About This Project

Discovering German Roots in Georgia is designed to shed light on the Salzburgers, the first German-speaking settlers in the colony of Georgia, who established a fairly prosperous community in New Ebenezer—a settlement lying roughly 35 miles northwest of Savannah. We hope to provide a new perspective on the long-standing presence of German in Georgia and to increase awareness and appreciation of an important, but neglected chapter of Georgia history. Our primary interest is to help answer these questions:

  • why the Salzburgers left their homeland;

  • why they decided to come to the New World;

  • how they came to terms with the challenges of living in uncharted territory;

  • how they preserved their language and culture;

  • the kinds of contributions they made to the new colony; and

  • how this early German community has left its imprint on Georgia.

  • The success of this project depends on the collaboration of teachers and students. We hope that teachers will integrate the proposed exercises in their classroom instruction annually during German-American week. We hope that students will contribute their research, compositions, sketches, photos, and videos to the wiki that accompanies this website. In this way, each successive class of students who explore this topic will have a more solid foundation on which this project can be refined and expanded.

    This project is being conducted by the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German, with the approval and financial support of the national organization. AATG is the only national individual-membership organization dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the language, literature, and culture of the German-speaking countries. It believes that bringing the language, literatures and cultures of the German-speaking world to all Americans is a vital humanistic endeavor which serves essential national interests. AATG-GA is the statewide chapter that subscribes to this mission statement and actively promotes the study and teaching of German in the state of Georgia.