The history of the Pagel families who emigrated from Prussia, Mecklinburg and other areas of what is now Germany, to the U.S., has yet to be written.|
A review of U.S. Census records indicates there were no persons with the PAGEL suname in the 1840 census, but their population grew rapidly in the succeeding 5 decades due to a large immigration of German families with origins in Prussia and, to a lesser extent, Mecklenburg (both areas included in the 1871 unification that created the country of Germany). By the early 1900's the immigration surge was clearly abating, and by 1930 the immigration wave of PAGEL family members was largely over (Note : Actual counts may differ somewhat, since both the original census taker's spelling of the name and later transcriptions of census data may contain errors):
|Year|| ||Persons in U.S. with PAGEL Surname|
| || || |
|1890|| ||(census destroyed in a fire)|
| || || |
A similar picture emerges when one reviews the New York passenger lists over the same period. While such passenger counts do not capture all persons since they may have landed at a different port, and include visitors as well as immigrants - especially for years after 1900 - they are certainly indicative of trends.
|Year : || ||PAGEL Surname on Passenger Lists|
| || || |
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Where did the immigrant PAGEL families go when they arrived in the U.S.? A closer study of the census records indicates the following distribution, by state :
|Year||Penn.||Texas ||Wisconsin ||Michigan ||Minnesota ||Iowa ||Illinois ||New York||Ohio||Other|| |
|1850||10||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||1 ||3|| |
|1860||11||16 ||8 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||3 ||1 ||1|| |
|1870||28||35 ||71 ||24 ||16 ||6 ||13 ||9 ||8 ||13|| |
|1880||27||56 ||151 ||57 ||45 ||62 ||26 ||58 ||22 ||42|| |
|1900||45||98 ||577 ||147 ||132 ||100 ||112 ||75 ||52 ||203|| |
|1910||73||112 ||711 ||172 ||211 ||139 ||135 ||120 ||75 ||319|| |
|1920||91||121 ||889 ||212 ||264 ||154 ||117 ||95 ||106 ||452|| |
Analysis of the state by state distribution shows that while the Pagels in the 1850 census were all in Pennsylvania or other eastern states, they did not participate thereafter in the emigration from Germany. In 1860 there were 11 Pagels in Pennsylvania (Northampton & Philadeplphia count1es), with new immigrant families appearing in Erie Co., NY (3 people), 16 Pagels in Texas (LoVaca and Colorado counties) and 8 in Wisconsin (Marathon & Ozaukee counties). Almost all immigrants indicated they were born in Prussia.
Just ten years later, the real wave of Pagel immigration had begun. Among the new arrivals were 16 Pagels in Minnesota; 13 in Illinois; 4 in Indiana; 6 in Iowa; 24 in Michigan; 3 in Nebraska; and 8 in Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. There were now 28 Pagels in Pennsylvania, and the number of Pagels in Texas has doubled to 32. But by far the largest concentration was now found in Wisconsin, where 70 Pagels were primarily concentrated in Dodge, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Marathon and Milwaukee counties. Almost all families indicated they had come from Prussia, with a much smaller proportion indicating they had come from Mecklenburg.
The number of Pagels in the U.S. more than doubled again between 1870 and 1880, as not only was the Pagel emigration from Germany to the U.S. continuing, but a great many children were born to those who had arrived in the prior decade. Wisconsin again headed the list of states with Pagel families, their population at least 3 times as large as any of the next largest states. That relationship continued in succeeding decades, so that by 1920 roughly 1/3 of all persons named Pagel lived in Wisconsin. The next largest concentrations were in other farm states like Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, New York and Ohio, another clear indication the Pagels were largely farmers when they first arrived in the U.S.
Earlier immigrant migrations of families to America often found a single family being the progenitor of a large proportion of the succeeding ganerations of families with their surname. But clearly that was not the case for the Pagels of America, for the census and other data indicates that a large number of different families all arrived within a short 40 to 50 year time period. They also shared many characteristics such having come from Prussia (or less likely, from Mecklenburg), being predominantly farmers and thus preferring to settle in farm and dairy states, and typically arriving as families with sons and daughters nearing adulthood. But there is no indication that the families who settled in different parts of the country were closely related, nor is there clear evidence that even the many different families who settled in the same state within decades of each other were related.
It is hoped that some enterprising member of the Pagel family will travel to Germany and review the various church and other records that are believed to still exist, that may provide new insight into how the many disparate Pagel families who can trace their origins to Prussia and Mecklenburg may be related.
|Source(s): PAGEL family notes as maintained by Terry J. Booth. U.S. Census records, as transcribed on the ancestry.com online database as compiled by the U.S. Department of Commerce. New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957, from the ancestry.com online database as compiled from Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.; and Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls); Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C.|