A story of an Immigrant

ImmigrationThe United States is full of people who can trace their ancestors back to England, Ireland, Scotland, etc. We are a relatively “new” country in the sense that we have only been around for a few hundred years. So, all of us can probably find ancestors in our history who became immigrants to the United States and thus started our American heritage.

In my husband’s family, he doesn’t even have to trace his Russian roots back that far. His grandmother was born in Russia, and her parents became immigrants when she was just 8 years old. Although she doesn’t remember too much about her life in Russia as a child, she still has strong Russian roots and loves to cook Russian food, and even still speaks a little Russian even though she is now in her eighties.

The beauty of this country is that we are so diverse. So, why not create a page or two in your heritage album about those people in your history that immigrated to the United States from another country? Their stories will undoubtedly affect you and generations to come as you document them.

Depending on how far back you have to go to get the information, it could take some work. Start with asking family members that you know about your ancestors. Ask if they have any photographs of those that traveled to the US. You can make copies of them for your pages. A few of the things that you could work on finding out for your scrapbook pages include the following:

How did they get here?

Did they have to save up money for their passage?

What did they miss about leaving their native country?

Was learning English a challenge?

What were the hardships they experienced during their voyage?

Why did they want to come to the United States?

What type of work were they able to secure once they got here?

Where did they live? How was their home here different than in their native country?

How did they decide where to settle?

I love to think about the 15 million or so immigrants that flooded the United States during the early to late 1800s. What were their stories? Was the United States everything they had hoped for? I had the opportunity to visit Ellis Island in New York a few years ago, and still remember the images of the people that made that sacrifice to come to this country. Who knows? Maybe one of my ancestor’s photos is among the many you can see there. But, you won’t know until you do some digging. And, once you do, you will definitely want to include what you find in the pages of your heritage album.

Meredith Ethington is the author of this blog. To learn more about Meredith, and her history with Scrapbooking and Genealogy, go here.

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