Emigration to America

During the middle portion of the 19th century (1820-1880), thousands of Western Europeans left their homelands to settle in the United States and Canada. Many of the early immigrants to America found new homes, new land, and new prosperity. As they settled into their new lives, they were anxious to spread the word of their new freedom and prosperity to friends and family back in their home countries.

The early te Selle family emigrants from Winterswijk were definitely a part of this wave of human migration. The page called “Early te Selle Emigrants” lists the names of various family members who came to the United States, and shows the states where they eventually settled.

Why did so many members of the te Selle family decide to leave Winterswijk and seek new opportunities in the unknown territories of America? For more insight into that issue, please read the fascinating article entitled, “Reasons to Emigrate”.

The Atlantic crossing was perilous and uncertain for many of these emigrants. Some were seeing the ocean for the first time, as they were herded aboard overcrowded sailing vessels. Read “Voyage to America” to learn more about the adventures of the brothers Jan Hendrik and Harmen Jan te Selle as they traveled from Winterswijk through Liverpool and on to America in 1865 aboard the SS Helvetia. If you have additional stories about the voyage to America of your own te Selle ancestors, please send us the stories and memorabilia.

As the te Selle family members arrived in the United States, they would initially seek out Dutch communities of family and friends that could help them get settled. Many settled initially near Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Gradually, some of the new American immigrants would leave those first communities and set out on their own to find new land and new opportunities. Te Selle family members quickly spread to other states, such as Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, and Washington. In this “America” portion of the website, there are sections devoted to each of the states where a significant number of Te Selles have settled. Please read the sections that you find most interesting. Help make those sections even more interesting by sharing with us your own photos, stories, documents, and other memorabilia about the Te Selle migration.

As the years have passed since the initial wave of Te Selle immigrants, descendants of those immigrants have decided to travel back to Winterswijk to learn more about their family history and roots. Have you been back to Winterswijk to see where the family began? Read stories of Te Selle visitors to Winterswijk, and send us the stories and photos from your own visit.