Rock Island County, Illinois Genealogy Trails

Immigration

Immigrants came to Rock Island County from many countries between 1840 and 1921 when new immigration laws required that an immigrant be related to someone already here.

They came from Ireland, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, and Sweden primarily. Most knew little English and settled near relatives and friends who had come at an earlier time. This helped them overcome the language barrier.

These ethnic groups may have come for religious freedom, but it is more likely they formed churches because of a common language. Besides its religious significance, the church provided an important social activity for the friends and family of these hard working immigrants. Almost all of the early churches in Rock Island county were related to a particular ethnic culture.

After John Deere moved his plow business to Moline many Swedes came to the Quad City area, especially Moline. They were well suited for working in the Deere factories because of their ability to work with steel. As new immigrants they didn't know much English. The story goes that they only recognized one phrase, so when the train conductor called out "John Deere town" all the Swedes got off! .

Many settlers from Great Britain settled in Rock Island, because they came up the Mississippi rather than overland.
 

Swedish Recipes and other Traditions

Swedes in Moline

Swedes in Rock Island

 Irish of Rock Island County

 

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Rock Island County, Illinois
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