Our latest historical project is a video series on Austrian Burgenlanders who started immigrating to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley in the 1890s to create one of the largest enclave of German speaking Burgenlanders anywhere in the United States.
Burgenlander surnames names are spread throughout the Lehigh Valley in communities such as Allentown, Northampton and Coplay, where the cement, steel, brewery, railroad and meat packing industries provided them work. Cheap labor was in great demand and Burgenland immigrants would work for low pay as they strived for a better life in America.
Some Burgenlander surenames common in the Lehigh Valley are Hallemann, Trinkle, Fischl, Decker, Deutsch, Frantz, Franz, Reimer, Mattes, Unger, Zotter, Wirth, Weber, Lang, Holler, Koch, Goldschmit, Pfeifer, Schmit, Wagner, Perl, Muhr, Fuchs, Fandl, Schleider, Kurz, Leitgeb, Ernst, Fandl, Kallich, Hanzl, Rossler, Wiesner, Zodl, Schreiner, Hacker, Koenign, Kanz, Bauer, Pummer, Dopler, Braun, Fraf, Jost, Groller or Groeller, Strobel, Kren, Reichil, Follmann, and Lackner.
Our video series will document the Austrian-Hungary Burgenlander culture that has had a significant influence on the Lehigh Valley, via the social clubs and churches they founded, the industries they supported and the multi-generational families they created. This culture is quickly being lost to time as native born “Burgenlanders” pass on and American born generations lose connections and interest with their Austrian roots. Austria’s loss has now become Americas gain.
Our video will be a five (5) part series covering the following topics: (click titles to view videos)
- Part One – Treacherous Train and Steamship Travel to Amerika. (coming soon)
- Part Two – German Spoken Here: Learning English & German Language Church (click to view video)
- Part Three – Living in Allentown’s Burgenlander Wards in the 1930s and 1940s (coming soon)
- Part Four – Industries Laborers: Working Hard in Lehigh Valley Factories (coming soon)
- Part Five – Social Clubs and Drinking as a Cultural Norm (coming soon)