Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 2019


McCoy, P. (2019). Ethnic Migration and Cultural Maintenance in Eastern European Ethnic Enclaves in Nebraska: The Poles in Omaha, Germans from Russia in Lincoln, and Czechs in Wilber from 1860-1920. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Paige McCoy 2019.


This thesis examines whether three Eastern European ethnic enclaves within Nebraska assisted in cultural maintenance and stalled assimilation, looking specifically at enclaves of the Germans from Russia in Lincoln, the Poles in Omaha, and the Czechs in Wilber. These groups were selected due to differences in their location, with a larger city (Omaha), the capital city (Lincoln), and a small rural town (Wilber). In order to narrow down the time frame, this thesis focuses on the years from 1860-1920 in these enclaves. First, I determined that these clusters of immigrants were indeed ethnic enclaves, by using a primary source base of newspapers, city directories, maps, and oral histories. In order to understand spatial and locational aspects of the enclaves, important areas and places were situated on a map on ArcGIS, with pictures of the map featured in the thesis to allow for better understanding of the area discussed. I next determined whether these ethnic enclaves did assist in the maintenance of the immigrants’ culture and traditions, looking at aspects within the enclaves like religion, language, education, and organizations, to see if active participation in these facets of their lives maintained their culture and traditions in the face of the surrounding mainstream culture. I concluded that these aspects of ethnic enclaves do keep the immigrants from immediately assimilating fully into the main culture, showing that ethnic enclaves assist in cultural maintenance.