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Background


Information for learners

Many people from all parts of Wales emigrated to America in the first half of the nineteenth century. The state of Ohio became a popular place for settlement, particularly among people from rural Wales. Around 2,500 - 3000 Welsh people emigrated from Cardiganshire (now Ceredigion) to Ohio between the years 1835 and 1850. By 1850 there were almost 30,000 Welsh people living in the United States of America, with a substantial percentage of these living in Ohio. Over the next 40 years the number of Welsh people in the United States of America trebled to 100,000 in 1890.

Important centers of settlement in Ohio were Paddy's Run, Oak Hill, Gomer and the cities - Cincinnati and Columbus. Many of the Welsh began to settle in groups, creating Welsh areas in Ohio, preserving Welsh traditions, and continuing to speak Welsh for a long time. Many descendants of the nineteenth-century settlers still live in Ohio today.

The majority of the Welsh people who emigrated to Ohio during the first half of the nineteenth century were farmers, farm tenants, or farm workers. Very many of them had never owned land before, and they began buying land as soon as they arrived in Ohio. Their first task was to clear the timber and the forests so as to be able to farm the land. Some families who could not afford to buy land faced poverty and hard times.

Digital Stories

The Digital Stories introduce important sources and information about the history of the Welsh settlers in Ohio, and they will help you to understand what life was like for the immigrants. More information and sources can also be found in the Digital Library.
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