Until the early 1900s, the majority of the population in the Germanic states was engaged in agriculture. Thus, most of us with Germanic heritage will have at least some ancestors engaged in farming. German farm customs were different from those in America and German farmers were tied to their land in ways that American farmers were not. Particularly in the earlier years, the history of your family's farm was integral to the history of your family.
Gail Blankenau is an experienced genealogist, speaker and author. Her publications include articles in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and The Genealogist. She is also a contributor to Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy magazines. Based in Nebraska, she specializes in Nebraska records, Midwestern roots, German genealogy, land records, 19th-Century photographs and tracing lineages. More than half her ancestors came from New England, but she has roots in almost every state east of the Mississippi.