Danes and Icelanders in Michigan
Publication Year: 2013
Immigration of Danes and Icelanders to Michigan began in the 1850s and continued well into the twentieth century. Beginning with their origins, this book takes a detailed look at their arrival and settlement in Michigan, answering some key questions: What brought Danes and Icelanders to Michigan? What challenges did they face? How did they adjust and survive here? Where did they settle? What kind of lasting impact have they had on Michigan’s economic and cultural landscape? Extensively researched, this book examines the public and private lives of Danish and Icelandic immigrants in Michigan, drawing from both individual and institutional histories. Shedding new light on the livelihood, traditions, religion, social life, civic organizations, and mutual benefit societies, this thorough, insightful book highlights a small but important population within Michigan’s borders.
Published by: Michigan State University Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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This work was made possible through the generous assistance provided by the helpful staff s of the Danish Immigrant Archives at Grand View Uni-versity, Des Moines, Iowa; the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library; the Flat River Historical Society and Museum, Greenville, Michigan; the Manistee County Historical Museum, Manistee, Michigan; the Marquette Regional History Center, Marquette, Michigan; the Mason County Historical Society and Historic White Pine Village, Ludington, ...
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We created a combined history of Danish and Icelandic immigrants who came to Michigan in large part because Icelanders came to the state in very small numbers and were not listed as a separate national group in the United States census until 1930. Since Iceland was part of Denmark through much of the period covered in this book they were often counted as “Danes.” As a result, it is difficult to identify Icelanders through census records. Th ese two ethnic groups started to immigrate to Michigan in ...
Danes in Michigan, by Howard L. Nicholson and Anders J. Gillis
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Danish immigrants have played an important role in Michigan’s develop-ment.1 Danes generally integrated smoothly into the American fabric and became successful and productive citizens. Compared to Swedish and Norwegian immigration, Danish immigration to America was a stream rather than a mass exodus. From 1820 to 1905 an estimated 225,000 Danes emi-grated.2 Very few early Danish Americans settled in Michigan. In 1850 there were thirteen Danish-born persons in Michigan; by 1870 there were 1,354; ...
Danish Religion, Folk Schools, and Fraternal Organizations
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Education, social organizations, and religion helped Michigan’s Danes maintain their ethnic identity.7 Danish parents and folk schools used education to create and cultivate an appreciation of Danish culture and language. Danish social organizations fostered and promoted Danish cul-ture by emphasizing holidays and mores. Michigan’s Danes were also linked with Denmark through religion, which provided an intellectual, cultural, and Religion was a dominant factor in Danish history and played an important ...
Michigan’s Danish Communities
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Th e earliest known Michigan Danes arrived in the 1850s in Montcalm County.31 Montcalm County off ered the land, economic opportunity, and es-cape that many Danes were looking for. Located in western lower Michigan, northeast of Grand Rapids, Montcalm County was one of the many burgeon-ing settlements built on logging. White pines were logged from the dense ...
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In reviewing U.S. census data approaching the mid-twentieth century in 1940, there were 107,982 Danes in the United States. Of that number 5,441 were residing in Michigan, with 3,402 living in urban settings, 1,204 living on farms, and 835 living in non-farm communities. It is interesting to note that forty years earlier the vast majority of Michigan Danes were living in rural areas. By the 1950 census the number of Danish immigrants in Michi-gan had dropped to 4,219 and twenty years later it had fallen to 2,379. Th is ...
Icelanders in Michigan, by Russell M. Magnaghi
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Given the fact that Iceland is a small island nation with a miniscule popula-tion, immigration from the island was insignificant. Icelanders migrated to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. Michigan seems to have been a point of transit on their travels west and as a result the Icelandic population of Michigan has been negligible. Further complicating identifying Icelanders is the fact that during the nineteenth century Iceland was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark. As a result United ...
Icelanders in Michigan
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As mentioned previously, Michigan was a transit point for most Icelandic immigrants. In 1883 it was noted in a federal report that the immigra-tion offices at Port Huron and Detroit recorded the arrival of Icelanders. Between 1880 and 1920 names like Guermander and Dagbartt Johnason, Elph Freeman, Adam and Anne Graboske, Albert and Augusta Ambjornson, Bary Brynjolfrion, and Oscar Hoff man rather accidentally appear on the enumerated census sheets with “Iceland” written after their names. Th is is ...
Appendix 1. Archives and Libraries
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Appendix 2. Recipes
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Appendix 3. Immigrant Letters
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For Further Reference
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Andersen, Arlow W. Th e Salt of the Earth: A History of Norwegian-Danish Methodism Babcock, Kendric. Th e Scandinavian Element in the United States. New York: Arno Barlett, Nancy. “Abandonment of Danish: A Case Study from Montcalm County, Beasley, Norman. Knudsen: A Biography. New York: Whittlesey House, 1947.Bille, John H. A History of the Danes in America. San Francisco, CA: R and E Research ...
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Page Count: 105
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Discovering the Peoples of Michigan