Old family legend has it that the Herschbach family in the United States are descended from two brothers who immigrated from what was to become Germany.
Heinrich Herschbach and his wife Susanna arrived in New York on August 24, 1842. They boarded the ship Sally in Havre, France. They were accompanied by their children Heinrich, Mary, and Elizabeth. Thomas, Joseph, and Peter were born in the United States. Descendents of this line are mainly concentrated in Minnesota.
Sixteen months later on January 13, 1844, Gerhard Herschbach, along with his wife Anna Josepha Scheid and their daughter Anna, arrived in New York on the Belgian ship Harriet. They had six sons in the United States; William, Charles, Henry, Frederick, Robert, and August. Descendents of this line are concentrated in the Illinois / Missouri, California, and Texas areas, with scatterings elsewhere.
It is my belief, as yet undocumented, that Henry and Gerhard were brothers. This is evidenced by their arrival in the United States at nearly the same time, and then both settling in the same area in Illinois / Missouri. When the rather rare family name is considered, this seems to be more than a coincidence, and supports family legend.
I have no information on why the Herschbach family came to the United States. In the 1840's, Germany was not so much a united nation but a confederation of independent states. The Industrial Revolution was underway, and a great deal of social unrest and religious persecution existed. The common people of the German states felt that they deserved basic human rights. Shortly after Heinrich and Gerhard left Germany, what is referred to as the "German Revolutions" occurred. The result was that most of the German states were granted more liberal governments. It was against this background that Henrich and Gerhard decided to leave their homeland for a new beginning.
Here is my best estimate of the early family tree. A more detailed family tree may be found at the Herschbach Family Tree page. The evidence I have for the early family history is detailed in the links below. Any new documentation would be extremely helpful. I am especially desiring to document a link between Heinrich and Gerhard. My thanks in advance for any help you can provide. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilhelm Herschbach + Anna Catharina Eussems
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