I am writing a novel and one of the characters is a young German man based losely on the stories I heard from my grandmother and great grandmother. He left Germany in the early 1880s because he was the second born son in a noble german/prussian family. Because of his birth position, he was required to become a priest in the Church, but he had fallen in love with an English girl, so before he was ordained, he ran away to London to marry her. (Later they came to New York.) His older brother, the first born son, had gone into the German/Prussian military as an officer.
Of course this is a romantic story told from one generation to the next.
What I am trying to find out is if this "birth-order-determines-a-son's-destiny" was a standard within noble families or if this might be a unique situation within one particular family.
In the research I have uncovered, I've learned that few of the nobility actually left their country and that many Americans love to think we had nobility in our ancestry, (much like we'd be someone famous if we had a previous life.)
I actually have never found any specific information on the individuals, so it's likely the entire story was made up.
It would wonderful, however, to be historically accurate with the details surrounding my run-away German character. The man can be fiction, but the scenario should not be.
Thank you for any help or direction you can give.