west of Gdansk, Poland (former German: Danzig) ); 196.5 miles (316.3 kms) northwest Wrocław, Poland (former German: Breslau); and 43.0 miles (69.1 kms) east of Szczecin, Poland (former German Stettin).  Additionally, history readers will gain insights into Prussian (German: Preußen) and Pomeranian (German: Pommern) history, property ownership, Pomeranian agriculture, military service, peasant and noble countryside lifestyle and lyrics for favorite peasant songs.

    Fred Dorn is the author’s maternal great-grandfather and August Bublitz is the paternal grandfather.  Prior to emigration the families lived near the town of Resko, Poland (former German Regenwalde) in the village of Molstowo, Poland (former German Molstow) and the town of Swidwin (former German Schivelbein) in the Providence of Pomerania (German Pommern) in The Kingdom of Prussia of The German Empire near the Baltic Sea.  Most of the Dorn family and August Bublitz immigrated to the United States in 1893.   The Dorn Family and August Bublitz departed Prussia in search of a better, less oppressive life path where they did not have to worry about fighting in constant wars, long days of demanding labor, limited food supply, poor living conditions, lack of ability to own property or accumulate wealth or have any government influence.   Augusta, the oldest daughter, was the first family member to emigrate.  In 1891 when she was eighteen years old, she arrived in the United States to research an eventual trip for the remaining family members.  She was followed the next year by the oldest son, Herman at age fifteen in 1892.  Herman worked for one year on a farm and then received a one-year salary advance to help finance the families travel to America.  It was with the hope and dream of a better life that the family moved from Prussia to the vicinity of the City of Elkhorn in Walworth County of the State of Wisconsin in the United States of America (USA).  

    Olive Mae (Skotzke) Bublitz (* 5 Aug 1920 -  15 Aug 2007) spent thousands of hours performing most of the genealogy research from shortly after 1973, when her husband died, until two-thousand-and-one.  She spent these hours scanning numerous microfilms, microfiche and newspaper articles, maintaining family group sheets, filing newspaper clippings, obtaining information from family members from frequent genealogy conversations and recording notes.  Olive’s last entry in her genealogy research was in 2001 just after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.  Olive passed away on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 at age 87. Olive’s research culminated with the writing of this book by her son, Robert Joseph Bublitz at age seventy-five.

    William “Will” Alexander Hudson (* 15 Jun 1978 - ) and his mother Connie Emilie (Schmidt) Hudson (* 23 Feb 1946 - † 2 Oct 2014) also spent a significant amount of time researching our ancestors.  The Hudson’s research is of a broad genealogy nature covering Amelia O. “Emilie” (Bublitz) Umnuhs (* 6 Nov 1839 - † 8 Dec 1924, age 85) and sister of Maria Theresa Caroline Colleen “Caroline or Carrie” (Bublitz) Dorn (* 18 Nov 1850 – † 10 Jan 1933, at age 83) and their descendents.
    Prussian Peasants Seek The American Dream is based on these genealogy records which include immigration documents, naturalization records, census documents, marriage registrations, death certificates, obituaries, Prussian, Pomeranian & Wisconsin maps, photos, notes, newspaper clippings, obituaries, magazine articles and historical books.  Additionally, this book was compiled with the assistance of living relatives, friends and descendants of Albert and Caroline Dorn and August & Tina Bublitz. The book is to serve as a historical record for all to enjoy and for the future generation to learn about and understand their family heritage.  

    During the years that I was growing up, I spent a lot of time, as did many of the grandchildren, with Albertine Wilhemina Huntamina “Tina” (Dorn) Bublitz.  One way to learn about rural life in Prussia is to understand the lifestyle and traditions Tina continued in Wisconsin that are described in this book. She was known to most as either Großmutter, Grandma Tina, Tina or simply Ma. Tina was a short woman with waist length blond hair rolled up on the back of her head. Tina cooked and heated her home primarily with an enamel wood cook stove. Grandma Tina would usually speak in Plattdeutsch, a dialect of German, even though others usually spoke to her in English. August and Tina were a very religious couple who lived a simple life with clear values and beliefs focused on family, close relationships with friends, the wise use of land and a strong work ethic.  August was one of the founders and lifelong board members of the First Evangelical German Lutheran Church in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  Tina read her bible for thirty minutes upon rising in the morning and before going to sleep at night.  The last thirty years of Grandma Tina’s life revolved around keeping her home comfortable with holz (firewood), raising four goslings each year, feeding & gathering eggs from her flock of chickens, working in her garden & orchard, participating in church activities, spending time with her caring family and in general, enjoying life. Tina was a quiet person who had a special rapport and relationship with children and whose family loved her dearly.  In the end, Grandma Tina lived a more satisfied life than most Prussian Noble.

    The book includes an extensive number of maps and general information describing the villages in Pomerania where the Dorn family members and August were born and lived.  Also included are photographs showing the destruction that happened near the end of World War II when the “Red Army” moved through Pomerania destroying nearly everything in the area.  Early 1900s prices are presented for essential farm equipment and basic food items.  The reader is able to see the way people traveled, dressed and lived during different times and improvements in living conditions over the century.  A chart summarizes agriculture and lifestyles on 1800 peasant plots, noble agriculture estates, early 1900 USA family farmsteads, late 1900 USA corporate farms and agriculture trend in early 2000.
     The author, Robert Joseph Bublitz is the grandson of August and Tina Bublitz, the paternal great-grandson of Karl and Karolina “Lina” (Poppe) Bublitz, the maternal grandson of Albert and Caroline Dorn, the paternal great-great-grandson of Karl and Wilhelmina “Minie” (Knoll) Bublitz and maternal great-grandson of Jacob and Freda (Serger) Dorn.  The author was born and raised in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Robert earned a Master's degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona; a Bachelor’s degree from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin and the equivalent of an electrical engineering degree from numerous classes during his thirty-year integrated circuit design career with IBM, Tektronix and others.  After college, he worked briefly at the U.S. State Department.  Robert and his family lived in Portland, Oregon for twelve years.  The last thirty-five years Robert has resided near Los Angeles.

Page Last Updated: 11/06/2018