"My wife's great grandfather came from here" Göppingen by rexvaughan

Göppingen Travel Guide: 27 reviews and 177 photos

Meeting family for the first time

Having discovered that my wife’s great-grandfather came to the US in 1854 from Holzheim, Germany, I did some research and found other descendants living in nearby Schlatt. Both towns have now been subsumed into Goeppingen, so we booked a hotel there to facilitate our visit with them. In searching, I was surprised to learn that more Germans than any other Western European people came to the US in the 19th Century. In the period when great grandfather came (1845-1855), almost a million other Germans immigrated to the US, many from areas in which the plight of small, inefficient, overpopulated and often mortgaged farms threatened by repeated crop failures and the potato blight made calamity a certainty. This helps explain why he and his brother, teenage farm boys, took what to me appears as a frightful journey. For an account of our meeting with family we had never seen before this trip, see my Travelogue.

As we were here to meet and visit with family, most of our sightseeing was related to family, so I don’t have many “things to do” tips here. However, one day we went with two of our German family for a visit to Ulm and the great cathedral there. I do have tips on some restaurants and a really nice hotel in Goeppingen.
That said, we did learn that we were staying in the midst of what was once called Swabia and had some Swabian food and learned a toast in Swabian: "Schaffe schaffe, Häusle baue" (literally "working working, building a house" meaning "you've got to work a lot, then you'll be able to afford a nice home"), which is thought to be characteristic of the hard working, home loving Swabians. We also learned that Swabia was one of the ten Imperial Circles of the Holy Roman Empire from 1500 to the dissolution of the Empire in 1806 and boasts a pretty impressive list of folks who were Swabian including Erwin Rommel, Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Hermann Hesse, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , Martin Heidegger, and Albert Einstein.

Goeppingen is ideally situated if you want to visit Stuttgart and Ulm as it is about halfway between them – only about 30 miles from either one. Trains from Goeppingen run frequently to both and the trip is less than an hour.

  • Last visit to Göppingen: Oct 2012
  • Intro Written Jun 6, 2013
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Reviews (6)

Comments (2)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    How nice! I would love to do this too! If you want, you can move your Bad Wimpfen tips quite easily, up to you though! Your thoughts are just like mine on that city!

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Jun 6, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Cool story. I hope to get to the town where my parental grandfather was born outside of Prague on our next European trip.

    • rexvaughan's Profile Photo
      Jun 6, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      See if you can find other descendants there, Rich. We were treated like visiting royalty and I am sure if you found other family there, they would love meeting you.

rexvaughan

“Travel is fatal to prejudice - Mark Twain”

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