Resource Guide: Finding the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors Barry J. Ewell

Resource Guide:
Finding the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors
Barry J. Ewell
[email protected]
Last Edit: March 23, 2007
INDEX
Introduction: Where are Permitt Lee and Maxey Ewell?
How to Use this Presentation
Definitions to Remember
A Methodology:
How to Find the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors
Step 1: Identify Important Information
to Know About Your Ancestor
Step 2: Start a Profile and Timeline of Your Ancestor
Step 3: Start Your Document/Record Search in America
Step 4: Review and Learn about Immigration Patterns
A Few Words about Maps
Beginning your Search
Step 5: Review Your Data: Is It Time to Track
Your Ancestor in the Country of Origin?
What Records to Search and Why:
Using the Paper Trail of Your Immigrant Ancestors
to Find Their Origins
Federal Census Records
How to use Census Records
Starting Points for Further Research
Death Records
How to Use Death Records
Starting Points for Further Research
U.S. Naturalization Records
Pre-1906
Post-1906
How to Use Naturalization Records
Starting Points for Further Research
Ship's Passenger Lists
Prior to 1820
Between 1820 to about 1891
About 1891 to 1957
Available Immigration Passenger Lists
How to Use Passenger Lists
Starting Points for Further Research
Passport Applications
Starting Points for Further Research
Other Immigration Lists
Page
8
9
9
10
10
11
12
12
13
13
14
15
15
15
16
16
16
16
17
17
17
17
18
18
18
19
19
19
20
21
21
21
22
1
Probate Records
How to Use Probate Records
Starting Points for Further Research
Land Grants and Transfers
How to Use Land Records
Starting Points for Further Research
Social Security Applications
Starting Points for Further Research
Social Security Death Index
Starting Points for Further Research
Societies
Lineage/Hereditary Societies
Immigrant and Early Settler Societies
European Ancestry Societies
Nationality or Ethnic Lineage Societies
Genealogical Societies
Society Publications
Starting Points for Further Research
Military Records
Service Records
How to Use Service Records
Pension Records
How to Use Pension Records
Military History
Starting Points for Further Research
Cemeteries
How to Use Tombstones and Sexton Records
Starting Points for Further Research
Obituaries
Immigrant Church Records
Where to Find Archives for Major
U.S. Religious Denominations
Starting Points for Further Research
Township, City, County, and State
Histories and Biographies
Starting Points for Further Research
Colonial Town Records
Using Maps and Gazetteers to Help
Find Ancestor Origins
Locate Record Locations
Identify Changing Boundaries
Recognize Changes in Place Names
Topographical Features
Plot the Migration Patterns of Ethnic Group and Ancestors
Starting Points for Further Research
How to find your ancestor when you
hit a “brickwall” and you’re out of clues
Step 1: What do you know about your family?
Step 2: Find out what has been written
about the immigration/migration of
22
22
23
23
23
24
24
25
25
26
26
26
26
27
27
27
27
27
28
28
29
29
29
30
30
31
33
34
34
36
38
38
38
38
39
39
40
40
40
41
41
41
41
42
43
43
2
your ancestors country men.
Step 3: Learn what you can about immigration
patterns of the group/people from
which your family belonged.
Step 4: Compile what you have learned.
Step 5: Start a Systematic Search.
Start your search in America.
When ready, start your search in the country of origin.
43
43
44
44
44
44
Immigration/Migration Patterns:
Revealing Clues to Finding the Origin
of Your Immigrant Ancestors
47
Immigration/Migration Patterns
for the Genealogists: Think like a Historian
America: People on the Move
Starting Points for Further Research
African American Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
(Old Jones Naming Pattern)
Arab World Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Asian Indian, Korean, and Southeast Asian Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Czechs and Slovaks Immigration
Danish Immigration
Why and when did they come?
Where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Dutch Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
When and why did they come?
Where did they settle?
What was their religious background?
What were their social and work conditions?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Eastern European Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
English Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Why did they come?
When did they come?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
New England & Virginia Naming Patterns
Are there unique groups to remember?
What was their religious background?
47
47
49
50
50
50
51
52
52
52
53
53
54
54
55
56
56
56
56
56
58
58
58
59
59
60
60
61
61
62
62
62
63
63
64
64
64
3
Puritans
Where did the Puritans come from?
Finnish Immigration
When did they come and where did they settle?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Forced Migrations
When did they come and where did they settle?
French Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
When and why did they come?
New France
Louisiana
French Americans
Where did they settle?
What was their religious background?
German Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Why did they come?
When did they come?
Where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
What was their religious background?
Are there other unique groups to remember?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Greek Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Why did they come?
When did they come?
Where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
Hungarian Immigration
Why did they come and where did they settle?
Icelandic Immigration
When did they come and where did they settle?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Irish Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Why did they come?
When did they come?
Where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
What was their religious background?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Italian Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
When did they come and where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Jewish Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
64
65
67
67
67
69
69
71
71
71
71
72
73
73
74
76
76
76
76
77
78
78
79
79
80
80
80
80
80
81
83
83
84
84
84
85
85
85
86
87
87
88
89
90
90
90
91
92
93
93
93
4
Latino and Caribbean Migration and Immigration
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Mexican Immigration
Norwegian Immigration
Why did they come?
When did they come?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Polish Immigration
Why did they come and where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
What was their religious background?
Russian Immigration
Why and when did they come?
Where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
What was their religious background?
Scandinavian Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
When did they come?
Where did they settle?
What were their social and work conditions?
What were the naming patterns?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Scottish and Scotts-Irish Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
Scottish
When and why did they come?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
The Scotch-Irish
When and why did they come?
Where did they come from?
Where did they settle?
What was their religious background?
What were the naming patterns?
Additional Notes
Starting Points for Further Research
Research Libraries and Societies
Helpful Websites
Swedish immigration
Why did they come?
When did they come and where did they settle?
What were the naming patterns?
Welch Immigration
Why and when did they come?
Where did they settle?
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Westward Migration 1783-1912
1783–1912: When and why did they come?
Starting Points for Further Research on Migration
Migration Charts
Roads and Trails
94
94
95
96
96
96
96
98
98
99
99
101
101
102
103
103
105
105
105
106
106
106
106
108
108
108
108
109
110
110
111
111
111
112
112
113
113
114
116
116
116
117
118
118
118
118
120
120
120
121
121
5
Migrations From the Eastern States 1780s to 1840s
The Oregon Trail
Starting Points for Further Research
California Gold Rush
Starting Points for Further Research
Orphan Trains
Starting Points for Further Research
On the move: Life on Wagon Trains
Railroads
Starting Points for Further Research
Mail systems
Starting Points for Further Research
Homestead Act
Starting Points for Further Research
The Dust Bowl and the Okie Migration
Starting Points for Further Research
1000 Year North American Immigration Timeline: 1000 to 2002
123
125
126
127
128
129
129
130
133
133
134
134
135
135
136
136
138
State, County, and City Histories
Example of State History
Virginia History
Colonization
Royal Rule
Revolutionary Period
Post-Revolutionary Period
Civil War and Reconstruction
20th Century
Commonwealth
Starting Points for Further Research
SHG Resources: State History, 50 States
146
146
146
146
146
147
148
148
149
150
150
150
A Few Additional Resources by State
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
151
151
151
151
151
151
151
151
151
151
151
151
152
152
152
153
153
153
153
153
6
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
153
153
153
154
154
154
154
155
155
155
155
155
155
155
155
155
156
156
156
156
156
156
156
156
156
156
156
Just in Case: Important Research Notes
and Practices for Finding Immigrant Ancestors
Learn How to Use the Web in Your Research
Research From your Desktop
Starting Points for Further Research
Search Engines
Online Databases
Learn to Use Google and Refine
Your Skills in Internet Searches
Verify Your Data
Field Research Is Still A Required genealogy Skill
In Search of a Name: A Few Helpful Reminders
Finding Clues in Family Naming Patterns
How to Increase Your Success in Finding the Ancestors Maiden Name
Starting Points for Further Research
Understanding Old Script
158
158
158
158
158
159
159
160
160
160
161
161
162
164
164
Resource
158
7
Ancestor Immigration and Migration
Keys to Unlocking Our Family History
Barry J. Ewell
[email protected]
Last Edit: March 23, 2007
Presentation Description
Where did your ancestors come from or live? Learn how you can use this information to understand your
heritage, important family decisions of the past, find genealogy records and so much more. Topics range
from questions to ask, where to search and find answers, and how to analyze historic information.
The following material is a compilation of personal experience and resources.
Introduction: Where are Permitt Lee and Maxey Ewell?
As a genealogist I have experienced the frustration of coming to an ancestor (in my case, Permitt
Lee, and Maxey Ewell), for which there seems to be no link to the old country or land of birth.
As I have consulted with other family genealogists, I have been in awe at the length our family
has gone to find our roots to no avail. I have searched on-line, collaborated through the message
boards, and traveled to the place of our family’s beginnings in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North
Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia. I have found and developed an extensive paper trail of the
family, and did find important clues, but not close enough to where I felt I was ready to jump my
search over the sea to my suspect home land.
After some thought, I decided to step away from my search and learn all I could about “How to
Find the Birthplace of My Ancestors. I researched
•
•
•
Methodologies, what others have done and suggested for searching for the homeland.
Records/artifacts that can reveal important clues that pinpoint or narrow the scope of ones
search.
How understanding immigration/migration patterns of ones ethnic heritage at a time and
place can yield rich insight not found in a document.
My search took me through hundreds of internet sites, books, and oral discussions. I was
overwhelmed at the massive amount of material that exists. When I finished, I understood how
documents, immigration patterns, and research methodology would combine to help find
ancestors. I had clarity of how to re-evaluate what I had, see the gaps and opportunities for
further research, and renewed hope that I would find the answers.
The design of this paper is to share with you a consolidated overview of my findings which are a
compilation of many talented experts in the field of genealogy and history. I have expanded my
original research so that I might be able to give other genealogists clues, ideas and direction for
finding their ancestors. While I would like to say I have every answer for every question you will
face, I can say you will have a good start of where to go next.
How to Use this Presentation
8
As you search for your ancestors, realize that it will take a combination of methodology,
tools/resources, and knowledge about your ethnic history to find your family roots. This
presentation is divided into the following sections to help you begin, continue, or renew your
search.
•
A Methodology: How to Find the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors
•
What Records to Search and Why:
Using the Paper Trail of Your Immigrant Ancestors to Find Their Origins
•
Immigration/Migration Patterns:
Revealing Clues to Finding the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors
•
Just in Case: Important Research Notes and Practices for Finding Immigrant Ancestors
Definitions to Remember
Assimilation. The way that someone who comes from a foreign land or culture becomes
absorbed into a culture and learns to blend into the ways of its predominant, or main, society.
Colony. A group of people living as a political community in a land away from their home
country but ruled by the home country.
Emigration. Leaving one's country to go to another country with the intention of living there.
Exiles. People who have been sent away from their homeland.
Immigration. To travel to a country of which one is not a native with the intention of settling
there as a permanent resident.
Migration. To move from one place to another, not necessarily across national borders.
Overlanders. People traveling west by land rather than by sea.
Topography. The surface features of a region, such as mountains, plateaus, or basins.
9
A Methodology:
How to Find the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors
Genealogy is a process, a methodology, for finding our ancestors. There are many tools
available, but it’s knowing what to use and when to use the tool that makes the difference.
I remember many years ago as a Boy Scout, a member of our troop became lost. The first thing
many of us did was rush right out and start looking in the wilderness and calling out his name.
We had no record of who had gone where, or what if anything was found. Any evidence that
may have been found was trampled over. As evening came, we built large bonfires, hoping he
might see us in the dark. As the morning came, we gathered as a troop and discussed what we
remember and what we know about his last where abouts. Next, we formed ourselves into groups
being led by an adult with one adult being the coordinator of our efforts. Each group was
assigned a specific area or quadrant to search. As we searched each quadrant, we either found a
clue of where he might be or where he wasn’t. As the day wore on, we found him asleep on the
trail not more than a mile from camp, a happy ending. The happy ending resulted not from our
hurry and scurry of the previous day but from a systematic method of searching that began the
next morning. The following is an approach to finding your ancestors through immigration
records.
Step 1: Identify Important Information to Know About Your Ancestor
What do you know about your ancestor? Gather and review all the documents you have relating
to your ancestor. I personally like to develop a spreadsheet that allows me to record each piece of
information by date. The following are a few questions to get started to review the information
you currently have:
1. What is the full name of ancestor? Was the name changed when they came to America?
If yes, identify what the name was before it was changed?
• Name of ancestor
• Name changes -- both given and surnames
2. What are the names of immediate family?
• Names of the parents and their birth places
• Names of siblings
• Name of spouse (s)
• Names of children
• Common names given to family members.
3. Identify the name of friends and relatives that are associated with your ancestor in
American and in the country of origin. It is a great help in making sure you have found
your ancestor when you find them together in the country from which they immigrated.
• Names of family and friends with whom they associated.
4. Identify an event (e.g., date, month, year [be as specific as possible]) associated with your
ancestor (e.g., birth, christening, marriage) which occurred in the country of origin. I
have found especially in the Scandinavian research many individuals may have the same
name and the only way to tell them apart is by the event date.
• Birth date/locality
5. What was the country of origin? Do you have the name of a village, town, and county?
This can be the most difficult piece of information to secure.
10
•
•
•
Localities lived in
Geographical clues
Historical clues
6. Was the ancestor you are searching for, really the first one to come to America? I have
found cases when my ancestor was a member of the family that came to America.
7. What other information do you have?
• Documents in your possession
• Information about culture and religion
• Time period of immigration
• Family stories and traditions
• Family heirlooms
Step 2: Start a Profile and Timeline of Your Ancestor
Take the information you know and begin a written profile and timeline. Use an existing form or
create one of your own to help track your ancestor’s information and what you find. Make sure
you also document where you find the information you record as the need will always arise to
review at least one of your data points to confirm or search deeper for information. I believe you
should record any and all information you learn about your ancestor not matter how insignificant
you consider it. Not only will it help in your search but once you find them, it will help in writing
family histories. The following are the types of information you should be finding:
• Name of ancestor
• Name changes -- both given and surnames
• Names of Parents and their birth places
• Names if siblings
• Name of spouse (s)
• Names of children
• Common names give to family members
• Names of family and friends with whom they associated
• Birth date/locality
• Localities lived in
• Geographical clues
• Historical clues
• Documents in your possession
• Information about culture and religion
• Time period of immigration
• Family stories and traditions
• Family heirlooms
At this point you should be able to clearly see some trends in your ancestor’s life. The types of
documents you are able to find are dependent upon where they live and time frame. Doublecheck that you've reviewed every document you have on your ancestor; this includes letters,
diaries, photographs in your files and in the possession of your relatives. Check the online
message boards for correspondence that you may not be aware of. Your ancestor’s life is
recreated one event at a time.
Now that you have your information written down, develop a timeline starting from their death
and moving toward their birth (reverse chronologically). What do you see? Any trends? What
11
don’t you see? What gaps do you see in the information? Write down “all” the questions you
still need and want to answer. No question is too small or out of bounds.
Don’t forget to include a search for items such as histories, sketches, photographs, letters, and
diaries as part of your search. Documents can be online, in libraries, or in a distant cousin’s file.
Step 3: Start Your Document/Record Search in America
Once you are fairly certain about the ancestor for which you are going to search, begin in
America to find records that will provide and confirm important information about your ancestor
and lead you where to look for records from countries of origin.
Based on the time period in which your ancestor lived, outline some of the documents that might
exist for your ancestor and where they might exist to help fill in the gaps and answer your
questions. Start with the paper trail you already have for your ancestor. You won’t be looking
for a birth certificate if your ancestor’s life predates civil registration. Start with the basics —
birth, marriage and death records, church documents, indentures, land records, court records and,
of course, immigration materials.
Try to find at least two records, more if possible, of your ancestors to help confirm and
collaborate information provided. Throughout your search, you will be exposed to resources that
range from oral discussions to information that you find in print, online, and on other types of
media (e.g., CD’s, tapes). It is important to always ask questions such as:
• What is fact? What is suspicion?
• Did I search for the entire family?
• Did I search a broad time period in this record?
• Did I search a wide enough geographical area?
• Did I search every location they lived in covered by this record?
• Did I search variant spellings of names in this record?
• Did I search for and record neighbors, family, and friends found in this record?
• Did I search for and use indexes?
• Do you understand this resource/record’s intention, what it offers, how it’s put together
and its limitation?
As you gather and review information, continue to add to your current ancestor profile and
timeline. Keep a detailed log of where you have been. As you continue the search you will
check-off questions answered and add new questions based on your findings. Keeping this list
up-to-date is vital to keeping focused and helping to shed light at times when you need
inspiration.
Step 4: Review and Learn about Immigration Patterns
One of the most important considerations in finding our ancestor is immigration research.
Look at immigration from an historian’s point of view and not from the genealogical point of
view. You’re trying to understand what your ancestors did and why. As a genealogist, you
wonder why your ancestors migrated. You look for clues that might direct you to the birthplace in
the country of origin. As genealogists the first thing we do is start searching through deeds, wills,
bible records, and other such documents. Documents can tell that your ancestor sold his property
from one person to another, but it does not tell why he picked up and moved from Virginia to
Tennessee. When you seek to understand immigration patterns of the time and people your
chances for success expand dramatically because you begin to understand what your family was
12
thinking, you see what other individuals were doing, where they were going, and where they
came from.
By learning about the immigration patterns for a specific ethnic group to which your ancestor
belonged in the time period they lived, you begin to see trends that correlate to your family such
as the ports they arrived at, the counties and cities from which they came and where they settled,
the reasons for decisions that were made, the types of records they left behind and where.
You start by answering the question:
• What was their ethnic background or group to which you think they belonged?
• Were they Puritans, Welch, or Germans?
Now you begin to answer the questions:
• Why did they come?
• When did they come?
• Where did the settle?
• What were their social and work conditions?
• What was their religious background?
• Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
A Few Words about Maps. Maps help trace the migration paths our ancestors took. More
detailed maps will show what routes were available at the time, including railroads, waterways,
early roads, etc. It is important to trace the path our ancestors took because there may have been
records created along the way. The naturalization process may have been started at the port of
entry, and the records may be scattered in stops along the route to the final destination. Ethnic and
religious groups often traveled together, and your ancestors' travels can be traced by tracking
others in their group. Also, on the long journey west in the United States, babies were born,
people married, and people died. There may have been records of events created along the way.
Beginning your Search.
Included in this paper are examples of immigration/migration profiles for the following countries
or regions. They provide an example of the type of information that is available to find the origin
of your ancestors as well as helping to better understand your ethnic heritage. See the section:
Immigration/Migration Patterns:
Revealing Clues to Finding the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestors
Profiles included:
1. African American Immigration
2. Arab World Immigration
3. Asian Indian, Korean, and Southeast Asian Immigration
4. Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Immigration
5. Czechs and Slovaks Immigration
6. Danish Immigration
7. Dutch Immigration
8. Eastern European Immigration
9. English Immigration
10. Finnish Immigration
11. Forced Migrations
a. African Americans
13
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
b. Arcadians
c. Japanese Americans WW II
d. Mormons
e. Native Americans
French Immigration
German Immigration
Greek Immigration
Hungarian Immigration
Icelandic Immigration
Irish Immigration
Italian Immigration
Jewish Immigration
Latino and Caribbean Migration and Immigration
Mexican Immigration
Norwegian Immigration
Polish Immigration
Russian Immigration
Scandinavian Immigration
Scottish and Scotts-Irish Immigration
Swedish Immigration
Welch Immigration
Westward Migration 1783-1912
a. Migrations From the Eastern States 1780s to 1840s
b. The Oregon Trail
c. California Gold Rush
d. Orphan Trains
e. On the move: Life on Wagon Trains
f. Railroads
g. Mail systems
h. Homestead Act
i. The Dust Bowl and the Okie Migration
1000 Year North American Immigration Timeline: 1000 to 2002
Example of State, County, and City Histories
Step 5: Review Your Data: Is It Time to Track Your Ancestor in the Country of Origin?
Review your data. At this point:
• You have confirmed the country of origin.
• You can put your ancestors in historical and social context.
• You have researched records and have developed a timeline of your ancestor’s life in the
new world.
• You’ve assigned a time period when the ancestor entered the country.
• Perhaps you can place your ancestor in a region, county, or city where they lived.
• Are you ready to start your search in the county of origin?
o If yes, congratulations. Now learn your resources and continue your search.
o If no, identify gaps and retrace your steps to see if you missed any important
clues. Often, it only takes one clue to get the break you need.
ƒ See the section: How to find your ancestor when you hit a “brickwall” and
you’re out of clues.
14
What Records to Search and Why:
Using the Paper Trail of Your Immigrant Ancestors
to Find Their Origins
The following are records and resources genealogists find extremely helpful and full of clues to
help find the birthplace of ancestors. The information provided is not listed in any particular
order. It is designed to provide a quick reference and direction of where to find and search for
records as probable places to find information.
Federal Census Records
Federal census records provide the building blocks of your research, allowing you to both
confirm information, and to learn more. The following is an outline of the type of information
From 1790-1840, only the head of household is listed and the number of household members in
selected age groups.
From 1850 to 1930, details are provided for all individuals in each household, such as:
• Names of family members
• Ages at a certain point in time
• State or country of birth
• Parent's birthplaces
• Year of immigration
• Street address
• Marriage status and years of marriage
• Occupation(s)
• Value of their home and personal belongings
• Crops that they grew (in agricultural schedules), etc.
How to use Census Records
Use naturalization records to
• Track your ancestors' movement over time
• Find names and rough birth years
• Determine relationships
• Learn birthplaces
• Find clues to the previous generation (e.g., birthplace)
• Learn street address
• Learn whether a slave or a slave owner
• Learn occupations
• Learn other country of birth
• Learn of other children who likely died young
• Learn year of immigration and/or naturalization
• Note naming patterns in your family
• Find clues to your family's economic status
• Find some clues to education
• Find some clues to military service
• Find some clues to medical conditions
• Narrow year and place of marriage
15
•
•
•
•
•
Learn about employment status
Learn about exceptional circumstances, such as convicts and homeless children
Learn native tongue
Narrow death dates
Identify other potential branches of your family living nearby
Starting Points for Further Research
Entire books have been written about how to work with census data. And you can find answers
to any question you have about a particular census with a Google search. See the Appendix:
“Learn to Use the Census.” The following are starting points to assist with the census.
Familysearch.org
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp?PAGE=census/search_cen
sus.asp
Links to Online Census Records
http://www.census-online.com/links/
US Census Help, Links & Online Records
http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/censuslinks.html
The National Archives
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/
Death Records
Death certificates are usually the first source in which an official written account will reveal an
exact place and date of death, and a good chance of additional genealogical details, such as the
date and place of birth, name of father, maiden name of mother, name of spouse, social security
number, name of cemetery, funeral director, and the name of the informant (often a relative of the
deceased).
How to Use Death Records
Information is helpful to
• Find an approximate year of immigration or arrival in this locality
• Find an address to seek in deeds or city directories, locate on maps, or narrow your search
in an un-indexed census
• Identify employer records to pursue
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for searching for death records are as follows:
Where to Write for Vital Records
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm
United States Vital Records Information
http://www.vitalrec.com
Express Certificate Service
http://www.vitalchek.com
16
Ancestry.com
http://ancestry.com/search/
Rootsweb.com
http://resources.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/townco.cgi
U.S. Naturalization Records
Documenting that an individual was granted citizenship in the United States. Naturalization
records provide a way to find arrival information for immigrant ancestors. Recent naturalization
records (those issued after 1906) also contain other significant genealogical information. Many
immigrants did become naturalized. Because citizenship was required to own land, serve in
public office, or to vote. Information varies greatly among documents and time period.
Pre-1906
Documents/records pre-1906 vary greatly from state to state because there were not federal
standards. You should at least be able to find:
• Country of origin
• Port of arrival
• Port of embarkation
• Date of arrival in the United States
Post-1906
Documents post 1906 can include:
• Name
• Current address
• Occupation
• Birthplace or nationality
• Birth date or age
• Marital status
• Name, age, and birthplace of spouse
• Names, ages, and birthplaces of children
• State and port of emigration (departure)
• State and port of immigration (arrival)
• Name of ship or mode of entry
• Town or court where the naturalization occurred
• Names, addresses, and occupations of witnesses
• Physical description and photo of immigrant
• Immigrant's signature
• Witness names
• Immigration year
• Additional documentation such as evidence of a name change
How to Use Naturalization Records
Use naturalization records to
• Find the country of origin for your ancestor (Pre/Post 1906)
• Narrow the timeframe to search for a ship passenger arrival list (Pre/Post 1906)
• Find clues of relatives or neighbors (Pre/Post 1906)
17
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Find an ancestor's signature (Pre/Post 1906)
Perhaps find another version of your ancestor's name (Pre/Post 1906)
Learn exact village or town your ancestor came from (Post 1906)
Learn immigrant's birth date and/or place (Post 1906)
Learn details of arrival in U.S. (e.g., name of ship, date, port of arrival, etc.) in order
to find ancestor's ship arrival record (Post 1906)
Obtain or confirm names, dates and/or birthplaces of wife and children (Post 1906)
Learn occupation (Post 1906)
Find marriage details (Post 1906)
Find a photograph of the ancestor (Post 1906)
Find evidence of a name change (Post 1906)
Find reference to other courts where the "first papers" may have been filed
(suggesting immigrant lived elsewhere for a while) (Post 1906)
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for searching for Naturalization records are as follows:
Naturalization Records: Introduction and Links to Resources
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/naturalization/
Pledging Allegiance: Naturalization records by Julia M. Case, Myra Vanderpool
Gormley and & Rhonda McClure:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson16.htm
Ancestors: Immigration Records
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/records/immigration/extra1.html
Examples of naturalization papers:
http://members.aol.com/rprost/natural.html
Ship's Passenger Lists
Chances are your ancestors came to America in a ship. Every ship had record of its passengers
known as a passenger list or manifest, many of which exist today. The information available on
these lists varies over time.
Prior to 1820
Most sailing ships were cargo ships and the passenger list may be found among ships cargo
manifest. Ships sailed only when the cargo hold was full. There is no consistency to the type and
amount of information that exists. The manifests were normally deposited at the port of arrival
and were originally kept at these colonial ports. Many of these early records have been lost or
destroyed. If they exist you will find them distributed among libraries, historical societies,
museums and private hands. If you are fortunate to find them, the type of information you may
find includes:
• Country (possibly province, or exact town of origin)
• Date of arrival in the U.S.
• Family members or others who immigrated on the same ship
• Destination in the U.S.
• Occupation, age, and sex
• Ship's name, its master, its port of embarkation, and its port of arrival
18
Between 1820 to about 1891
After immigration to America increased, ships were being built especially for passenger traffic;
companies had regularly scheduled sailing dates. After 1840's, trans-oceanic steam powered
ships started to replace the sailing vessels which reduced the travel time from one-or-two months
or more to about two weeks.
Customs Passenger Lists were prepared by the ship's captain and were filed with the collector of
customs at the port of arrival. These lists were initially meant to serve for statistical purposes.
Except for a few ports, most of these passenger lists have survived. Information that may be
found includes:
• Country, province, or exact town of origin (About 10% of the lists may have an exact
town listed)
• Date of arrival in the U. S.
• Family members or others who immigrated on the same ship
• Destination in the U. S.
• Occupation, age, and sex
About 1891 to 1957
In 1892 Congress passed the first federal law regulating immigration followed in 1891 with the
Superintendent of Immigration being established which in 1906 became the Bureau of
Immigration and Naturalization. The records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
are called Immigration Passenger Lists. The 1891 list consisted of one page. Further
information was added in following years and the list became two pages in 1906. Information
found on these lists includes:
• Ship's name and date of arrival in America.
• Family members or others who immigrated on the same ship
• If going to join a relative, the relative's name, address, and relationship
• Birthplace (country and city), added in 1906
• Name and address of the alien's nearest relative in the country from which they came
was added in 1907
• Look closely for notes marked on the passenger lists. For example, some annotations
indicate the passenger was naturalized (possibly leading you to find the naturalization
record), other notes indicate they were detained. (Note: The detained passengers with
the reason for detention and including other information are generally listed on the
last sheet of the ship's manifest.) See: "Guide to Interpreting Passenger List
Annotations" http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Manifests/
Available Immigration Passenger Lists
The implementation of the new forms depended on many factors, including who was in charge of
the port. Some ports were immediately regulated by federal immigration officials while, for other
ports, federal officials contracted the administration to local officers. Typically any lists created
under the authority of the Immigration Bureau are considered Immigration Passenger Lists, even
though they may have begun at various times.
Although the National Archives has Immigration Passenger Lists for at least thirty-seven
different ports, many of those lists include only a few ships over a few years, such as
Panama City, Florida from 1927 to 1939. Three small Florida ports appear to have lists
for one day only! Virtually all modern immigrants arrived at one of seven different ports,
whose records have been acquired by the National Archives and are available on
19
microfilm. The following table identifies these major ports. Other ports, with significant
Immigration Passenger Lists on microfilm include Key West, FL; Providence, RI.
Immigration Passenger Lists in the National Archives
Ports
Baltimore, MD
Lists
1891-1957
1891-1943
1903-1945
Indexes
1897-1952
1902-1906, 1906-1920,
1899-1940
New Orleans,
LA
1897-1948
1900-1952
New York, NY
1883-1945
1897-1902, 1902-1948
Philadelphia,
PA
1893-1953, 19541957
1883-1948
San Francisco,
CA
1890-1957, 19491954
1893-1934
Boston, MA
Seattle, WA
Un-indexed
How to Use Passenger Lists
You can use ships passenger lists to
• Discover when your ancestor arrived in the U.S.
• Find out which country your ancestor was from
• Learn roughly when he or she was born
• Find the occupation of your ancestor
• Uncover family relationships
• Find evidence of chain migration
• Perhaps find the name of a county, town or place more specific than a country
• Learn the dividing line time-wise of when to focus your research in the U.S. and
when to focus on the country of origin
• Learn marital status
• Learn place of origin in the "old country"
• Find names and addresses of other family members
• Find clues to initial (perhaps temporary) settling places in the U.S.
• Learn of previous stays in the U.S. (leading to other arrival records)
• Determine literacy
• Get a feel for economic status
• Help reconstruct the immigrant journey and experience
• Seek clues for motivation of emigration (e.g., poverty, possibly avoiding draft in
home country, etc.)
• Learn of health problems
• Learn of family members who may have been turned back or who died before
formally entering the U.S. (e.g., at sea or at hospital)
• Learn of ancestors born at sea
• Discover an ancestor's physical appearance
• Learn the birth place
20
•
•
Learn of other places the ancestor may have lived before emigrating
Obtain information to lead to emigration records
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about Passenger Lists on the internet are as follows:
Emigration/Migration Ships and Trails Mailing Lists
http://www.rootsweb.com/~jfuller/gen_mail_emi.html
Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
http://home.att.net/%7Earnielang/shipgide.html
Passenger Lists on the Internet
http://members.aol.com/rprost/passenger.html
Passenger Lists; Ships; Ship Museums
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cgaunt/pass.html
The Ships Lists
http://www.theshipslist.com/
What Passenger Lists are on line?
http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/onlinelists.html
Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
http://home.att.net/%7Earnielang/ship02_3.html#Introduction
National Archives: Genealogists/Family Historians
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/index.html
Passport Applications
Passports have been issued since 1789 by the Department of State to U.S. citizens traveling
abroad and passport records for individuals are available from 1795. Foreign born applicants
were required to provide documented proof of naturalization to secure a passport. For children,
the name of the father, his date and place of birth, and naturalization were listed. Passports were
issued for 3 years. (They are now issued for 10 years) Photos have been attached since WWI and
physical descriptions were then added including, height, hair and eye color. Until 1941,
passports were not always required for travel to most foreign countries. Passport applications can
help in locating your ancestral home. Naturalized immigrants may have applied for passports
when they may have returned to visit their native countries. If they did apply for a passport, their
passport records would generally provide information regarding:
• Family status
• Date and place of birth
• Naturalization
• Occupation or business
• Physical characteristics
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about passport applications include:
21
National Archives: Genealogists/Family Historians
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/index.html
Other Immigration Lists
When our ancestors immigrated to America, especially from Europe, a number of lists were
generated:
• Lists made at the original port of embarkation
• Lists may have been prepared if the ship stopped at another port along the way
• Lists at the port of arrival in the U.S. (Ships Passenger Lists)
• Lists in newspapers tell the ships arriving and departing and type of cargo
• Lists by a sponsoring organization such as (e.g. an emigrant aid society), or if the
ship was quarantined when it arrived in the U.S.
Probate Records
Probate records (i.e., the process of passing that property, both land and various goods, on to
one's heirs) are one of the major types of records used in genealogical research. Heirs may be
anybody the testator (the person who made the will) chooses to name, including servants, in-laws,
friends, and others. Wills and other papers created during the probate process are often the best
possible source to document relationships between family members, particularly parent to child.
Persons often identified themselves according to the place (often a town) they came from, or were
born in. Some (but certainly not all) wills and other probate papers may provide a key link
between an immigrant in the new world and his family in the old. For example:
•
•
American wills may mention a family's origins in the old country
Foreign wills, e.g., British, may bequeath property (goods or money) to relatives who
had emigrated
Many of the colonial probate records up through the early 1800’s have been published.
How to Use Probate Records
Use probate records to
• Find death date and place
• Find residence
• Find names (and addresses) of descendants
• Find details to search for land records
• Discover other places where the ancestor may have held property
• Discover relationships
• Get a feel for ancestor's economic standing
• Look for clues about ancestor's feelings toward family members
• Find clues to the deaths of other family members
• Sort out adoptions, guardianships and other unclear relationships
• Learn names of stores and vendors frequented by your ancestor
• Find your ancestor's signature
• Find occupation
• Find citizenship
• Find marital status
22
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about probate documents include:
Cyndi's List:
www.CyndisList.com/wills.htm
About.com
Wills and probate sites:
genealogy.about.com/hobbies/genealogy/msubwills.htm?rnk=r&terms=wills
To learn more about probate records and how to use them in your research:
Wills and Testaments
By Donna Przecha:
www.genealogy.com/46_donna.html
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
By George G. Morgan:
www.ancestry.com/columns/george/12%2D25%2D98.htm
Land Grants and Transfers
Land records are generally not a preferred source for learning the origins of immigrants. They are
invaluable in other aspects of genealogical research, but seldom mention an immigrant's home.
They also seldom identify that a person was not an immigrant, nor do they usually provide an
age. They are generally best at establishing residency, and relationships. However, in the colonial
time period, land records can sometimes be used to establish immigration.
One of the major factors influencing immigrants to come to America was the availability of land.
Many came for the land and therefore became the first settlers in many areas. Most lists of early
settlers seem to be based on land grants of one kind or another. In some southern states these
settler lists come from headrights, which is documentation of having transported a certain number
of persons to settle on, and improve, various tracts of land.
How to Use Land Records
Use land records to
• Find death date and place
• Find residence
• For names (and addresses) of descendants
• Find details to search for land records
• Discover other places where the ancestor may have held property
• Discover relationships
• Get a feel for ancestor's economic standing
• Look for clues about ancestor's feelings toward family members
• Find clues to the deaths of other family members
• Sort out adoptions, guardianships and other unclear relationships
• Learn names of stores and vendors frequented by your ancestor
• Find your ancestor's signature
23
•
•
•
Find occupation
Find citizenship
Find marital status
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about land records include:
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
A site with live database access to federal land conveyance records for the public land
states. Includes digital images of more than 2,000,000 federal land title records for
Eastern public land states issued between 1820 and 1908. Images of serial patents, issued
between 1908 and the mid-1960s, are currently being added:
www.glorecords.blm.gov
Analyzing Deeds for Useful Clues
By Elizabeth Shown Mills:
www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/skbld951.html
Linda Haas Davenport's Learning Center - click on land records:
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~haas/learningcenter.html
U.S. Land & Property Research
By Bill Utterback
http://users.arn.net/~billco/uslpr.htm
Retracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records
By William Dollarhide
www.ultranet.com/%7Edeeds/deeds.htm
Homesteaders Left Marks on Land and Paper
By Myra Vanderpool Gormley
www.ancestry.com/columns/myra/Shaking_Family_Tree07-24-97.htm
Social Security Applications
As a result of the Great Depression that began in 1929 which destroyed the finances of millions
of Americans and created wide-spread suffering, President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded by
working for the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. In that legislation, employers and
employees were taxed for the purpose of providing old age pensions to workers who reached the
age of sixty-five. In order to get into the program persons were required to complete a short
application form, the SS-5, to receive a Social Security number.
If the person you're searching for was alive and working sometime from 1937 on, there's a good
chance there's an application on file for him (unfortunately, this is a less useful resource for
women until recent decades when virtually everyone started to get a Social Security card).
Because the application was filled out by the person themselves, the information is fairly reliable.
The Social Security application is so valuable because the names of the parents were provided by
the very person being researched. The SS-5 application can be used as a pointer to other sources.
The form included 16 questions which have varied over time and includes the following
information:
24
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Applicant's first, middle and last names
For women, the maiden name or previous married name
Applicant's address
Applicant's employer and employer's address
Applicant's age at last birthday
Applicant's date of birth
Applicant's place of birth
Full name of applicant's father
Full maiden name of applicant's mother
Applicant's gender
Applicant's race
Applicant's signature
Date the application was filled out
It may also include:
• Applicant's work name if different than name above
• Applicant's marital status
• Wife's maiden name if applicant is male
• Beginning or ending date of employment
• How applicant was paid
In order to obtain a copy of an SS-5, you can contact the Social Security Administration. For the
latest instructions and fees go to:
Guide to FOIA Requests
http://www.ssa.gov/foia/html/foia_guide.htm
Or Google: How to Request a Copy of the SS-5
The fee for searching for the SS-5 application when the Social Security number is provided is
$27.00 and $29.00 when a number is not provided, at the time of this writing.
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about social security records include:
Cyndi’s List
http://www.CyndisList.com/socsec.htm
Social Security Death Index
Immigrants are included in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). SSDI does not include the
names of everyone, even if they had a Social Security number (SNN). If relatives or the funeral
home did not report the death to the Social Security Administration, or if the individual died
before 1962 (when the records were computerized) then they probably will not appear in this
database. The omission of an individual in this index does not indicate the person is still living. It
simply means that there was no report of the person's death to Social Security Administration.
When using the Social Security Death Index, in addition to the date of birth and date of death,
there are three possible places included as well:
25
•
•
•
State of issuance (where a person then lived and applied or the state in which the office
that issued their social security number was located).
Residence at time of death (this is really the address of record, but not necessarily where
they lived or died).
Death benefit (where the lump sum death benefit [burial allowance] was sent).
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about social security records include:
Cyndi’s List
http://www.CyndisList.com/socsec.htm
Rootsweb.com
http://rootsweb.com/
Societies
Lineage/Hereditary Societies
A lineage society is an organization whose membership is limited to persons who can prove
lineal, documented, or descent from a qualifying ancestor. Hundreds of such organizations exist
in America, such as who fought in the American Revolutionary War (Daughters of the American
Revolution, DAR), who came as Mormon Pioneers (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, DUP), or
those who arrived on the Mayflower.
Many lineage societies publish books of interest to their members, and of interest to other
researchers. These books are found in most major genealogical libraries and can help you
determine if a society might have information about a possible ancestor. A good resource to
identify such societies includes:
Hereditary Society Blue Book
http://members.tripod.com/~Historic_Trust/society.htm
Immigrant and Early Settler Societies
Dozens of societies have been established focusing on specific immigrant groups, or early settlers
of some locality. While these societies have an interest in immigrants, they do not always know
where any particular immigrant came from in the old country. Their objectives do not include
establishing the immigrant or settler's ancestry, only their descent to current persons. Examples
of these societies include:
•
•
•
•
Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford (Connecticut), which requires the
ancestor be living in Hartford by early 1640.
Order of Descendants of Ancient Planters, those persons who arrived in Virginia before
1616.
General Society of Mayflower Descendants, descendants of the Mayflower passengers.
The Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, (pre-1657) founders who established
families in America, among whose descendants, of the same surname line, were persons
who fought for American independence in the Revolutionary War.
Some examples of immigration collections include:
26
•
•
The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia in
transcribing many of the passenger arrival lists of ethnic immigrants.
The Immigration History Society at the University of Minnesota has collected thousands
of ethnic newspapers and other sources dealing with eastern European ethnic groups.
Their "Immigration History Research Center" is one of the most significant repositories
of research materials for those groups in North America.
European Ancestry Societies
Some lineage societies focus on ancestors who were notable long before the American colonies
were established. Therefore, descendants who wish to join need to trace their ancestry back to the
immigrant (called the "gateway" ancestor), and then trace that immigrant's ancestry back to the
qualifying ancestor in the old country. Usually the qualifying ancestor was part of British royalty
or nobility. Examples include:
•
•
Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America, which requires
documented descent from that early emperor. This means tracing your ancestry back
more than 1,000 years.
Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings of Britain.
Nationality or Ethnic Lineage Societies
These are societies that focus on an entire ethnic group. They gather information, teach their
members, and publish stories, findings, and sources, about that group. A small number of such
societies, and actually the oldest such societies in America, are true lineage societies.
Membership is limited to those persons who can prove descent from an early settler of a specific
ethnic group. Examples include:
• Dutch in New York,
• Germans in Pennsylvania
• Scots-Irish in the Carolinas
Genealogical Societies
Genealogical societies exist throughout the United States and Canada in every state or province,
most counties and many major cities. The people in these societies share the same interest you do:
individually discovering a heritage. They gather together, usually monthly, to learn from each
other about how to trace their ancestry. They recognize that together they are much more
knowledgeable about the ins and outs of family history research than they are individually.
Society Publications
Society publications can be a significant aspect of immigrant research. Any local record may be
the subject of publication by a local society. Whenever you contact a genealogical or ethnic
society, be certain to inquire about their publications. Even when such publications do not
identify an immigrant's home town, they may provide further identification about your
immigrant, or may instruct you on additional sources specific to a locality or ethnic group.
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about or finding societies include:
Cyndi's List of societies and groups
Ethnic, lineage, national, etc.
http://www.CyndisList.com/society.htm
27
Cyndi's List of state resources
Look under your state of interest and select "societies and groups.”
http://www.CyndisList.com/usa.htm
Genealogical Societies
To locate societies in a specific area or for more information about genealogical societies
in general, contact the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). This is an umbrella
organization of more than 525 genealogical groups throughout North America.
Federation of Genealogical Societies
P.O. Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940
Phone: 512-336-2731
Fax: 512-336-2732
E-mail: [email protected]
Military Records
For immigrants in all time periods, military records are very important because they often ask the
soldier's birth place and birth date or age at enlistment. Records exist for many of the military
engagements taken by the United States from the Revolutionary war forward. There are 3 types
of military records: Service Records, Pension Records and History Records.
The most important for immigration records are Enlistment/Discharge and Pension Records. The
following is an overview of the three types of records.
The records that are important for immigration include:
Service Records
Service records cover the time an ancestor was actually in the service. These records almost
always include:
• Name
• Dates of enlistment, attendance, and discharge
• Beginning and ending rank
• Military unit
And they may include:
• Date and/or place of birth
• Age
• Physical description
• Occupation
• Citizenship
• Residence
• Mentions of injuries or illnesses
• Reference to time as a POW
• Date and/or cause of death
• Cemetery of burial
28
How to Use Service Records
Use service records to
• Learn about an ancestor's military service
• Find the necessary details to locate a pension file or military history
• Learn place and/or date of birth
• Learn other details such as residence, occupation or citizenship
• Find a physical description
• Find death and/or burial information
• Find medical information
• Find insights into ancestor's personality and performance (e.g., promotions, AWOL
notations, etc.)
• See if and where held as a POW
Pension Records
Pension records cover the post-service period when your ancestor (or their next-of-kin) may have
received benefits. They usually include:
• Name
• Dates of enlistment and discharge
• Beginning and ending rank
• Military unit
They may include
• Date and/or place of birth
• Physical description
• Occupation
• Citizenship
• Residence
• Marital status
• Name of spouse
• Names (and possibly birthdates) of children
• Marriage date and details
• Names of parents
• Affidavits by friends, associates and others
• Letters written by the veteran, his kin, or his attorneys
• Signature
• Medical examination findings
• Date and/or cause of death
• Cemetery of burial
• Photo or sketch
How to Use Pension Records
Use pension records to
• Learn about an ancestor's military service
• Find the necessary details to locate a military history
• Learn place and/or date of birth
• Learn of dates and places of other life events
• Learn names of spouse and/or children, as well as their birth dates
29
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Learn other details such as residence, occupation or citizenship
Find a physical description
Find death and/or burial information
Find medical information
Learn insights into ancestor's personality and performance (e.g., through his letters,
affidavits files by others who knew him, etc.)
Learn of ancestor's literacy
See ancestor's signature
Learn more about ancestor's post-war years and life
See what he looked like
Military History
Military histories (often referred to as regimental or unit histories) can add historical background
to help you understand the conflict and your ancestor's participation in it. They usually include:
• Roster of those who served in the unit
• Dates of major engagements
May also include:
• Descriptions of battles
• Personal details about individuals, especially officers
• References to personal diaries and letters of those who served in the unit
• Photos of those who served
How to Use Military History Records
Use military history records to
• More fully appreciate the military experience of your ancestor
• Learn who he served with
• Learn which engagements he was involved in
• See what he looked like
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about military records include:
How-to Guides, Research Outline for U.S. Military Records
www.familysearch.org/sg/Military.html
RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees - U.S. Military Record
www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson14.htm
In Search of Military Records
By Ken Short
www.iigs.org/newsletter/9807news/military.htm.en
Military Records: History of and How to Use Them
By Linda Haas Davenport
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~haas/learningcenter/military.html
Cyndi's List of U.S. Military Resources
Including links by conflict, mailing lists, researchers, and more:
www.CyndisList.com/military.htm
30
Cyndi's List of lineage societies and groups with a military focus:
www.CyndisList.com/military.htm#Societies
NARA's links
Official organizations that can provide historical information such as unit histories,
personal papers, and photographs:
http://www.archives.gov/publications/by_organization.html
About.com military resources
http://genealogy.about.com/od/military_records/
Lineages, Inc.'s Military Research Room
An online resource with historical information and research tips, broken down by
conflict:
www.lineages.com/military/default.asp
Military record indexes on CD
(Mostly Civil and Revolutionary Wars)
www.familytreemaker.com/backissu.html
Resources Specific to Military Conflicts
http://www.usigs.org/library/military/
Cemeteries
Cemetery records have their own limitations as sources for immigration information. While it is
not common for a foreign birth town to appear on a cemetery headstone, there are literally
thousands of cases where such is the case. Such circumstances seem to be more common where
there are many immigrants in a cemetery, such as in Pennsylvania German communities or the
cemeteries by the Catholic missions in California.
While locating a burial site can be difficult. People are usually buried where they die. Begin
your search for a cemetery where your ancestor “drops” out of the records.
In any given area, there are usually many cemeteries which include all or most of the types listed
below. The records of these various cemeteries are often in many different places, and not easily
accessible. The records are often organized in chronological order or by plot, and therefore, not
alphabetical. If public records exist for your ancestor, they will usually denote where the burial
occurred. For deaths occurring after 1870, the community may have required a burial permit
from the local health department (these are not death certificates) and identify the cemetery.
There are many directories to assist you in locating a specific cemetery, or even a list of all
possible cemeteries in a certain locality. In large cities, begin with the city directory for the time
period when the immigrant died. Directories include:
•
•
•
Cemeteries of the U.S.
United States Cemetery Address Book
The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
Nation's official repository of domestic geographic names information including
cemeteries.
31
http://mapping.usgs.gov/www/gnis/gnisform.html
If you still have trouble locating the cemetery, you may want to check current directories of
mortuaries (available from your local mortician). A local mortuary in the area where an
immigrant died, will be aware of at least the active cemeteries, and may be able to refer you to a
local cemetery association. Once you have located the cemetery, you will seek the following
information:
•
The inscription on the stone.
Tombstone inscriptions are as different as the individuals they commemorate. In most
cases you will find some element of value. For example, a tombstone can show a
relationship with an inscription "Beloved wife of . . .". You will find logos or markers
that indicate service in the military or organization. Depending on the area of the
country and era, you will find a birth place such as immigrant rich communities. Some
tombstones contain photos, favorite saying, writings, music, or images that relate to a
hobby or profession. Tombstones can also carry lineage such as names of the children or
“Daughter of….”. You will most like find the true given name of the person or even a
nick name that can help you find information.
•
The records of the sexton.
Note: Many cemeteries have paper records of persons who are buried there which are
kept with the sexton. These records come in many formats. They usually include the
name of the person buried, death date, and owner of the cemetery plot. The first place to
find sexton's records is the cemetery itself. If you come across a cemetery that is
“inactive” or “full” because there is no more room for additional burials, contact the local
sexton to begin your search to see if they have records.
When you combine the tombstone and sexton’s record, you can build a profile that
unusually include:
o Name of deceased (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
o Years of birth and/or death (Tombstone)
o Date of burial (Sexton Record)
•
May also include:
o Address of deceased (Sexton Record)
o Age of death (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
o Birthplace (Tombstone)
o Cause of death (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
o Cost of the plot and/or burial (Sexton Record)
o Date of death (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
o Full name, including maiden name for women (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
o Full dates of birth and/or death (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
o Information linking the plot owner to other plots (e.g., disinterment, reburial,
etc.) (Sexton Record)
o Information about military service, such as unit (Tombstone)
o Inscription (e.g., poem, Bible quote) providing insight into the ancestor or those
left behind (Tombstone)
o Logo of organization deceased belonged to (ethnic, religious, military, etc.)
o Name of doctor and/or hospital (Sexton Record)
o Name of officiating minister (Sexton Record)
o Names of other involved - funeral home, officiating clergyman, memorial
company (Sexton Record)
32
o
o
o
o
Owner of the plot (Sexton Record)
Relationship Clues ("Beloved wife of...) or (Who else is buried in plot)
(Tombstone and Sexton Record)
Marriage date (rare) (Tombstone and Sexton Record)
Where deceased died, if other than where he/she lived (Sexton Record)
The four types of cemeteries include:
Religious Cemeteries. Religiously devout immigrant ancestors were most often buried
in religious cemeteries. These cemeteries were often located next to the group’s church
or synagogue. Qualification for burial was often reserved for burial of the faithful (and
sometimes not so faithful). For some religions, notably the Roman Catholic, burial in
sacred, consecrated, ground was essential to a person's salvation. For many others, burial
was a sacrament, to be conducted by a spiritual leader. If a church conducted a burial, the
most convenient place of interment would be the local church yard. The records of
burials in religious cemeteries are most likely to be found with that religious group.
Records of these burials are usually found with church and not with a sexton.
Community Cemeteries. Most of our immigrant ancestors during the 1800’s were
buried in cemeteries established by a local community (i.e., city, town, township, or
county). Community cemeteries attracted immigrants whose devotion to their religion
had waned during their years in North America. If there was not a local church in the area
for a deceased person, they were usually buried in the community cemetery. If you
suspect your ancestor was buried in a community cemetery, contact the sexton [i.e., The
sexton's job is to coordinate, and often actually handle, the burial duties, usually in
concert with an undertaker (mortuary) and often a church as well] who is responsible to
keep the records of burials in that cemetery.
Private Cemeteries. Some of the earliest cemeteries in North America were private,
family cemeteries. These are especially common in the southern states and in some New
England areas, although they may appear in any locality. Private cemeteries can also
include cemetery associations and fraternal/social groups such as the Mason or Old
Fellows. These cemeteries are usually located in very rural areas where there were no
other options.
Commercial Cemeteries. Commercial cemeteries are among the most common
cemeteries today and have taken the place of community cemeteries. These cemeteries
are run by a local mortuary or company and usually found in larger communities.
Immigrant ancestors are not likely to be found in such cemeteries unless they lived in the
1900’s.
How to Use Tombstones and Sexton Records
Use tombstones and sexton records to usually
•
•
•
•
Find dates of life events for further research
Find names of family members, neighbors and others who are buried in the same plot and
are therefore likely connected to your ancestor
Find a woman's maiden name
Learn of organizations to which your ancestor belonged
33
•
•
•
•
Find cause of death
Learn about military service
Gain insight into the personality of your ancestor
Gain a sense of the economic standing of the family
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about cemetery records include:
Internet Photo Sites for Tombstones
Find a Grave
http://www.findagrave.com/
The Virtual Cemetery
http://www.genealogy.com/vcem_welcome.html
Paula Easton's Cemetery Photos
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pines/2318/
Inscriptions
Tombstone, obituaries., etc.
Internment.net
http://interment.net /
Cemetery Junction
http://www.daddezio.com/cemetery/
USGenWeb's Tombstone Transcription Project
http://www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery/
Cemetery records for sale on CDs
http://www.familytreemaker.com/cemetery.html
Finding Historical/Genealogy Societies
Cyndi's List of societies and groups
Ethnic, lineage, national, etc.
http://www.CyndisList.com/society.htm
Cyndi's List of state resources
Look under your state of interest and select "societies and groups.”
http://www.CyndisList.com/usa.htm
Obituaries
For many of our immigrant relatives, the obituary is the only biographical sketch ever written.
Men and women both are likely to have obituaries written about them. Even those who died
young may be fully profiled in an obituary, especially if the death was the result of an accident.
You will often find information written about your ancestor that you will not find anywhere else,
thus making the obituary a very important resource.
34
When you think of papers, remember that in addition to community papers, there are also two
other common categories:
Ethnic Newspapers. Additional newspapers to consider are papers which focused on a
particular ethnic group. For example, it was common in most Midwestern cities for
German language newspapers to exist side-by-side with general newspapers.
Occasionally they were published by the same company, on the same presses. These
newspapers are usually printed in the language of the community. Remember while you
may not be able to read the language, the name of the deceased is usually in the headline.
Then have the article translated if you don’t speak the language.
Religious Newspapers. Often our immigrant relatives were more religious than their
descendants. They often participated in their church's activities on a regular basis.
Therefore, the death would be major news within the religious community. Most
denominations support one or more newspapers in the nineteenth century. Larger
denominations, such as Catholics and Lutherans, often had newspapers in every major
city, and several minor ones. Religious newspapers were often published for
denominations such as Baptists or Methodists.
Obituaries can be found in newspaper journals, magazines and even yearbooks. Obituaries
started to be mentioned in local newspapers during the 1870’s. You should be able to find the
following information in most obituaries.
•
•
•
•
•
•
Name
Age
Date of death (sometimes only giving the day of the week)
Family information
Names of survivors
Church or mortuary holding the service and/or cemetery
In addition, it wasn’t uncommon to find biographical information such as
• Names of parents
• Occupation
• Military service
• Affiliations with local clubs
• Fraternities/associations
• When person settled in the area
• Birth information (e.g., came from Ireland in 1849)
• Information can provide clues to locating documents such as passenger lists
It’s not uncommon to find obituaries in several papers in the area the person lived. It is
important to review obituaries from all the papers. It is not uncommon for obituaries to contain
slightly different/additional information.
•
•
•
If you don’t know the death date of an ancestor, consider the following ideas to narrow
the scope of where and the time period to search.
Check the census records to see if 1) the person even appears in the locality 2) if the
spouse appears as widow or widower.
Check probate records from the last known residence.
35
•
See if your state has online vital record databases to search for death records.
Once you have a date, then you can
• Check with local libraries and historical societies to see if obituaries have been clipped
and put in a file.
• Check with local libraries and historical societies about newspapers that served your area
during the time period of your ancestor’s death. It’s not uncommon to have newspapers
go in and out of business.
• Check to see if the local paper has been microfilmed which can then be exchanged
through library loan.
• It’s also not uncommon to have obituaries abstracted and posted to the internet.
• Check to see if local indexes have not been published that will tell you if and where
obituaries were published.
• Many libraries offer the services of looking in microfilm for an obituary. Of course you
will need the date of death. The cost of service is usually less than $10.00.
• Don’t overlook ethnic, religious, or professional papers. If these papers are not part of
the local library collection, libraries should be able to tell where to locate them.
• Depending on the region of the country, you may find several postings for the person’s
death. 1) Obituary within a few days of the person’s death 2) Profile of the person’s
funeral a week later 3) Thank you card from the family expressing appreciation to family
and friends.
Your chances of finding an obituary will increase depending on the size of the town. The larger
cities did not usually print the obituaries of every person’s death.
Immigrant Church Records
The American church records are often overlooked yet provide important information for our
ancestor origins. Immigrants as a whole were religiously devout and connected closely with one
another through church. The American churches, called “ethnic” churches, catered to a specific
ethnic group (e.g., German, Irish, and Norwegian). The two most common immigrant churches
were the Roman Catholic (mostly found in the larger cites such as New York, Chicago,
Cincinnati, and Detroit serving the ethnic communities of the Germans, Italians, Irish, Poles,
French and others) and the Lutherans (usually found in rural areas serving the Germans and
Scandinavians). The minister was trained in the old world. They often held services in the
native language of the congregation.
Like the churches in the old world, detailed records of parishioners’ sacraments such as–
baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and burials – usually contain significant information about
the people. These records are usually written in the native language. Resources for helping
decipher records can be found at:
Links to online dictionaries, including many foreign languages:
http://www.yourdictionary.com
Cyndi's List of language and translation resources
http://www.CyndisList.com/language.htm
Family History SourceGuideTM - How-to Guides, Latin Genealogical Word
List http://www.familysearch.org/sg/WLLatin.html
36
When you search church records, look for records of the entire family and relatives. Your
chances of finding places of birth will vary depending upon the record keeping of the church. As
a general rule, the more immigrants that were served by a church, the more information you’ll get
about the individuals such as birthplace in the country of origin.
In order of priority, the following are the American immigrant church records that are most likely
to have the immigrant’s birthplace mentioned:
Burial. Immigrants usually chose a church burial, as that is how it was done in the old
country and will be found in the local church records. From these records you can
• Learn ancestor's death date and place
• Find ancestor's last residence
• Find the date or at least year of birth
• Find name or surviving relative
• Learn the maiden name of a woman
• Learn the cemetery of burial for further research or visit
• Determine date for obituary/death notice search
Wedding. If you are able to find a public record of an ancestor’s marriage, you will note
who performed the marriage. If you see the title of officiator as Pastor, Reverend,
Father, or listed as minister of the gospel, your ancestors probably had a church wedding.
You can determine the church the individual belonged to and search for records there.
From these records you can
• Find ancestors' marriage date and place
• Find ancestors' place(s) of residence
• Determine a year of birth for the bride and groom
• Learn of previous marriages
• Learn groom's occupation
• Find clues to family relationships (e.g., through names of witnesses)
• Discover the names of the preceding generation
• Correctly ascribe children to appropriate marriage if a parent has married more
than once
• Learn of other possible religious affiliations
• See the handwriting of an ancestor
• Narrow the time period for the death of the first spouse in the case of the
widow(er) remarrying
• Learn of other family connections through dispensation remarks
Confirmation. Most church records simply list those that were confirmed on a specific
day. On rare occasions you might find information such as their birth dates, parent’s
names, and place of birth. Information will vary somewhat by religion with Scandinavian
and Lutheran, for instance, generally providing more details.
Minutes or Communicant Lists. These records can be helpful in reconstructing family
history. The disappearance of a couple from the list may signify their departure from the
community. The disappearance of one but not the other may indicate death, an important
clue if the death records no longer exist. These lists may also provide insight as to where
37
persons have moved or immigrated. These records also help to build a picture of what
your ancestors were like and how they worshiped.
Baptism. Since baptisms usually were recorded in America, they generally do not
provide information about the country of origin. From these records you can
• Find an ancestor's birth date
• Discover the names of the preceding generation
• Find a family's place of residence
• Find clues to family relationships (e.g., through names of sponsors)
• Learn about previously unknown children who died young
• Parental association in the case of multiple marriages by one of the parents, to
determine which one a particular child came from
• Learn about changes in church affiliation
Where to Find Archives for Major U.S. Religious Denominations
The following are locations for finding the archives of U.S. religious denominations:
• Adventists, Washington, D.C.
• Adventists, Washington, D.C
• American Baptists, Rochester, NY
• Southern Baptists, Nashville, TN
• Brethren in Christ Church, Grantham, PA
• Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA
• Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Salt Lake City, UT
• Churches of Christ, Memphis, TN
• Congregational, Boston, MA
• Disciples of Christ, Nashville, TN
• Greek Orthodox, New York, NY
• Jewish, Cincinnati, OH; Waltham, MA
• Evangelical Lutherans, Chicago, IL
• Missouri Synod Lutherans, St. Louis, MO
• United Methodists, Madison, NJ
• Pentecostal, Tulsa, OK
• Presbyterians, Philadelphia, PA; Montreat, NC
• Episcopalian, check local parishes
• Reformed Church, New Brunswick, NJ
• Roman Catholic, Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN; Catholic University,
Washington, D.C.
• Quakers (Society of Friends), Swarthmore, PA for Hicksite records; Haverford,
PA for Orthodox records
• United Church of Christ, Boston, MA; Lancaster, PA
• Unitarian and Universalist, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA
Source: Ancestors.com
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/records/religious/extra.html
Starting Points for Further Research
Start with the local congregation. Usually one of the workers will know about the early records,
and where they are stored. They may even know of descendants of your family that still attend
that church. Often the records are no longer stored at the local church. Many Catholic records
38
have been collected by the diocese. Lutheran records may be in synodical archives. If you cannot
locate the local church, or they no longer exist, then turn to the appropriate diocese or synod. The
effort to find the records will be worth your time. Starting points for learning more about church
records include:
Cyndi's List of religious and church resources:
http://cyndislist.com/religion.htm
Religious resources
From Steven A. Wood's Genealogy Home Page™
http://www.genhomepage.com/religion.html
Resource Guide by State
The libraries and archives listed here are state resources
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/resourceguide/
Resources in Libraries in Book Form
• American Library Directory
• The Genealogists Address Book
• The Handy Book for Genealogists
• Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources
Township, City, County, and State Histories and Biographies
Local, county, and state histories detail the events that occurred and the people who played a part.
These histories detail the early settlements, who held what offices, who founded various towns,
including when different churches were stated and other valuable information. It is common to
find histories that were written between 1870 and 1920 with biographical sketches of the
individuals and families. The majority of these histories were written in the west and those states
bordering the Great Lakes/Midwest states. These histories give insight and are helpful to the
researcher since this is the region where most of the immigrants settled.
As you look for the local, county, and state histories, also look for books/volumes that focus
solely on biographical sketches of many from the locality. Most of the sketches are written about
men and generally include information about the family, education, and occupation. These
sketches will also tell the subject's date of birth, parent's names, wife's and children's names.
Usually there is some comment about where they were born. If the subject was an immigrant, the
foreign country was always mentioned, and perhaps the town of birth.
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about township, city, county, and state histories and biographies
records include:
Finding Historical/Genealogy Societies
Cyndi's List of societies and groups
Ethnic, lineage, national, etc.
http://www.CyndisList.com/society.htm
Cyndi's List of state resources
Look under your state of interest and select "societies and groups”
http://www.CyndisList.com/usa.htm
39
Colonial Town Records
Towns had regular meetings, at least once a year, where various inhabitants (often freemen) were
elected to a number of different positions. Many of the same local (town or county) government
services are used today (such as road repair, property registration, etc.), were accomplished by
local townsmen, often in lieu of taxes. Over the course of several years, most adult males who
remained in one town had the opportunity to serve in some capacity and their names will be
listed. Town records will include a record of births, marriages, and deaths occurring in that town,
as well. Town records usually do not mention a resident's country of origin. If you find your
ancestor’s name among the records, you gain insight into their residences and status giving you
additional clues for research.
Of the various town records, those of most importance to immigrant origins are the lists of
freemen accepted by each town. Freemen were inhabitants of towns who were qualified to vote
and participate fully in town affairs. This included the use of a town's common areas, such as
fishing ponds, and distribution of new lands acquired or subdivided by the town. The Freemen
usually were required to:
Be of legal age (usually 21)
Own land
Often, be a member of the established church
Be a resident
The early lists of Freemen were heavily populated with immigrants. If you find the individual
you seek on one of these lists, it testifies they were an adult and an accepted member of the
community. The next step would be to search records such as church, land, or court records
which might give more information.
If the list names others who were neighbors, friends, and relatives of the ancestor, they may have
emigrated together, or at least from the same locale.
Using Maps and Gazetteers to Help Find Ancestor Origins
Maps and gazetteers help us trace the migration paths our ancestors took. More detailed maps will
show what routes were available at the time, including railroads, waterways, early roads, etc. It is
important to trace the path our ancestors took because there may have been records created along
the way. The naturalization process may have been started at the port of entry, and the records
may be scattered in stops along the route to the final destination. Ethnic and religious groups
often traveled together, and your ancestors' travels can be traced by tracking others in their group.
Also, on the long journey west in the United States, babies were born, people married, and people
died. There may have been records of events created along the way. The following are a few
ideas of how you can use maps to assist your research:
Locate Record Locations
By pinpointing where your ancestors lived you are able to locate
• Records that contain addresses: directories, vital records, court records, military, and
naturalization records.
• By plotting these addresses on a map you are able to locate where records might be kept
such as churches, civic districts, etc. or where to look in the census such as Ward,
Township, and Street.
40
Identify Changing Boundaries
Maps help locate boundary changes that occur over the years that will put your ancestor in a
different city, county, state and country given a specific time period.
Recognize Changes in Place Names
• It’s not uncommon for the places your ancestors lived to no longer exist, have name
changes or be spelled differently in the country of origin.
• The following are examples of other major cities whose English name does not match the
native spelling:
Native Spelling
Braunschweig
Kobenahvn
Lisboa
Munchen
Napoli
Pizen
Praha
S’Gravenhage
Warszawa
Wien
Zaragoza
English Spelling
Brunswick
Copenhagen
Lisbon
Munich
Naples
Plscn
Brague
The Hague
Warsaw
Vienna
Saragossa
Topographical Features
You may find in your records, references to mountains, roads, rivers, etc. You can use these
graphical features to help find the location on a map with the exact placement of city/location
when you have multiple choices to choose from. Don’t be surprised to find the names of cities
different at various times. Also having some history of the area can be helpful in understanding
what you are seeing on the map and understanding what parishes/districts the town belong in.
By studying the topographical features, you can see places your ancestors may have gone because
they were easier to access. For example: One researcher was not able to find a wedding
certificate in the state the couple lived. The couple lived on the boarder of the next state, upon
searching the town that was just across the boarder, no records were found. After researching the
topographical map, it became clear that while those towns were close, there was not a practical
access point at the time the family lived. By following the roads, the researcher was able to
narrow the search to two possible locations and the marriage record was found.
Plot the Migration Patterns of Ethnic Group and Ancestors
As you research the immigration/migration patterns of ancestors you are able to see the flow of an
entire group and then map the individual path of your ancestor in relation to the group they
belong to. If you are able to find more detailed maps you will be able to find the roads, railroads,
and waterways they would have traveled which are important to locate records and associated
family with specific groups. For example:
1. The naturalization process may have been started at the port of entry, and the records may
be scattered in stops along the route to the final destination. Ethnic and religious groups
often traveled together, and your ancestors' travels can be traced by tracking others in
their group. Also, on the long journey west in the United States, babies were born, people
married, and people died. There may have been records of events created along the way.
41
2. The origins of these new immigrants can be observed through names of the cities they
lived. For example: The Quakers from Wales tended to flock together in what was called
the Cambry or Welsh tract. The village names of this district define the region of origin
in the mother country: Flint, Montgomery, Bala, Tredyffrin, Radnor, Haverford, and
Denbign.
3. The East Anglian origins for the settlers of Massachusetts before 1660 can be confirmed
by the names they gave to their New England towns. Examples of New England towns
named after their counterparts in England are Ipswich, Groton, Boxford, Sudbury,
Hadley, Wrentham, and Framingham from towns of the same name in Suffolk County,
England. Town names taken from Norfolk, England, were Lynn, Newton, and Hingham.
Other towns from East Anglia where Cambridge, (Cambridge;) Dedham, Springfield,
Topsfield, Braintree, Billerica, Chelmsford, and Malden (Essex).
Starting Points for Further Research
Maps Can Help Trace Your Family Tree
http://www.geniespeak.com/usgsmap.html
Cyndi’s List- Maps, Gazetteers & Geographical Information
http://www.cyndislist.com/maps.htm
The Wilderness Road -- a map
http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Evanrhs/wrrm/map.html
Migration Charts
http://www.intl-research.com/migration.htm
Westward Migration Maps
http://www.lib.utah.edu/digital/collections/westward/
Perry-Castañeda Library
Map Collection
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/histus.html
Historical Maps
http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/index.html
Library of Congress
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html
42
How to find your ancestor when
you hit a “brickwall” and you’re out of clues
Do you have an ancestor that your family has been looking for and simply can’t find the clues of
where they came from? William Dollarhide, in his book “British Origins of American Colonists,
1629-1775,” (Heritage Quest Genealogical Services, a division of AGLL, Inc. Bountiful, Utah,
1997) describes a methodology for what William describes as “Finding the Needle in the
Haystack.” I have several ancestors who fit this profile and have found the following very
insightful for organizing and conducting a difficult search.
Step 1: What do you know about your family?
• What is their country of origin?
• What are the surnames of the family and possible variations?
(e.g., Ewell, Yuille, Yule, Uhl)
• Do you know if they belong to a specific group?
(e.g., Puritans, Scotch-Irish, Huguenots, etc.)
• About when do you think they came to America?
• Where did they settle in America?
Step 2: Find out what has been written about the immigration/migration of your ancestors
country men. Start with “Google Search.” For example if your family came from Germany,
start your search with “German Immigration” or if they were “Puritans” you could start with
“Puritans” or “English Immigration.” Be patient. There are hundreds of sources. I usually find
what I need in the first three pages of an internet search. Hint: As you review information on the
internet, look to see what sources are used in providing the information such as books, and other
internet sites. These provide valuable clues of where else to look if needed.
Step 3: Learn what you can about immigration patterns of the group/people from which
your family belonged. Read and take notes. With even the most limited information you were
able to gather in step 1, you will start building your knowledge base and narrow the place in the
“Haystack” of where to look. As you read, ask yourself questions like what was the time period
your ancestors arrived in America:
• Why did they come (i.e. Regions, counties, states)?
• From what regions in the country did the group/people come from?
• What ports did they leave from and arrive at?
• Where did they settle and why?
• What were the names of the cities where they settled in America?
• What were their social tendencies when they came to America?
• What roads did immigrant groups take in their travels?
• What maps/charts are included with the information you read to help explain what is
being written?
• What type of records were kept at a given time period by groups/countries/agencies?
Experience: I had one ancestor who all I knew about them was they were from England. By
reviewing English Immigration I came across a group called the “Scotch-Irish.” The
information I found helped answer many questions about the family from why they lived
where they did to where they may have come from.
43
Step 4: Compile what you have learned. You are now starting to eliminate parts of the
“Haystack” where you don’t need to look and narrowing your scope as much as possible.
Organize your notes, questions and clues that you found.
Identify on a map the places/regions where the people came from and settled. Types of
maps that provide help include:
Look for maps that show cities today.
Look for maps of the time period “if available.”
Look for maps, neighboring cites and maps that are an outline of the country,
counties and states in the country. (If possible, color in the counties/states “if
provided” where specific groups come from.)
Step 5: Start a Systematic Search. Based on what you have learned, start sifting through the
portions of the “haystack,” that are left one straw at a time. The more narrow your place of
searching, the better your chances to find ancestors. Keep a log of where you have been, what
you reviewed, and what you found. Update your notes and questions with your findings.
Start your search in America.
A. Search the records in the state, county, and city where your family lived in American.
Chances are you will find key information about your family there. Don’t overlook
searching/reviewing the records of persons that lived in the area with your family at the
same time, chances are they came from the same town or region as your family.
B. You can begin searching the published county records that may be published online, in
book format (often available for inter-library loan), or on microfilm. Microfilm is
available through Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day
Saints and/or Interlibrary Loan. You can locate a particular family history Center in a
phone directory to locate a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel. Call and
ask where the nearest Family History Center is located in your area. They are all open to
the general public.
C. American genealogical research is often keyed to the land a person lived on. Land
ownership in America before 1850 was as high as 90% of all adult white males. As a
result, U.S. land records are nearly universal in finding clues. And, central state
transactions are recorded at the county level in the U.S. for most states. Indexes to deeds
provide an excellent historic overview of the residents of the county in virtually every
state.
D. Another advantage to American research is nearly every federal census taken since 1790
list last names of immigrants or their descendents.
When ready, start your search in the country of origin.
Before you start, understand the type of records that were kept during the time of your
ancestor and what types of books/online sources are available.
For example, if you are doing British research for the 17th century:
Unlike American research, where land records and census records are effective tools; British
land was mostly limited to the elite society of landlords and nation-wide census records were
not kept until 1841.
A good source of information in the British records comes from the Parish records. An
English Parish is a jurisdiction where vital statistics such as births, baptisms, marriages,
deaths, and burials are recorded. In your research you may have found the counties from
44
which a group came from, or you can even be more effective by tying a Surname to specific
regions/parishes. For a complete list of available British records see:
The United Kingdom and Ireland: http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/
Cyndi’s List: England http://www.cyndislist.com/england.htm
If a name or group can be connected to just a few English villages, parish or county, your
search in parish records will become narrowed. Having the surname of the male is required;
having the maiden surname of the wife simply expands the opportunities to find the county.
So you have a general name like Lee/Leigh? Remember your American research? What were
the names of the ancestor’s neighbors? You can use the surnames of your ancestor’s
neighbors to find possible counties to start searching if you also find the names of your
ancestors in the same area. Chances are the neighbors of your ancestors traveled with them
or from the same area to America.
Take the example one step further, what if you don’t have a particular location for a surname,
there are several sources that may help in tying a surname to possible locations. Some
sources you can use are:
•
Telephone Books and Directories
A telephone book as a source for locating a name in a certain place. Current directories
can confirm if surnames are in the same area village, parish, or county. Privately
published directories are available on CD (e.g., Bret-phone) or an online telephone
search. These resources can also be found in larger libraries.
•
International genealogical Index (IGI)
This is a great tool you can use simply through the internet. The IGI index of surnames
divided by country contains millions of names. For example, in the case of British
records, much of the available information was extracted from Parish records. You can
enter the last surname and will be able to find specific places where that surname is
found. Even though you may not have a direct relationship to the persons listed, you will
at least be able to narrow the counties of where the surname occurs and where to begin
your search.
•
Genealogical Research Directory
This is an international directory in which genealogical researchers from around the
world applies the names of people they want to find. The directory lists names in
alphabetical order, along with the names and addresses of the persons who submitted the
names. The GRD is an annual publication with a least 150,000 name entries per year.
Since 1980 the GRD has published over 2 million name entries. The GRD becomes a
place finding tool. If a person back in time is listed in the GRD, the place of the person’s
residence, birth, marriage, or death is also listed. Even if the name is not your ancestor,
the connection of the name to place, such as a parish or county of England is of great
value. The GRD is published in Australia and have submitters from countries all around
the world. Simply “Google”: Genealogy Research Directory for more details.
•
British Isles Genealogical Register (Big R)
This is a list of researchers from all over the world who sent in their surnames for
inclusion. The register lists the surnames being researched, including the place[s] and
time periods. When you locate your ancestor's surname, you can obtain the name and
45
address of the person researching your family. Created in 1994, it lists over 300,000
names submitted by British genealogists over the past 20 years. Many of the names came
from earlier publications of the Society of Genealogists.
•
Boyd’s Marriage Index
This index to English Marriage records was compiled by Percival Boyd, one of England’s
most acclaimed genealogists. It contains over seven million name entries taken from
parish registers, Bishops’ transcripts, and marriage licenses. The index does not cover
every county of England but is virtually complete for all marriages which occurred
between 1538 and 1837 in all parishes within the city of London and counties of
Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Devonshire, Durham, Essex,
Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northumberland, Shropshire, Somerset,
Suffolk, and Yorkshire. The printed county-wide volumes of Boyd’s Index are available
in this country at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Microfilm versions are
available through your local Family History Center.
•
Family Origin Name Survey (FONS)
This is a two-part computerized genealogical research database. The first part contains
abstracts of all known surviving, British record material from the period from 1600, with
the exception of Parish baptisms and marriages, 1538-1600 (which should eventually be
covered by the International Genealogical Index). The Pre-1600 Record Sources include
administrations, ancient deeds, assize rolls, bishops’ registers, cartularies, charter rolls,
ecclesiastical courts, eyre, feet of fines, fine rolls, heraldic visitations, hundred rolls,
inquisitions, lay subsidies, liberate rolls, pipe rolls, poll taxes, proofs of age, star
chamber, state papers, treaty rolls, and wills.
The second database, the Non-Register Archives, 1600-1838 contains archives of will
abstracts, will lists, and other name lists such as poll books, land tax assessments, muster
rolls, etc., for the period 1600 to 1858. In both databases, the information consists of
abstracts of the original records, along with the name index to any person mentioned in
any way. The two databanks were compiled from existing computer databases as well as
manual indexes which have been computerized and incorporated into the system. They
were originated as the search sources specific to the study of the origins and distribution
of surname groups in England from 1086 to 1858. Either database is an outstanding
source for locating a surname, perhaps in the obscure record. The research will lead a
genealogist to a particular county or parish location in which a surname occurs. This is a
private database, and one must become a member of the organization to obtain access to
it. For more information contact the Family Origin Name Survey (FONS), 67 Chancery
Lane, London, ENGLAND, WC2A 1AF.
The best information I was able to secure at the time of this writing was as follows: A
registration and life membership applies to each of the databases and costs $10.00 ( in
U.S. Funds) for one membership, or $20.00 for both. Members can pre-pay for 5 to 100
entries for a surname search in either database. There is a fee of $5.00 per entry found in
the database. As additional information is added to the databases, the FONS group will
search for your surnames on a continuing bases until the pre-paid limit is reached.
Additional searches can be added at any time in the future without paying the registration
fee again.
46
Immigration/Migration Patterns:
Revealing Clues to Finding the Origin
of Your Immigrant Ancestors
Immigration/Migration Patterns for the Genealogists:
Think like a Historian
One of the most important considerations in finding our ancestor is immigration research.
Look at immigration from a historian’s point of view and not from the genealogical point of view.
You’re trying to understand what your ancestors did and why. As a genealogist, you wonder why
your ancestors migrated. You look for clues that might direct you to the birthplace in the country
of origin. As genealogists, the first thing we do is start searching through deeds, wills, bible
records, and other such documents. Documents can tell that your ancestor sold his property from
one person to another, but it does not tell why he moved from Virginia to Tennessee. When you
seek to understand immigration patterns of the time, your chances for success expand
dramatically because you begin to understand what your family was thinking, what other
individuals where doing, where they were going, and where they came from.
By learning about the immigration patterns for a specific ethnic group to which your ancestor
belonged in the time period they lived, you see trends that correlate to your family such as the
ports they arrived at, the counties and cities from which they came and where they settled, the
reasons for decisions that were made, the types of records they left behind and where.
You start by answering the questions:
• What was their ethnic background or group to which you think they belonged?
• Were they Puritans, Welch, or Germans?
Now you begin to answer the questions:
• Why did they come?
• When did they come?
• Where did they settle?
• What were their social and work conditions?
• What was their religious background?
America: People on the Move
When you step back and begin looking at ancestors as part of an ethnic group at a given time and
place, you quickly see that America is a land of people on the move. Our ancestors were part of
groups that for specific reasons felt a “push’ to move to escape political or religious oppression,
wars, violence, and major natural disasters. The reasons include:
• War or other armed conflict
• Famine or drought
• Disease
• Poverty
• Political corruption
• Disagreement with politics
• Religious intolerance
• Natural disasters
• Discontent with the natives, such as frequent harassment, bullying, and abuse
• Lack of employment opportunities
47
•
These factors generally do not affect people in developed countries; even a natural
disaster is unlikely to cause out-migration
When you are pushed, where do you go? One senses the “pull” America had upon our ancestors.
Economic and professional opportunities were by far the foundation for our ancestors coming to
America. It was the availability of lands for farming, an abundance of jobs, and higher salaries.
The reasons include:
• Higher incomes
• Lower taxes
• Better weather
• Better availability of employment
• Better medical facilities
• Better education facilities
• Better behavior among people
• Family reasons
• Political stability
• Religious tolerance
• Relative freedom
• Weather
• National prestige
Perhaps the only major group of immigrants who did not respond to push or pull factors was the
Africans, who were captured and traded into slavery against their will.
The following immigration/migration profiles are provided as an example of the type of
information that is available for finding the origin of ancestors and to better understand your
ethnic heritage. This information is in no way all inclusive, but it will be a good starting point to
expand upon.
If you don’t see a reference to the ethnic origin of your ancestors, or what is written is “light” on
content, understand I focused on the largest immigrant groups and provided the information that
would provide value. If you have suggestions or additions you would to make, please email me
at [email protected]
The source material for the following profiles are a compilation from the following references:
• Benson, Sonia. U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah Hermsen. UXLGALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006.
• Daniels, Roger. Coming to America. A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American
Life, New York, New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
• Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629 - 1775, Bountiful, UT:
Heritage Quest, 1997.
• Dollarhide, William. Map Guide of American Migration Routes, 1735 - 1815, Bountiful,
UT: Heritage Quest, 2000.
• Wills, Chuck. Destination America. The People and Cultures That Created a Nation,
New York, New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2005.
• Research Outlines by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City,
UT.
48
Starting Points for Further Research
Cyndi's List of resources for immigration
http://www.CyndisList.com/immigrat.htm
Cyndi's List of links to ships and passenger lists
http://www.CyndisList.com/ships.htm
About.com genealogy links to sites dealing with immigration and naturalization
http://genealogy.about.com/hobbies/genealogy/msubimmig.htm
About.com links to sites about the History of Immigration
Laws, Facts, Events, and Remembrance:
http://immigration.about.com/newsissues/immigration/msubimhis.htm
How-to Guides and Resources
Family History Library's SourceGuide to Tracing Immigrant Origins
http://www.familysearch.org/sg/Tracing_Immigrant_Origins.html
Tracing Immigrant Origins series:
http://www.familytreemaker.com/university.html
Everton's U.S.-Canadian Border Crossing Records:
http://www.18004genealogy.com/tutorials/uscbc/uscbc1.htm
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild Compass
National Archives information pertaining to port records, naturalizations, passport
applications and other aspects of immigration.
http://www.immigrantships.net/
Arnold H. Lang's
Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
http://home.att.net/~arnielang/shipgide.html
Locating Ship Passenger Lists
by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG.
http://www.genealogy.com/8_mgpal.html
Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors
by Julia M. Case, Myra Vanderpool Gormley and & Rhonda McClure
http://www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson15.htm
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Emigration & Immigration
http://www.cimorelli.com/pie/faq/emigfaqi.htm
A collection of useful articles to help learn about your immigrant ancestors
http://www.familytreemaker.com/backissu.html
Immigration and Naturalization Service's History
Genealogy and Education page
http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/aboutins/history/index.htm
49
National Archives and Records Administration's
Comprehensive overview of immigrations records
http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/immigration/immigrat.html
Passenger List Transcriptions and Searchable Databases
Ron Prost's Passenger Lists on the Internet, a site with more than 100 links to others sites
about immigration, naturalization, and data on thousands of ships
http://members.aol.com/rprost/passenger.html
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild's searchable transcriptions of passenger's lists
Presented by ship's name, port of departure, port of arrival, captain's name and surnames
If you like what you see, consider joining the Guild's volunteers
http://immigrantships.net/
Dennis Baer's volunteer 1903 Ship Project with the goal of transcribing all NY
arrivals in 1903
http://immigrantships.net/1903project/1903project.html
Ancestry.com, searchable databases of immigration and naturalization records
http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/immigration/main.htm
African American Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to travel to Africa and enslave its people, beginning
in the early fifteenth century.
2. The stretch of the western coast of Africa that provided most of the slaves for the Americas
was more than 3,000 miles long. The regions most heavily involved in the slave trade were
West Africa and West Central Africa.
3. The average age range for an African purchased in the Atlantic slave trade was between ten
and twenty-four years old.
4. When the first Africans arrived in British and Dutch North America, no laws had established
the institution of slavery, and the Africans were often treated as indentured servants. A few
were able to serve their term, gain their freedom, and acquire some property.
5. Between ten and twelve million Africans were brought into the New World by slave traders
between 1500 and 1900. Of those, between eight and ten million went to the West Indies and
Brazil. What became the United States imported about five hundred thousand slaves.
6. Vermont was the first to abolish slavery in its constitution in 1777, but it was not yet a state.
Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery in 1783.
7. The cotton gin was invented by Eli Whitney (1765–1825) in 1793. With its use, southern
plantations were able to increase cotton production from 3,000 bales in 1793 to 178,000 bales
just seven years later. With the increase in production and potential profits, more crops were
planted and there was a large increase of labor to be done on the plantations. Reliance on
slaves in the South increased dramatically.
8. In French Louisiana during the years before the American Civil War (1861–65), there were
more people of mixed race and more free blacks than in other parts of the South.
9. Recent African immigrants to the United States are among the most educated groups of
American immigrants, with 49 percent of adults holding bachelor's degrees.
50
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. (Old Jones Naming Pattern) This pattern is a minor variation on the Standard English
Naming Pattern and was used by ex-slaves.
2. This model was used quite extensively by many ex-slaves after emancipation.
• First son father's father
• Second son mother's father
• Third son father's name
• Fourth son father’s favorite brother or friend
•
•
•
•
First daughter mother's mother
Second daughter father's mother
Third daughter mother
Fourth daughter mother’s favorite sister or friend
51
Arab World Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. After World War I (1914–18), despite an agreement the British made with the Arabs
promising them an independent nation, the Arab world was divided into the separate nations
that exist today. The British and the French took control of many of the new nations.
2. During the Great Migration from 1880 to 1924, when twenty million immigrants entered the
United States, there were about ninety-five thousand Arabs among them, most from the area
known as Greater Syria—present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel.
3. In the early migrations at the turn of the century and in the post-1965 migrations, the
Lebanese were the largest group of Arabs immigrating to the United States.
4. The majority of Arab Americans are Christians. Forty-two percent of Arab Americans in
2000 were Catholics; 23 percent of Arab Americans were Orthodox; 12 percent were
Protestant. The number of Muslim Arab Americans is growing; it was 23 percent of the Arab
American population in 2000.
5. There are two main branches of Islam: Sunni and Shi'a. The division among Muslims
occurred shortly after the death of Muhammad in the seventh century. The Sunnis believed
that the successor should be chosen through an election. The Shi'a believed that the line of
succession should be through Muhammad's descendants only.
6. Many of the first wave of Arab immigrants did not have a lot of money to buy or rent a store,
so some sold goods from house to house and town to town as peddlers. Peddlers traveled
through the countryside, selling various goods and wares mainly to housewives.
7. Within weeks of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, approximately twelve hundred
immigrants were arrested by federal government agents. Most were from Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, and Pakistan. Many were held without charges and without access to attorneys or their
families, and many were deported (expelled from the country). None were charged with
terrorism.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. By an 'ism, a single personal name, as Muhammad (Mohammed), Musa (Moses), Ibrahim
(Abraham), Hasan, Ahmad. Adults are seldom called by their given names; socially it is
considered a slight to use the first name of an elder or parent.
2. By a kunya, an honorific name, as the father or mother of certain persons (usually the eldest
son), e.g., abu Da'ud [the father of David], umm Salim [the mother of Salim]. Married ladies
are, as a general rule, simply called after the name of their first son, e.g., umm Ahmad [the
mother of Ahmad].
3. By a nasab, a patronymic or pedigree, as the son or daughter of a certain one, e.g., ibn 'Umar
[the son of Omar], bint 'Abbas [the daughter of 'Abbas]. The nasab is always a patronymic,
the <son or daughter> of <father's name>. The only notable exception to this, a matronymic,
was a special case: 'Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus the son of Mary).
4. By a lakab, a combination of words into a cognomen or epithet, usually religious, relating to
nature, a descriptive, or of some admirable quality the person has (or would like to have),
e.g., 'Abd Allah (Abdullah) [Servant of God], Harun al-Rashid [Aaron the Rightly-guided].
5. By a nickname of harmless signification. "Harmless signification" of this sort was often
meant to avert the evil eye or the unwanted attention of jinn ("genies") and other evil spirits.
6. By an occupational hisba, derived from a person's trade or profession, e.g., Muhammad alHallaj [Mohammed the dresser of cotton].
7. By a geographical hisba, derived from the place of residence or birth, e.g., Yusuf al-Isfahani
[Joseph of Isfahan].
52
Asian Indian, Korean, and Southeast Asian Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. Asian Indians are one of the United States' fastest growing ethnic groups and they are also
one of the wealthiest ethnic groups in the country.
2. Many Asian Indians come to the United States on H1-B temporary work visas—the "hightech visas."
3. Americans were introduced to Hinduism and yoga by two Hindu missionaries, or swamis, in
the early twentieth century.
4. Korean Americans do not tend to form ethnic communities—although there is a Koreatown
in Los Angeles. They are the most widely dispersed of any Asian American population.
5. About one-third of all Korean Americans who are employed own their own businesses.
6. In 1978 thousands of refugees fled Vietnam. Some eighty-five thousand refugees climbed
aboard overcrowded, flimsy boats and attempted to cross the sea to safety. These desperate
folk came to be known as the "boat people."
7. In the early twenty-first century, as many as 1,009,627 Vietnamese Americans spoke
Vietnamese at home. It has become the seventh most spoken language in the United States.
8. In 1975 in Cambodia, a communist guerrilla revolutionary group called the Khmer Rouge
took over the country and began what was to become a program of genocide—the systematic,
planned killing of an entire group of people. In the "killing fields" of Cambodia, the death toll
ran into the millions.
53
Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. The "sojourners," the first to participate in the mass migration from China, were young male
immigrants.
2. They came to the United States to make a fortune and hoped to return home quickly. Many
stayed. By 1900 there were an estimated ninety thousand people of Chinese origins in the
United States; 95 percent of them were male.
3. The Naturalization Act of 1790 provided that only "free white persons" could become
naturalized citizens of the United States. (This act was widened to include African Americans
under the Fourteenth Amendment in 1870, but Asians remained excluded.)
4. While the U.S.-born children of Asian immigrants were automatically citizens, the
immigrants themselves could not apply for citizenship until 1952.
5. Three-fourths of all Chinese immigrants in the United States in 1870 lived in California. San
Francisco's Chinatown was, and still is, the center of Chinese American culture in the United
States.
6. The Chinese American population has experienced tremendous growth due to recent
immigration. The number of foreign-born Chinese living in the United States increased by 87
percent from 1990 to 2000, and Chinese immigrants made up the fourth-largest group of
foreign-born U.S. residents in 2000.
7. Most Japanese immigrated to the United States within a short window of time—from 1890 to
1924.
8. Japanese women immigrated to the United States by the thousands in the years after the turn
of the twentieth century. "Picture brides," women who agreed to marry men in the United
States after only seeing their pictures, made up a significant portion of the immigrants.
9. According to the U.S. Census, the Japanese American population decreased by almost 10
percent between 1990 and 2000. This is because few Japanese are immigrating to the United
States, but also because many people have married into other ethnic groups and over the
generations have lost touch with the Japanese American identity.
10. U.S. immigration laws in the 1920s prevented any Asians except Filipinos from immigrating.
Therefore, Filipinos were in great demand as low-wage workers on the West Coast.
11. Filipinos are the second largest Asian American group in 2000, making up about 21 percent
of all Asian Americans.
54
Czechs and Slovaks Immigration
1. The Czechs, whose kingdom of Bohemia had been taken over by the Austrian Empire
hundreds of years before, had long been dissatisfied with the Habsburg rule.
a. The Czechs were a Slavic people from Bohemia, Moravia, and parts of Silesia, and the
majority were Catholics, though there were Protestants and Jews among them.
b. When World War I began, thousands of Czech soldiers immediately surrendered to the
Russians rather than fight for Austria-Hungary.
c. They were reorganized as the Czech Legion, which fought on the Russian side.
d. During the war, the Czechs joined with the Slovaks and other suppressed nationalities of
the Austro-Hungarian Empire in pushing for their own state.
e. The Czechoslovak Republic was established in 1918.
f. Within the new nation were at least five nationalities—Czechs, Germans, Slovaks,
Moravians, and Ruthenians (Ukrainians).
2. An estimated four hundred thousand Czechs arrived in the United States between 1848 and
1914. The Czechs set up urban communities in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and St.
Louis. Many Czechs headed west to establish farming communities in Iowa, Nebraska,
Wisconsin, and Texas.
a. In 1847 Czech immigrants established their first settlement in Texas at Catspring in
Austin County.
b. The next year, major Czech settlements were established in Wisconsin, especially in and
around the city of Racine.
c. By 1855 Czech communities had been established in Chicago, St. Louis, and New York.
In 1856 New York became the home of the first U.S. school teaching the Czech language
and history.
d. Czech newspapers were established in several of the new communities. The Czechs
generally strove to preserve their culture and language. In many of the towns where they
settled, little English was spoken.
3. The Slovaks in Hungary immigrated to the United States in large numbers.
a. They had been oppressed by the Magyars in Hungary and most wished to escape from the
tyranny. They also migrated to improve their circumstances.
b. Most Slovaks who immigrated did not have professional skills appropriate to the U.S.
economy and took work in the coal mines and in the steel mills.
4. After World War II, Czechoslovakia became a Soviet-ruled nation.
a. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Slovaks and the Czechs decided to
separate. In 1993, they became the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
b. Slovakia has had economic difficulties in connection with modernizing and
industrializing since the end of the Soviet rule.
55
Danish Immigration
Why and when did they come?
1. In Denmark there was relatively little religious or political repression compared with Sweden
and Norway.
2. One of the motivations for Danish emigration in the nineteenth century was the prodding of
the Church of the Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons.
a. When the Mormons sent missionaries to Europe in the mid-1840s and 1850s, they sent
three to Scandinavia.
b. The missionaries had an easier time in Denmark than in other countries because its
government had a relaxed attitude about their work.
c. Their recruitment was highly successful: The Mormons drew about twenty thousand
Danish converts to their center in Utah in the second half of the nineteenth century.
d. The church had an emigration fund, which paid for the passage of many Danes who
would not otherwise have been able to go.
e. Even before the Danish Mormon converts immigrated to the United States, about two
thousand Danes had arrived between 1820 and 1850.
3. The Danish immigrants were composed mainly of middle-class families who could pay their
way to the United States.
4. But like Sweden and Norway, by 1859 Denmark was experiencing the economic strain of
sudden overpopulation. Tales of fertile lands and plenty of job opportunities in the United
States brought hope to many in the old country.
5. Three hundred thousand Danes had emigrated by 1920. In the year 1900, one-tenth of
Denmark's total population immigrated to the United States.
6. Most of these immigrants were young and male and came from the lower economic classes.
Where did they settle?
1. The 2000 United States Census lists 1,430,897 persons of Danish ancestry.
2. The states with the largest Danish American communities include California, Utah,
Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Washington.
3. While Swedes and Norwegians maintained strong cultural communities in areas where their
populations were concentrated, Danes tended to scatter around the nation.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. Unlike Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns, the Danes did not establish many tightly knit Old
World communities in the United States. Because fewer Danish women emigrated than
Danish men, the young male immigrants often married women from other ancestries and
were quickly assimilated into (blended into) the American culture.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. Until the mid-1800s, Danish surnames followed a patronymic system. A father’s given name
was typically used for his children’s surname. For example, Simon Pedersen’s children had
the surname Simonsen (son of Simon) or Simonsdatter (daughter of Simon). Peder Simonsen,
Simon’s son, gave his children the surname of Pedersen (male) or Pedersdatter (female).
2. By the mid-1800s, this naming pattern was phased out, and one surname was passed through
succeeding generations. Pedersen became the dominant surname for my family, and
ultimately the spelling was changed to Peterson.
•
•
•
The first male child was usually named for the father's father.
The second boy was usually named for the mother's father.
The first female child was usually named for the mother's mother.
56
•
The second girl was named for the father's mother.
•
•
Additional children were often named for the parents and the parents' brothers and sisters.
If one spouse died, the other remarried, and children were born to the new pair, the
couple usually named the first child of the same sex after the deceased spouse.
3. Additional surnames appear in Denmark besides patronymic surnames. Unlike the other
Scandinavian countries, there is not an easy explanation for when, why, and how these
additional surnames appear. There are some patterns but no fast and predictable rules.
Although some places such as much of Jutland place names were used as surnames, they
were not like the farm names of Norway. In Denmark there was no equivalent to the military
and trade names used in Sweden.
4. In each of the Scandinavian countries the same dozen or so given names were generally used
over and over again in different combinations making it difficult to distinguish between more
than one person with common names such as Rasmus Pedersen or Jens Hansen. There might
be three or four people with the exact same name living in the same small village. Among the
strategies used to distinguish such people were:
• Use of an occupation: Jens Rasmusen Smed (blacksmith) or Rasmus Olsen Skredder
(tailor)
• Use of age indicator: Ung (young) Jens Pedersen, Gammel (old, abbreviated 'gl.') Jens
Pedersen
• Use of a place name where the person may have moved from: Hans Pedersen Skaarup,
Rasmus Larsen Skablund
• Use of a surname that may have come from Germany originally: Hans Jensen Schrøder.
5. A family could have used a more unusual patronymic surname in addition to their own
patronymic. For example: Jens Pedersen Clemmendsen, Jens Rasmusen Svendsen, and Niels
Rasmusen Ovesen. Sometimes they might use one or the other of the two surnames or both
(see examples below).
6. In all cases the patronymic is the primary surname and the other surname is secondary and
just used to better identify him.
7. Danes were clever at using nicknames to distinguish people, but official records tend to not
use these nicknames often. Nicknames will often appear in at least some records.
57
Dutch Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. The third governor of the Dutch colony New Netherland, Peter Minuit (1580–1638),
purchased Manhattan Island from the Canarsee Indians for sixty guilders, or about twentyfour dollars, in trinkets. Minuit later also bought the island from the Manhattan tribe, who had
a better claim to it than the Canarsee.
2. The bad management of the West Indies Company made the prospect of immigrating to New
Netherland very unappealing to the Dutch people and the population of Dutch in the colony
remained very low.
3. The Dutch only ruled their American colony for fifty years before the English seized it.
4. Between 1820 and 1914, about two hundred thousand Dutch people immigrated to the United
States. The majority of them were farming families.
When and why did they come?
1. The Netherlands' interest in colonizing was mainly a commercial one.
2. Looming hostilities between the Dutch and the Spanish, and the Dutch wanted a base in the
New World to compete with Spain.
3. The Netherlands chartered the Dutch West Indies Company for the purpose of creating a
permanent trading post in the New World.
a. The post would need people to live in it, and this proved to be a problem. In the
Netherlands the standard of living was good.
b. The government was fair and there was freedom of religion.
c. Motivating people who were comfortable at home to move to America, with all the risks
and hardships involved in setting up a colony, was difficult.
4. New Netherland constituted some of the choicest real estate in North America, then and now.
a. It encompassed Manhattan Island and the New York Harbor, part of Long Island, the area
from the Hudson River east to the Connecticut River and west far out into the fur-trading
region, and included most of present-day New Jersey and Delaware and part of
Pennsylvania.
b. The port on the Atlantic Ocean (now New York City) was excellent for trade, and the
Hudson afforded excellent transportation. The surrounding land was fertile, and the
climate was healthful.
5. As they settled in, the Dutch colonists tried to make their new home more like the
Netherlands. They put together the funds to build a school and established the Dutch
Reformed Church, a Protestant Calvinist denomination.
6. Founded in 1628, it is one of the oldest denominations in the United States.
7. True to their background, the Dutch settlers welcomed people of most religions, including
Jews.
8. African slaves were brought into the colony.
9. In the early 1660s, the British decided to begin a military campaign to take control of the
colony, which lay between its New England and Chesapeake colonies.
10. In 1664 four British ships arrived off New Amsterdam and demanded the surrender of the
colony. In return for surrendering, they offered guarantees to the Dutch inhabitants: all the
rights of Englishmen, trading privileges, freedom of religion, the continuance of Dutch
customs and inheritance laws, and up to eighteen months for the settlers to decide whether to
leave or not.
Dutch immigration after the colonial era
1. The Dutch had lost their chance at an empire in the New World, but the Dutch people's
emigration had barely begun.
58
2. Between 1820 and 1914, about two hundred thousand Dutch peasants and rural artisans
immigrated to the United States in several major waves of migration.
3. The first wave lasted from 1847 to 1857 and consisted largely of Catholics and conservative
Dutch Reformed Protestants searching for greater religious freedom after the Dutch
government cracked down on nonconformists in religion.
a. Most settled in the New York area, while others scattered throughout the East Coast.
4. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, a second wave of Dutch immigrants flocked to
the United States.
a. This migration was made up largely of farm laborers and headed West, to the West Coast
and to the Great Plains.
b. The United States wanted to expand its territory westward and recruited immigrants
through programs such as the 1862 Homestead Act, under which parcels of land were
given for free to those who agreed to farm them for a certain number of years.
c. Available land was dwindling in the Netherlands, and with fewer opportunities at home,
landless peasants were motivated to make the move.
5. The third wave from 1880 to 1893 was prompted by a farming crisis in the Netherlands.
a. Bad weather and overworked land caused low crop yields for several years in a row,
beginning in 1878.
b. Even farm owners chose to leave their homes and search for better opportunities
elsewhere, particularly in the American Midwest and West, where land was still available
at fairly cheap rates.
6. The fourth major wave of Dutch immigration to the United States occurred from 1903 to
1913, spurred by an economic slump in the Netherlands.
a. This time the immigrants were mostly urban (city-oriented), and they settled in major
industrial centers in America, such as New York City and Chicago.
b. Some craftspeople and merchants had also immigrated with the farmers of the previous
three waves, escaping high taxes and fees in the Netherlands, but the majority of Dutch
immigrants from 1847 to 1913 were farming families.
7. In the years immediately following World War II (1939–45), another wave of Dutch
immigrants came to the United States to escape the conditions left in the aftermath of the
German occupation of their homeland during the war, which had brought about persecution,
starvation, and immense suffering.
a. About eighty thousand Dutch entered the United States during this last major wave of
immigration. Some were Jews who had survived the Holocaust.
Where did they settle?
1. Although the earliest Dutch settlers lived in what became New York State, the first wave of
later immigrants settled almost entirely within a fifty-mile radius of the southern shoreline of
Lake Michigan. Later, they spread throughout the country.
What was their religious background?
Dutch Reformed Church
1. Many of the early Dutch immigrants strongly resisted Americanization (changing or
abandoning their own culture to become more American), especially in their church life.
2. The Dutch Reformed Church carried out its sermons in the Dutch language and taught that
the Dutch way was the true way.
3. Nearly a century later, in 1762, the Dutch Reformed Church conceded to Americanization
and began holding some services in English to maintain its membership.
4. By the end of the American Revolution (1775–83), all Dutch Reformed Church services were
in English.
59
Catholics
1. Dutch Catholics who immigrated to America usually assimilated more quickly into
mainstream American life.
2. They tended to be wealthier and more urban than Dutch Protestants, who were mostly
farmers, so more Catholics had the resources to establish themselves quickly in industrialized
U.S. society.
3. Dutch Catholic, and later Jewish, immigrants also came to the United States, but by far the
majorities of Dutch Americans were and are members of the Dutch Reformed Church.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. Most Dutch Americans immigrated in entire family units and settled in communities with
others from the same province of the Netherlands.
2. This process occurred in a pattern called chain migration. After immigrants of the first wave
(1847–57) established themselves in the United States, relatives and friends of the original
immigrants followed them to America.
3. These newcomers settled near their kin, creating tightly knit communities of Dutch
Americans. Surrounded by compatriots, they were slow to assimilate and kept the Dutch
culture wholly intact for a number of generations.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. The custom was that the
• lst son be named for paternal grandfather
• 2nd son named for his maternal grandfather
• lst daughter for her maternal grandmother
• 2nd daughter for her paternal grandmother
• If 4 children were born then all 4 grandparents are known
60
Eastern European Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. Between 1820 and 1920, somewhere between 3.7 and 5 million people emigrated from the
Austro-Hungarian Empire to the United States. The emigrants were Czechs, Slavs, Slovaks,
Ukrainians, Poles, Magyars, Austrians, and others.
2. Between 1867 and 1914 some 1,815,117 Hungarians immigrated to the United States, making
up nearly half of all the emigrants from Austria-Hungary. About four hundred thousand
Czechs arrived during that time, making up about 10 percent of the Austria-Hungary
immigrants.
3. After Poland was divided between Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Prussia, so many Poles
came to the United States that Polish America became known as the "Fourth Province" of
Poland—the other three being those areas controlled by Russia, Austria, and Prussia.
4. In the nineteenth century, Russia had expanded its empire to the point that it held about onesixth of Earth's land surface at that time.
5. In the 1930s many Russians who had gone into exile in other European cities after the
Russian Revolution felt the need to leave Europe altogether in the wake of the rising Nazi
movement. More than one million people born in Russia but living elsewhere in Europe
immigrated to the United States at that time.
6. The second wave of Russian immigrants who arrived in the United States in the years after
World War II (1939–45) were confronted by the Red Scare. This wave of anticommunism
became a witch-hunt in which many innocent people were harassed and lost their jobs.
Russian Americans felt driven to hide their ethnicity and tried to appear as much like other
Americans as possible to avoid trouble, even though many of them had left their home to
escape from the communist regime.
61
English Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. The English government could not afford to sponsor colonization in the Americas, so it fell to
the hands of big business. In 1606 two charter companies, the Plymouth Company and the
London Company, formed for the purpose of creating colonies in North America.
2. The Jamestown immigrants in the colony's first half century were, for the most part, single,
male tradesmen and laborers from the cities of England. Many planned to return to England
and thus had little community spirit.
3. About 40 percent of the immigrants to the Chesapeake Bay area in the seventeenth century
were indentured servants.
4. Between 1630 and 1640 about twenty thousand English men, women, and children came to
New England in what is known as the Great Migration.
5. The Puritans in Massachusetts believed that only certain people were "God's elect," or
"saints." They developed an examination to determine which ones among them were saints.
6. Seventy thousand English "war brides" immigrated to the United States in the 1940s. They
were English women who met American servicemen stationed in England during World War
II and married them.
Why did they come?
Opportunity
1. The main motivation was certainly economic.
2. Rich may have been looking for a good investment.
3. Extensive population growth.
a. Population explosion, increasing from three million people in 1500 to over five million
by 1650.
b. London's population grew from about 200,000 in 1600 to 575,000 in 1700.
c. 25 to 50 percent of the population lived in poverty.
4. Wages for workers in England lagged far behind price increases.
5. The roles people played within the social world were already set.
a. The nobles, or "gentlemen," owned all the large spreads of land.
b. A person was born to a low position would likely maintain the lowly status.
c. Inheritance laws (the passing of one's wealth from one generation to the next) was ruled
by a system called primogeniture.
d. Family's wealth passed to the oldest son upon the father's death.
e. System ensured that the estates of the wealthy did not get divided into small pieces and
remained in the hands of a few.
f. Ensured aristocracy (government by the elite or a small class of the privileged) remained
intact.
g. Younger members of some families of wealthy families came to America as an
opportunity to make a fortune.
6. Plagues (deadly epidemic diseases) and famine were common.
Religion
1. Upheavals in the religion of England played a large role in the settlement of the New World,
particularly New England.
2. England moves from Catholic to Protestant.
3. Before the sixteenth century, England had been a Roman Catholic state.
a. Starting in 1529, King Henry VIII (1491–1547) broke the English Church from Rome
and the pope (the head of the Roman Catholic Church).
62
•
b. In the reign of Henry's young son, Edward VI, who ruled from 1547 to 1553, England's
national church was made over into a truly Protestant church, a Christian church that
denies the pope's authority and accepts the Bible as the only source of revealed truth.
c. Henry's daughter by Catherine of Aragon, took the throne and proclaimed all of England
to be Roman Catholic once again. When the Protestant leaders rebelled, Mary had many
of them executed.
d. Mary died in 1558 and was succeeded by Elizabeth I, who reigned until 1603. Elizabeth
strove to unify England under one religion that would be accepted by all.
• She created a state church—its beliefs and its leaders were chosen by her—with a
Protestant basis but retaining many Roman Catholic practices.
• The religion was called the Church of England, or the Anglican religion.
• The compromise worked well for most of the people of England, but there were
dissenters.
The Protestant nature of the church displeased a portion of the many Catholics in the country
and there were Protestants who wished to "purify" the Church of England of the remnants of
Roman Catholicism.
a. This group of Protestants, called the Puritans, arose in England in the 1560s. Elizabeth
invited Puritans to participate in England's political system and to form their own places
of worship as long as they recognized her as the head of the Church of England.
b. As a whole, the Puritans did not wish to separate from the Church of England, only to
wait for its reform. Elizabeth was skillful in bringing the country together, and it was
only after her death that the great migrations of religious dissenters (nonconformers)
would begin.
When did they come?
1. The first Massachusetts Bay Company settlers landed in Massachusetts in 1630 followed by
10 years of the largest migration to the New World. Reasons included:
a. The harassment of Puritans in England.
b. The economic problems.
c. The lure of land that was ripe for the taking (the English did not believe that Indians were
proper owners).
d. Idea of creating a new moral order and a new society.
e. Approximately sixty thousand people left England during those years, two-thirds heading
in other directions.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
In 18th & 19th Century Britain families generally tended to name their children in a specific
pattern as follows:
Males
• First-born Son - father's father
• Second-born Son - mother's father
• Third-born Son - father
• Fourth-born Son - father's eldest brother
• Fifth-born Son - father's 2nd oldest brother or mother's oldest brother
Females
• First-born Daughter - mother's mother
• Second-born Daughter - father's mother
• Third-born Daughter - mother
63
•
•
Fourth-born Daughter - mother's eldest sister
Fifth-born Daughter - mother's 2nd oldest sister or father's oldest sister
It is also common to use:
• The mother’s maiden name as a second name
• The surname of close friends as a second name
• Give another child exactly the same name as a previous child who had died
• Give a child the name of a relative or friend who had recently died
New England & Virginia Naming Patterns
1. Early settlers seemed to favor names for their associated moral qualities. Among girls' names,
which were no doubt intended to incite their bearers to lead godly lives, were: Content,
Lowly, Mindwell, Obedience, Patience, Silence, Charity, Mercy, Comfort, Delight and
Thankful.
2. A popular custom in both Virginia and New England was the use of surnames as given
names. This occurred mostly with boys, but it was not unknown for girls. Some names were
also chosen for their magical properties, and astrologers were consulted in attempt to find a
"fortunate" or "lucky" name.
3. In Virginia, Biblical references were less common. Early settlers often named sons for
Teutonic warriors, Frankish knights, and English kings. Favorites included William, Robert,
Richard, Edward, George, and Charles. Daughters received names of Christian saints and
traditional English folk names, such as Margaret, Jane, Catherine, Frances, and Alice, along
with English favorites Mary, Elizabeth, Anne, and Sarah.
Are there unique groups to remember?
What was their religious background?
Puritans
1. Many of the American immigrants in New England were Puritans and developed their
communities according to Puritan principles.
2. The Puritan immigrants, like the Plymouth settlers, intended to settle permanently in
America.
3. They often came as families or, if single, were placed in family groups.
4. Average ages in the thirties and forties.
5. The New Englanders settled in an orderly fashion, forming themselves into small groups that
bought land from the Indians, petitioned the legislature for the right to become a town, and
then moved to the town site and set up.
6. Husbands, wives, and their children set up housekeeping immediately.
7. Those men and women who were as yet unmarried boarded in the houses of those who were
married.
8. The towns that the first immigrants established filled quickly, and those who came on later
ships spread out and created new towns.
9. New England towns came in many sizes and shapes.
10. Some had individually owned farms and others had community fields where all the
townspeople worked together and split up the crops.
11. Colonists usually followed a basic pattern.
12. The site for the town was chosen by the colony's government and was generally given to a
group of about thirty or forty families.
64
13. The people in the group had generally known one another back in England, but they might
take in a "stranger" if he or she had the right skills and good standing in the community.
14. The typical New England village had a town green with a meetinghouse (church)
15. The homes were arranged near the meetinghouse and close to one another.
16. Most of the government work was done at the local level by the town officials.
17. New England towns had their own militias, groups of citizens organized for military service.
18. The Puritans believed that only certain people were "God's elect," or in their terminology,
"saints."
19. They developed a form of examination to determine who among them were the saints.
20. To keep their commonwealth pure, they ruled that only saints could govern or vote. (A
commonwealth is a form of government based on the common good of the citizens rather
than the rule of a monarch.)
Where did the Puritans come from?
1. After examining the ship lists containing 2885 immigrants to New England from 1629 - 1640,
it is determined that the Puritans came from nearly every county in England.
a. Every county of England was representative except Westmoreland and the far north and
Monmouth on the border of Wales.
2. However, on closer examination, it can be learned that well over half of these came from a
particular region. It lay on the East of England.
a. The geographic center was a city of Haverhill, very near the point where three counties
come together: Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridge.
b. A circle drawn around the town of Haverhill with a radius of 60 miles will encircle the
area where most New England immigrants lived.
c. This theory reaches East to Great Yarmouth on the coast of Norfolk County, north to
Boston in Eastern Lincolnshire County, West to Bedford County and Hertfordshire
County, and South to the Coast.
3. About 60% of immigrants to Massachusetts came from these nine eastern counties, based on
ships lists and New England genealogies.
a. Also important was the part of East Lincolnshire, which lay near the English town of
Boston, and a triangle of Kant bordered by the towns of Dover and Sandwich in
Canterbury.
b. These areas are the core of the Puritan migration to New England.
4. Another group of Puritans came from a center of migration in the West country of England,
very near where the counties of Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire come together.
• It is interesting that the Puritans that came from the West country of England mostly did
not stay in the Massachusetts Bay area.
• They tended to move to Connecticut, then South to Nantucket, or North to Maine.
5. By playing with the percentages, one can generally conclude that the children and
grandchildren of those Puritans who remained in the heart of Massachusetts are most likely
children of friends who came from East Anglican in England.
• Those who moved to other regions of England soon after their arrival were originally
from the west coast of England.
6. The East Anglian origins for the settlers of Massachusetts before 1660 can be confirmed by
the names they gave to their New England towns.
a. Examples of New England towns named after their counterparts in England are Ipswich,
Groton, Boxford, Sudbury, Hadley, Wrentham, and Framingham from towns of the same
name in Suffolk County, England.
b. Town names taken from Norfolk, England, were Lynn, Newton, and Hingham. Other
towns from East Anglia where Cambridge, Dedham, Springfield, Topsfield, Braintree,
Billerica, Chelmsford, and Malden (Essex).
65
7. Since the origins of the Puritan immigrants were limited to a handful of counties, searching
for genealogical references in the surviving parish records of the East Anglian counties of
England would be the logical place to start.
a. If you have New England ancestors who came to America within five years of 1635, your
chances of locating a reference to him in English records will be greater in the parish if
found in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.
b. After these three counties, one should then search the parish records of Hertfordshire,
Cambridgeshire, and Kent counties.
c. The next group to search particularly for those immigrants who did not stay long in
Massachusetts, would be the West country counties of Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire.
d. Many parish records from the seamless counties have been microfilmed and are available
for research through the family history centers.
66
Finnish Immigration
When did they come and where did they settle?
1. Mass migrations from Finland to the United States took place a little later than those of the
other Scandinavian countries, in the early years of the twentieth century.
2. Small numbers of Finns had been coming over since the colonial days.
3. Finland, which had been ruled by Sweden until 1809 (when Sweden ceded it, or gave it up, to
Russia), had been well represented among the Swedes who had settled New Sweden.
4. Some say as many as half the settlers sent to the colony by Sweden were Finnish.
5. After coming under Russian rule, a small population of Finns immigrated to Alaska, which
was being managed by the Russian American Fur Company.
a. Some of the Finns who worked there under the Russians married native Aleut women and
stayed there even after the United States bought Alaska in 1867.
6. Before 1850, the majority of Finnish immigrants to the United States were sailors who left
their ships and either joined the rush to California in search of gold or found a home in one of
the big eastern cities.
7. In the 1860’s, mining companies began recruiting among the Finns, particularly those who
were living in northern Norway, to come to work in the copper mines in northern Michigan.
8. After the first Finns had made the trip, found work, and reported home about it, more of their
countrymen followed, especially when farming conditions deteriorated in Finland in the
1870s.
9. Between 1870 and 1920, about 340,000 Finns immigrated to the United States.
a. They primarily went to Michigan, Minnesota, and New York, and many lived in
predominantly Finnish communities where they could preserve their language and
customs.
10. The last large migration of about twelve thousand Finns occurred in 1923.
11. Today, Michigan still has a high percentage of Finnish Americans.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. All Finns had patronymic names. Some also had a farm name they used (similar to Norway)
or a family surname. The same person may have been listed with a patronymic name in one
record and a farm or family name in another record.
• Farm Names--In addition to a given name and a patronymic name, a farm name is used to
identify the members of the farming communities in the Finnish church records. If I
lived on the “Saari” farm, my full name (given, patronymic, and farm name combined)
would be “David Jackiesson Saari.
2. Eastern and western Finland had different naming traditions. In some areas these practices
overlap and you find both customs being used by different families. It might not be obvious
which custom a family was using until the children left the home farm and they begin listing
a surname for them.
3. Patronymic Surnames (found mostly in Western Finland, primarily: Ahvenanmaa, Häme,
Kymi, Turku-Pori, Uusimaa, and Vaasa Counties). Surnames changed from generation to
generation just as was done in the other Scandinavian countries and after the same pattern as
you find in Swedish patronymics.
• Place Names. In western parts of Finland the farm names were used to refer to a family
living on the farm, just as was the tradition in Norway (see Norway below). As a family
moved from one farm to another, their farm-name could change.
• Soldier Names. Just as with Sweden (see Sweden below), when a person joined the army
in Finland they were required to take a surname that was derived at the time of their
67
•
enlistment. Also some names were taken in the 19th century when a person finished an
apprenticeship or had a professional trade.
Permanent Surnames (found mostly in Eastern Finland, primarily: Kuopio, Lappi,
Mikkeli, Oulu, and Viipuri Counties). surnames did not change from generation to
generation. They follow the same pattern as we are used to today where a surname was
passed from father to son for many centuries. Many names are similar to those found in
western Finland but they do not change as a family moves from one farm to another or
from one generation to another.
68
Forced Migrations
1. In 1755 the British expelled the French-speaking Acadians from Nova Scotia. Between four
thousand and seven thousand Acadians were forced onto ships and carried to a variety of
ports. Between seven thousand and ten thousand more Acadians fled from their homes. Many
historians believe that about half the Acadian population died as a result of the expulsion
from their homeland, mostly from disease, starvation, or exposure.
2. In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, empowering the president to enter into
treaties with Native Americans living east of the Mississippi to exchange their lands for land
west of the Mississippi River. Indians were to move to a territory composed of present-day
Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska that would become known as Indian Territory. There,
according to the removal plan, all the Indian nations could form a commonwealth governed
by a confederation of tribes.
3. Between thirteen thousand and sixteen thousand Cherokee were marched on foot from
Georgia to Oklahoma during the fall and winter of 1838 to 1839. More than one-fourth, or
between four thousand and eight thousand people, died during the forced march, from
starvation, sickness, exposure to the cold weather, and exhaustion. The Cherokee remember
the trek as "The Trail Where They Cried," and it is referred to in most history books as the
Trail of Tears.
4. In 1864 the U.S. government decided to settle the "Navajo problem," bringing in
frontiersman Kit Carson (1809–1868) to head American troops. Carson and his army
proceeded through the Navajo lands, taking their livestock and burning their homes and
crops. Thousands of nearly starving Navajo surrendered. In the course of the following year,
eight thousand Navajo were resettled at a place called Bosque Redondo near Fort Sumner in
New Mexico. In large groups at various times, they were forced to make the three hundredmile walk on foot, an event that has become known as the Long Walk.
5. In 1889 Indian Territory was opened for settlement to non-Indians in the first of the
Oklahoma Land Runs. An estimated fifty thousand people lined up at the boundaries of the
Indian Territory that day. By sundown, they had claimed two million acres of land.
6. On March 31, 1942, all Japanese Americans living along the West Coast were directed to
report to control stations and register the names of all family members. They were then told
when and where to report with their families for relocation to an assembly area, a temporary
camp where they could be held until they could be more permanently placed in an internment
camp.
When did they come and where did they settle?
1. Africans sold into slavery arrived in the New World by means of a forced immigration.
a. Unlike the nation's other immigrants, they did not arrive on U.S. shores to seek
opportunities or to start a new life; rather, they were shipped to the country against their
will and deprived of their human rights for the benefit of slave owners.
b. An immigrant is someone who travels to a country of which he or she is not a native with
the intention of settling there as a permanent resident.
c. Although Africans brought to the United States as slaves were certainly immigrants, their
experiences differed widely from the experiences of people who chose to immigrate.
2. Many of the lands the pioneers in the United States took over during the westward expansion
already belonged to Native Americans who had lived on the continent for thousands of years.
a. During the westward mass migration, thousands of people in eastern parts of the United
States moved to the western frontier regions.
b. The consequences of the mass migration for American Indians often were gruesome and
horribly unfair.
69
c. The experiences of each of the tribes upon the arrival of the white settlers to their lands
differed. Most were shut out of their own lands. Many tribes, however, remained on their
ancestral lands under the provisions of treaties (contracts signed by two parties showing
agreement on the terms described within the contract) with the United States. Almost
always, however, it was only on a small portion of their lands on reservations (lands set
aside by the government for the use of a particular Native American group or groups) and
under terms that drastically changed their way of life.
d. Some Native American tribes, witnessing the defeat of other tribes, chose to migrate (to
move from one place to another) to avoid conflict with the white settlers. Tribes that tried
to stay in their homelands were forced by the United States government to leave,
sometimes at gunpoint.
e. Some Native American groups that these forced migrations happened to were the Five
Civilized Tribes, the Navajo, and the Nez Perce.
3. Some groups arrived in the United States through involuntary exile (being forced to leave)
from their homeland. Such was the case with the Acadians, French-speaking Catholics forced
from their home in Nova Scotia by the British.
a. The Acadians eventually found their way to Louisiana. Although the United States prides
itself on providing basic rights to its people, forced removals of groups from their home
due to religion or ancestry has occurred at times in the nation's history.
4. The Mormons, whose religious beliefs were targeted by local governments, were exiled from
their home base in Missouri, triggering the migration of tens of thousands west to Utah.
5. Later, more than one hundred thousand Japanese Americans were evacuated (removed during
an emergency) from their homes on the West Coast and placed in internment camps (places
in which people are confined in wartime) by the American government during World War II
(1939–45) for no other reason than their ancestry.
70
French Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. During the sixteenth century, persecution of French Protestants called Huguenots began in
France. The height of the violence was the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre on August 24,
1572, in which an estimated thirty thousand Huguenots were killed.
2. In 1682 French explorer Robert Cavelier (1643–1687), Sieur de La Salle, descended the
Mississippi River from the Illinois River all the way to the Mississippi's mouth in the Gulf of
Mexico. He laid claim to virtually all of the interior of North America for France and named
the land Louisiana.
3. When the United States bought the Louisiana Territory in 1802, it comprised 828,000 square
miles of land, which nearly doubled the size of the nation.
4. France ceded, or turned over, its American colonies in 1763.
When and why did they come?
New France
1. Most of France's early dealings with North America involved the fur trade.
a. French fur traders established alliances with many North American native tribal groups,
who supplied them with furs, guides, and transportation in return for European goods.
b. In 1603 French King Henry IV (1553–1610), intrigued with the commercial possibilities
in the New World but especially fur trading, sent explorer Samuel de Champlain (c.
1567–1635) to investigate.
c. After his first trip, Champlain convinced the king that the French had claims in North
America
d. He settled in an area called Acadia in 1604, which consisted approximately of the
present-day Maritime Provinces of Canada: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince
Edward Island; and also founded a permanent settlement at Quebec City in 1608.
e. Within a few years Quebec would become the center of French fur trading in the New
World. But despite Champlain's efforts at colonizing, New France grew very slowly in
the first decades.
2. In 1629, a development system was instituted in New France called the seigneurial system.
a. The French government gave a large parcel of land to an individual.
b. That person, called a seigneur, was required to populate and farm the area.
c. To do so, the seigneur recruited immigrants to work in his house and on his farms on a
wage basis.
d. He was also responsible for helping the settlers adapt to the new country.
e. The recruits were committed to stay for at least three years.
f. If they chose to stay beyond that time, they were granted a small piece of their own land.
g. Champlain awarded some of the first settlers in the Saint Lawrence Valley immense
parcels of land under the seigneurial system, encouraging them to recruit emigrants from
France.
h. The seigneurs of the Saint Lawrence Valley, in the present-day northern United States
and southern Canada, were responsible for bringing in the first immigrants from France
to settle in the area.
3. For the century and a half of French colonization, three-quarters of the emigrants were men,
although from time to time the French government sent women to the colonies to marry these
workers.
4. In 1665 France sent one thousand soldiers to help fight the Iroquois and of those, four
hundred chose to stay when offered land of their own.
5. The French found easy access to the heart of the North American continent from Canada.
6. New France extended from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.
71
7. French explorers and woodsmen overran the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley,
establishing key forts: Fort Cataraqui, now Kingston, Ontario, in 1673.
a. Fort Miami, now Saint Joseph, Michigan, in 1679.
b. Fort Saint Louis and Fort Crévecoeur in Illinois from 1680 to 1682.
c. Fort Biloxi, in present-day Mississippi, was founded in 1699.
d. Mobile, in present-day Alabama, in 1702.
e. New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1717.
8. The French presence in what would become the United States was mainly confined to
villages along the Mississippi River in what became known as the pays des Illinois, or Illinois
country, and in Louisiana.
9. By 1752 some 58 percent of the white settlers in Illinois country came from Canada, 38
percent from France, and the small remainder from Switzerland, Italy, and Louisiana.
a. There was also a considerable black slave population, brought in by whites from the
different territories of the Americas and from the Caribbean.
b. By the mid 1760s there were an estimated eleven hundred whites, five hundred black
slaves, and also a few Indian slaves living in the Illinois country.
Louisiana
1. Louisiana Territory was vast but vaguely defined.
2. When the United States bought it in 1802, it comprised 828,000 square miles of land, which
nearly doubled the size of the nation.
3. Louisiana stretched west from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and north from
the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border.
4. For France, the settlement of this enormous territory began and ended slowly.
a. In 1684 the French government financed La Salle in a disastrous expedition in which he
brought four ships, with about two hundred soldiers and three hundred settlers, to the
New World. The ships got lost, missing the mouth of the Mississippi River, and then
experienced a string of disasters.
b. The crew eventually rebelled and murdered La Salle. A second expedition settled in
Biloxi Bay, in present-day Mississippi. The settlers struggled to survive in the sweltering
tropical climate; most later moved north to the upper Mississippi and Illinois.
c. The first census of Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1699, listed only eighty-two persons, all male.
By 1708 there were 278 persons in Louisiana.
d. In 1718, when Louisiana became a province (a division of the French nation, like a state),
the colony had four hundred Europeans. During the next few years the high mortality
rates kept the population low, despite new arrivals.
5. The colony of Louisiana was governed by several directors and then fell into the hands of the
Company of the Indies in 1717.
a. The company believed a surge in population was their only hope of making the colony a
financial success. Consequently between October 1717 and May 1721, 7,020 colonists
were sent to Louisiana from France; only 5,420 survived the crossing.
b. Two thousand African slaves were also sent to the colony. By 1726 a census showed that
the population was only 1,952 people—thousands of people had been lost, mainly to
diseases that prevailed in the hot, humid climate.
c. The Company of the Indies lost control of the colony in 1731, and slave imports ceased.
d. By 1763, when France surrendered Louisiana to the Spanish, the population stood at
some 3,654 whites and 4,598 slaves.
6. The French takeover of the Mississippi Valley in the interior section of the New World
settlements led directly to the clash with Great Britain in the French and Indian War (1754–
63; a war between England and France with some Indians fighting as allies to the French),
which cost France its entire American empire.
72
7. New France ceased to exist after the final surrender to England in 1763, with the exception of
Louisiana, which was ceded (given) to Spain the same year.
8. The initial French settlement was reinforced during the late eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries by a small stream of French and French-speaking immigrants from Europe and the
Caribbean; as late as 1860 there were fifteen thousand French-born residents in New Orleans.
a. But the crucial migration to Louisiana was the migration of French-speaking refugees
from what is now called Nova Scotia but which they called Acadia.
b. These Acadians - or, as they came to call themselves, Cajuns - who have become a
distinct ethnic group.
c. In 1980 eight hundred thousand Cajuns were living in south and south-central Louisiana,
and another twenty thousand in the Saint John River Valley in Maine.
d. They are descended from French immigrants to Canada, largely from Normandy and
Brittany, who settled Nova Scotia in the seventeenth century.
9. France was in the process of regaining Louisiana from Spain at the beginning of the
nineteenth century when a slave revolt on the West Indian island of St. Dominique erupted.
a. The uprising doomed France's hopes for profit from its Caribbean sugar plantations.
b. Without the sugar trade, France had no interest in Louisiana.
c. The United States wanted the land, and France quickly sold it to the U.S. government for
fifteen million dollars.
d. The inhabitants of Louisiana were suddenly U.S. citizens.
e. At the time the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, the
population of the whole area was about 97,000.
f. In 2002, the population from the same area was 36.1 million.
French Americans
1. French immigration to the United States has never been substantial.
2. During the entire century and a half of French colonization in North America, only about ten
thousand people actually migrated from France to the New World.
3. During the 1790s, a number of French aristocrats fled to the United States to escape
persecution or even death in the French Revolution (1789–93; a war in which the monarchy
was overthrown and a republic was established).
4. At the same time, a revolution in the French colony of St. Dominique in the Caribbean drove
out the French aristocrats there, most of whom also came to the United States.
5. A shift in French politics in 1815 led to another French migration.
6. Between the 1790s and 1850s, between ten and twenty-five thousand French immigrated to
America.
7. Between 1840 and 1860 it is estimated that about one hundred thousand French people
immigrated to the United States, forming the largest French immigration wave.
Where did they settle?
The biggest population of people of French Canadian descent can be found in New England and
the Great Lakes states.
French in Louisiana
1. The state of Louisiana continues to base its legal system on the Code Napoléon (a code of
laws written by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte [1769–1861]), the only state to do so;
other states use English common law.
2. Louisiana's population retains a mixture of people of original French descent and Cajuns.
3. Cajuns were people who were exiled from French-speaking Acadia, in present-day Nova
Scotia, Canada.
73
4. There is also a French-speaking culture in New England, made up of immigrants from
Quebec.
French in New England
1. During the late 1800s, there was a mass migration of French Canadians, many from the
Quebec area, to the industrializing towns of New England, and a second wave began in the
1910s, peaking in 1920.
2. Thousands arrived in northeastern cities and towns, such as Manchester and Nashua, New
Hampshire; and Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, Holyoke, Salem, and Southbridge,
Massachusetts.
3. The logging mills in Lewiston, Maine, also drew many French Canadians. Many retained the
French language and French Canadian customs in their new home for several generations.
4. Later French Canadian migrations were often to places closer to the Canadian border,
especially focusing on Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
What was their religious background?
Lutheran and Catholic
French Huguenots
1. Over time, French Protestants became strongly influenced by Calvinism, the name given to
the belief system of French theologian John Calvin (1509–1564).
a. Calvinists believed that the symbols and rituals of the Roman Catholic practice were
useless in finding salvation (being saved from eternal damnation).
b. In their view, the only instrument necessary to achieve grace (God's help or mercy) was
the Bible, newly available to them in their own languages—unlike the Catholic practice
of presenting the Bible in Latin.
c. Calvinists viewed deep faith in God as very important for the soul, but even with faith,
salvation and grace were not available to all.
d. They believed that God had already chosen "the elect"—the people predestined to receive
divine favor and to be saved from damnation.
2. The French Calvinists, who came to be called Huguenots, were never a majority in France--at
its highest, their churches made up only about 10 percent of all of French churches.
a. Large portion of the Huguenots were from France's nobility and the upper middle classes.
Many were very outspoken about their beliefs, working tirelessly for the spread of
Protestantism throughout France.
b. French kings feared the Huguenots.
c. They believed the nobility should be aligned with the king and that, by threatening the
national church, the Huguenots diminished the power of the monarch.
d. The persecution (causing to suffer, especially for a difference of religious views) of
Huguenots in France varied over the years.
e. Some monarchs were very hostile, while several other French kings established good
relations with them.
3. The Huguenots: the first French colonists in the New World.
a. Hostility toward the Protestants was strong in 1536.
b. French government issued a general order urging the extermination (the killing of an
entire population) of the Huguenots.
c. Even under the threat of death, Protestantism continued to spread.
d. As the number of Huguenots grew, the hostility between them and the Catholics
increased as well.
e. By 1550 Huguenots who refused to convert to Catholicism were being burned at the
stake.
74
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
f. 1562, about twelve hundred Huguenots were slain at Vassey, France.
g. The Huguenots had the determination, the numbers, and the resources to fight back in
war called the French Wars of Religion for next thirty-five years.
Massacre on August 24, 1572. Starting as a three-day massacre of three thousand Huguenots
in Paris, the killing spread throughout France. When it was over, an estimated thirty thousand
Huguenots had been killed, and some say it was many more.
Just before the Vassey slayings in 1562, the French king had decided to establish a French
colony in Florida.
In April 1598, the new French king, Henry IV (1553–1610), signed the Edict of Nantes,
which ended the Wars of Religion and allowed the Huguenots some religious freedoms,
including free exercise of their religion in twenty specified towns of France.
a. After this, huge numbers of Huguenots (with estimates ranging from 200,000 to
1,000,000 ) fled to surrounding Protestant countries: England, the Netherlands,
Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Prussia — whose Calvinist Great Elector Frederick
William welcomed them to help rebuild his war-ravaged and under populated country.
• Since the Huguenots of France were in large part artisans and professional
people, they were usually well received in the countries to which they fled.
b. Between 1618 and 1725 about five to seven thousand Huguenot refugees reached the
shores of America.
• The largest concentrations were in New England, New York, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, and South Carolina.
The largest population of Huguenots, in the United States had settled in Charleston, South
Carolina.
The Huguenots in the United States generally joined Protestant churches, particularly the
Presbyterian Church.
Many adapted to the prevailing culture around them, while others maintained the strict
Calvinism of their past.
75
German Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. German Americans in Pennsylvania have come to be known as the Pennsylvania Dutch,
although they are not from the Netherlands. In the German language, the word for "German"
is "Deutsch" (pronounced doytch). It is likely that other settlers mistook the word for the
English "Dutch."
2. A form of Protestantism that arose in Germany was called the "plain" churches, or
Anabaptists. Among them were the Mennonites and the Amish, the German Brethren, or
Dunkards, and the Society of Friends, or Quakers. All these groups believed in nonviolence
and simple worship. Anabaptists differed from most Protestant groups in their belief that an
individual should be baptized as an adult rather than in infancy.
3. In 1848 German rebels who wanted the German states to unify under a democratic,
constitutional government set off a series of uprisings. The movement did not succeed.
Afterward, facing arrest and persecution at the hands of the German princes, between four
and ten thousand "forty-eighters" immigrated to the United States.
4. German American craftspeople brought their guild system to the United States. These craft
guilds evolved into trade unions, giving rise to the general labor-union movement.
5. Until World War I (1914–18), millions of German Americans continued to speak the German
language. Many lived in German-speaking enclaves, and even those who did not tried to
maintain their native language. German Americans even took political action to make sure
their children could be educated in the German language.
Why did they come?
1. Mass migrations were mainly motivated by the desire for economic opportunity and
prosperity.
a. For many years rural Germans had lived on small family farms.
b. As the German states faced industrialization (the change from a farm-based economy to
an economic system based on the manufacturing of goods and distribution of services on
an organized and mass-produced basis), the old way of rural life was quickly
disappearing.
c. Many were forced to move into cities and learn new skills.
d. Yet, with unemployment in Germany rising, the cities did not always hold much hope.
Among those who emigrated, some had few options left in Germany and sought more
opportunity.
2. The shipping companies hired recruiters to travel through the German states.
a. They would arrive in a village or a town in brightly colored wagons with a fanfare of
trumpets and drums.
b. When a crowd had assembled, the recruiters would describe the wonders of the New
World and urge the people to migrate.
c. Their advertising campaign was successful.
3. Many Germans, seeking better opportunities, contracted themselves out as indentured
servants, people who agreed to work for a colonist for a set period of time in exchange for
payment of their passage from Europe to the New World.
a. At the end of the service term (usually seven years), the indentured servant was given a
small piece of land or goods to help set up a new life in the colony.
When did they come?
1. From sixty-five thousand to one hundred thousand German-speaking people made their way
to the United States during the colonial era (before 1776).
76
2. By 1790 the German American population in the American colonies had reached about
360,000.
3. Immigration from Europe to the United States overwhelmingly increased in the mid-1800s.
4. The U.S. population recorded in the census of 1860 was 31,500,000; of that population,
4,736,000, or 15 percent, were of foreign birth.
a. The greater part of these immigrants had come from two countries: 1,611,000 from
Ireland, and 1,301,000 from Germany (principally from the southwestern states of
Württemberg, Baden, and Bavaria).
5. The mass migration from Germany had begun in the 1830s, but the peak decades were the
1850s, with more than 950,000 immigrants, and the 1880s, with nearly 1.5 million.
6. In Germany, most emigrants left from Bremerhaven or Hamburg.
7. By the 1850s, New York had become the principal port of arrival for German immigrants.
Where did they settle?
1. One of the first points of settlement was Germantown in the British colony of Pennsylvania.
a. Pennsylvania's founder, William Penn (1644–1718), was a member of the Quakers, a
radical Protestant sect in England founded by George Fox (1624–1691) in the late 1640s.
• As a member of the Society of Friends, he rejected formal creeds and worship.
• Like other proprietors in the New World, Penn hoped to profit from the sale or rent of
land in his colony, but his primary aim in setting up a colony was a religious one.
• His search for settlers started among English people, especially Quakers.
b. Before long, he was recruiting among the Mennonites (an Anabaptist group founded by
Menno Simons [1496–1561], a Dutch priest) in the Rhineland, where Anabaptists were
experiencing persecution.
c. Although many people associate the Pennsylvania Dutch with the Amish (another
Anabaptist sect), the term "Pennsylvania Dutch" includes all German-speaking
immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and areas immediately surrounding.
d. Many of the Pennsylvania Dutch came from the Rhineland states, especially the
Palatinate (Pfalz).
e. Immigrants from the Palatinate started arriving in larger numbers after 1710.
f. The first settlers sent home flattering reports of the new colony, leading to more people
making the journey and settling in the increasingly German areas.
g. Pennsylvania's population was one-third German by the time of the American Revolution
(1775–83).
2. In the United States, most Germans lived on the countryside. Only about two fifths lived in
cities larger than 25,000 people.
3. Germans settled in the states from Ohio to Missouri on the south quadrant, and from
Michigan to North Dakota and down to Nebraska on the north and west quadrants.
4. These territories were accessible on waterways from New Orleans up the Mississippi and the
Ohio, or the Missouri, or from New York across the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, and out
to areas already connected by railroads.
5. For craftsmen, the booming cities of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, St.
Louis and Chicago offered job opportunities, which could be said also for East Coast cities
like New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
6. Many chose to stay in the East, while others moved westward along the Erie Canal through
Buffalo and out to Ohio.
7. By the 1840s large numbers of German immigrants went to New Orleans on cotton ships
from Le Havre, France.
8. The majority moved to the valleys of the upper Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
9. By 1880, Wisconsin had more German Americans than any other state.
77
10. In the years between 1860 and 1890, three-fifths of German immigrants moved to rural areas,
while two-fifths moved to the cities.
11. When they settled, they often established German-speaking communities, setting up their
own churches, schools, newspapers, and other institutions, and keeping their cultural
traditions alive in the New World.
12. Many of the Jewish immigrants settled in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, but other
cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans, had large Jewish communities as
well.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. In 1870, German-born farmers made up one third of the agricultural industry in the region.
a. Large numbers of German farmers could be found in the Midwest and in Texas.
b. Some even went as far west as Anaheim, California.
c. West coast German farmers, though, didn't live up to the east coast stereotype of a
German farmer. Most of the west coast farmers would sacrifice fertile land for a closer
location to other Germans.
2. In cities, Germans would cluster together to form communities not unlike the Chinese
Chinatowns.
3. These replications of Germany would house prominent German businesses such as the lager
beer industry.
4. German entrepreneurs such as bakers, butchers, cabinetmakers, cigar makers, distillers,
machinists, and tailors also could be found in abundance in these "Miniature-Germany"
towns.
5. German women, however, were less likely than the average American woman to enter the
labor force.
6. Very few German women could be found holding jobs in a factory, or as a clerk. Instead,
they sought after work as bakers, domestic workers, hotel keepers, janitors, laundry workers,
nurses, peddlers, saloon keepers, and tailors.
What was their religious background?
1. Rough estimates put German immigrants at one-third Catholic and the other two-thirds
predominantly Lutheran and Reformed.
2. A form of Protestantism that arose in Germany was called the "plain" churches, or
Anabaptists. Among them were the Mennonites and the Amish, the German Brethren, or
Dunkards, and the Society of Friends, or Quakers.
a. All these groups believed in nonviolence and simple worship. Anabaptists differed from
most Protestant groups in their belief that an individual should be baptized as an adult
rather than in infancy.
b. Since many of the Anabaptist settlers had come to the new country to lead a simpler life
according to their religion, they often isolated themselves and their children from
American culture and society, even rejecting public schooling.
3. Cooperatively small in numbers were German Methodists, Baptists, Unitarians, Pietists, Jews
and Free Thinkers.
4. About 250,000—of the German immigrants were Jews.
a. Jews had lived in Germany since the fourth century, many having settled in the Rhine
area. Jews had long been assimilated in German cultures when suddenly, from the 1830s
into the 1880s, several German states began to pass anti-Semitic laws (laws hostile
toward Jews).
b. In southern Germany, these laws prohibited young Jews from marrying or starting a
family in their communities.
c. Some decided to immigrate to the United States.
78
d. The first Jews from Bohemia, Bavaria, Baden, Württemberg, and Alsace-Lorraine came
in the 1820s.
e. Many of these immigrants were young, aspiring, and middle class, skilled at a trade or a
profession.
f. Often they were equipped with savings to get themselves started in a trade in the new
country.
g. A significant portion were well educated.
Are there other unique groups to remember?
The Hessians
1. In the American Revolution (1775–83), British King George III (1738–1820) did not have
enough soldiers to fight the rebels in his American colonies, so he purchased the services of
approximately thirty thousand soldiers from the German states and shipped them to America
to fight.
2. Quite a few of the states provided him with soldiers, but the majority of them came from the
state of Hesse-Kassel. Because there were so many soldiers from Hesse-Kassel, all the
Germans fighting on the British side came to be called Hessians by the Americans.
3. The prince of Hesse-Kassel sold at least twelve thousand soldiers to King George, receiving a
significant sum per head. The prince did not pay the soldiers, however, and many of them had
been forced into the service against their will.
4. About six thousand Hessians deserted the British army and fought on the side of the
colonists. After the war was over, as many as twelve thousand of these soldiers stayed in the
new country and became U.S. citizens.
5. This was made easier for them because there was already a fairly substantial German
American population that they could join.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. The custom of Germans was to give, at baptism, two names.
• The first was a spiritual or a saint's name in honor of a favorite saint.
• The second or middle name was the name the person was known by within the family.
2. It was common practice in some German families to name the first born son after the child's
paternal grandfather and the second born son after the maternal grandfather.
3. The suffix "in" or "en", added to the end of a name, such as Anna Maria Hetzelin denoted
female, often an unmarried female.
4. In some German areas you will find that all of the sons had the same first name, frequently
Johann, and all of the daughters also, often Anna.
• You might find a family with Johann Georg, Johann Jacob and Johann Michael. Usually
they went by their second name.
• But when an official record was involved, they might revert to their full name. Hans is a
nickname for Johann so you might also find records for Hans Michael or Hans Jacob.
• Occasionally, names would be reversed so that Michael Georg became Georg Michael,
probably because Georg was the name he went by and Michael was only secondary.
79
Greek Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. Like many other national groups, Greek Americans sometimes become divided between
those who have been in the country for several generations and those who have arrived more
recently. Conflicts between these two groups came to a head in 1967 when the U.S.
government backed a military takeover in Greece and supported the resulting oppressive
dictatorship there for seven more years.
2. The U.S. government also supported Turkey's controversial invasion of the island republic of
Cyprus, which had both Greek and Turkish inhabitants, in 1974.
3. Those Greek Americans who had lived in the United States for generations and considered
themselves more American than Greek were less likely to question U.S. policy. More recent
immigrants, however, strongly opposed the U.S. support of the military dictatorship and the
Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Political shifts in Greece since then have kept alive the
disagreement among Greek Americans.
Why did they come?
1. The first Greeks who decided to immigrate to the United States in the late nineteenth century
were farmers who suffered from poverty due to an unstable Greek economy and a population
explosion that had been the result of improvements in sanitation and medicine.
a. By the turn of the twentieth century, many farmers could not raise enough food to feed
their families and pay their rent and taxes, and there were not enough jobs to sustain the
lower classes through the bad times.
b. Most who decided to emigrate were uneducated and illiterate.
c. Many, like the Italian immigrants at that time, wished to come to the United States only
long enough to earn some money to bring home to their families.
When did they come?
Between 1900 and 1920 about 350,000 Greek immigrants arrived in the United States. The
Immigration Act was passed in 1924, and it severely restricted the numbers of immigrants
allowed into the United States from countries that had not had a big population there in 1890. The
Greek immigration slowed significantly. World War II and the Greek Civil War (1947–49) that
almost immediately followed, further reducing Greek immigration until about 1950. After World
War II, the United States, in return for its allies' support, passed the Refugee Relief Act to allow
refugees from countries devastated by the war to immigrate. Many Greeks took advantage of this
opportunity, and the number of Greek immigrants rose dramatically. Another wave of Greek
immigration began in the late 1960s when an oppressive regime took over the Greek government
and many Greeks decided to flee. The Immigration Act of 1965 had ended the quota system,
making entering the country much easier. In the first decade after the act, more than 142,000
people immigrated to the United States from Greece. Most of the Greek immigrants to the United
States since World War II have stayed there, and many are women and professionals.
Where did they settle?
1. Although Greek Americans are spread across the United States, over one-third live in the
Northeast. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have the highest percentage of Greek
Americans in their total state populations.
a. The five states with the largest numbers of Greek Americans are (in descending order)
New York, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Florida. Greek Americans tend to
cluster in cities, especially New York, Boston, and Chicago. Only a few of the original
Greektowns still exist, including Astoria in the Queens borough of New York City, and
Greektown in Detroit, Michigan.
80
b. Formerly, Greektowns were located in Lowell, Massachusetts; Salt Lake City, Utah;
Tarpon Springs, Florida (where Greek Americans ran a profitable sponge-diving
business); St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; and New York City; as well as others on
Long Island and across New York.
c. The populations of these enclaves have scattered as most Greek Americans have
assimilated into the U.S. mainstream.
What were their social and work conditions?
2. Like the Italians, the Greek immigrants had a system in which padrones in the United States
helped new immigrants find jobs.
a. The Greek padrones developed a system in which they recruited workers from Greece to
come to the United States under the terms of a contract. This worked much like the
indentured servant system: the employers would pay for the worker's passage to America,
and in return the worker would agree to work for a number of years at an agreed-upon,
but very low, wage.
b. Many Greek families who could not make ends meet sent their teenaged sons under
these contracts. The terms of employment were very difficult for these young workers,
but many desired to venture out into a new world of possibilities and were glad to go, at
least at first.
c. Young men and boys under the padrone system often worked as shoe shines or as helpers
to grocers and other shopkeepers.
d. Most intended to return home to Greece with enough money to buy farmland for their
families.
3. In 1912 war broke out between Greece and Turkey. The ties to home were still very strong
for the mainly male Greek American population at that time, and about forty-five thousand
Greek Americans returned to Greece to defend their country in the Balkan Wars.
a. Although many of these young men had always planned to return to Greece, after the war
they found little opportunity there. Many decided to return to the United States and settle
there instead.
b. Most Greeks had little experience with the industrialized work world of the United States.
They tended to avoid farm work, but took other unskilled jobs, usually for very low
wages.
c. New England's textile industry attracted many Greek immigrants.
d. Many of the newcomers were exploited by the padrone system, but most managed to
survive and tuck away bits of money to build up their savings slowly.
4. Many Greek immigrants eventually opened their own businesses.
a. They tended to specialize in shoeshine stands, florist shops, grocery stores, candy stores,
fruit stands, and restaurants, particularly diners. Many of these businesses still exist
today, as a high percentage of Greek Americans continue to own their own businesses.
5. Often when a Greek male who had come to the United States had become settled in a
business, he began to seek a wife. In an immigrant's first years in the country, he might
decide to have a marriage arranged for him back in Greece.
a. He would become engaged to a young woman from his home village who was known to
his family, communicating with her through the mail. Then the woman would immigrate,
and the couple would marry soon after she arrived.
6. Despite low levels of education upon arriving in the United States, Greek Americans are now
among the wealthiest of all ethnic groups in the United States.
a. Their average income is considerably higher than other groups and their rate of
unemployment is much lower. Fewer Greek Americans than any other ethnic group live
below the poverty line and very few are on welfare.
81
b. With each succeeding generation, more Greek Americans pursue higher education, are
able to enter more skilled professions, and earn higher wages.
c. Therefore, the average income of Greek Americans continues to go up.
7. Greek Americans take marriage and family very seriously.
a. Although recently on the rise, the divorce rate among Greek Americans is still quite low
compared with that of other ethnic groups. First- and second-generation Greek Americans
usually marry other Greek Americans, but later generations have begun to marry outside
their ethnic boundaries.
b. Traditional Greek families are quite close and often live in extended family groups.
Today's Greek American families are becoming less closely bonded and are more likely
to live in nuclear family units (including only the parents and their children).
c. Elderly Greek Americans are also more likely these days to be admitted to a nursing
home rather than be cared for at home by family members.
82
Hungarian Immigration
Why did they come and where did they settle?
1. Hungarian - Magyar - immigrants are more representative of emigration from Eastern Europe
than are either Poles or Jews.
a. Males were highly predominant among the Magyars (two-thirds), and nearly half of them
returned to Hungary, some of them, to be sure, to return to America. Magyars are found
in significant numbers in only one nation, Hungary.
b. The data from the 1910 census show that more than 99 percent of those immigrants
claiming Magyar as a mother tongue emigrated from Hungary and that, conversely,
Magyars were a minority (46 percent) of immigrants from Hungary.
2. There was a small Hungarian presence as early as the American Revolution, when several
professional soldiers came.
a. But the first Hungarians to arrive in any number were political refugees, followers of
Lajos Kossuth after the failed revolutions of 1848.
b. Kossuth himself returned to Europe, but hundreds stayed. Many of them, military
veterans, were among the roughly eight hundred Hungarians who served in the Union
Army during the Civil War. These men left few traces after the war and established no
communities. Hungarians really began with labor migration in the late nineteenth
century.
c. Worsening economic conditions in Hungary after 1880 and the attraction of relatively
high-paying jobs in the United States drew, first of all, members of ethnic minorities in
Hungary to the United States.
d. As economic conditions worsened, better-off Magyar began to come to America.
Hungarian statistics show that in 1899 only one emigrant in four was a Magyar speaker,
but by 1903 they comprised a majority.
3. The Magyar migration was short lived, extending from the late 1890s to the outbreak of
WWI. In that time more than 450,000 Hungarians came to America.
a. Most were under thirty and 88 percent were literate, about 30 percent higher than the rate
for Hungary as a whole.
b. Coming largely without industrial skills, like members of most other Eastern European
ethnic groups, took dirty, dangerous jobs at wages that were low for America but high for
Hungary. Initially they worked long hours, spent little, and saved large amounts to send
or take back home with them.
c. While many Hungarians started in coal mining, more eventually worked in heavy
industry in the Northeast and Middle West. Ohio and Cleveland in particular became a
focal point of Hungarian settlement.
4. In the subsequent decades very different kinds of immigrants came from Hungary. In the
1920s and 1930s refugees from the Horthy regime and later from Nazism came to the United
States.
5. In the years immediately after WWII some twenty thousand Hungarians were among the
displaced persons and other refugees admitted to the United States, while after the failed
Hungarian Revolution of 1956 some thirty-five thousand persons, many of them freedom
fighters who resisted the Soviet occupation forces, also came to the United States.
a. While some have settled in places where long-standing Hungarian communities exist, in
Cleveland or New York, many others settled or were settled by various voluntary
agencies, in the Sun Belt of the South and West.
83
Icelandic Immigration
When did they come and where did they settle?
1. About 15,000 came to the United States between 1855 and 1914—a huge proportion of
Iceland's total population, which was 78,000 people in 1900.
a. Iceland experienced a series of disasters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,
including disastrous volcanic eruptions, widespread disease, a sheep epidemic, and
widespread starvation.
b. At a time when the other Scandinavian countries were experiencing population
explosions, Iceland's population was decreasing because many people had not survived
the catastrophes.
c. The country was still part of a union with Denmark, but when Icelanders emigrated, most
preferred to go to Canada and the United States.
2. Most Icelanders in the United States settled in North Dakota and Washington, or in New
York and Los Angeles.
3. In 1855 the Mormons established a city at Spanish Fork, Utah, and for the next five years
Icelandic Mormons flowed into the new settlement, making it the first Icelandic settlement in
the United States.
a. Many of the city's current population are of Icelandic descent. In 1918 Iceland won its
independence from Denmark.
4. The states with the largest Icelander populations include Washington, California, Utah,
Minnesota, and North Dakota.
a. One Icelander settlement was founded on Washington Island in Lake Michigan in
Wisconsin in 1870.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Patronymics
1. Given names become even more significant in the patronymic system, as in Scandinavia,
where the given name of the father becomes the surname of the son. If Eric Larson has a son,
he will be John Ericson and his son will be Sven Johnson.
84
Irish Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. In 1691 the British enacted the first of the Penal Laws in Ireland, which prohibited Irish
Catholics from receiving an education, entering a profession, purchasing land, voting, holding
public office, owning any kind of weapon, or owning a horse of greater value than five
pounds. The Penal Laws remained in effect until 1829, ensuring that Irish Catholics were
impoverished and powerless to rebel against their oppressors.
2. Starting in 1845 a mysterious disease killed Ireland's potato crop. Because the tenant farmers
of Ireland had little besides potatoes to eat, within just a few years an estimated 1.5 million
people died of starvation or related diseases.
3. In 1847, as the potato famine raged, Parliament legislated that the Irish poor were the
responsibility of the landowners. After that, when landlords evicted the tenant farmers from
their land, they either paid to have them placed in workhouses or sent them off to the New
World. An estimated two and a half million Irish Catholics entered the workhouses during the
potato blight, while an estimated one to one and a half million obtained inexpensive one-way
passage on rickety ships heading for the New World.
4. Irish Catholic immigrants in the United States tended not to move inland to the rural areas but
stayed in East Coast cities and towns.
5. By the 1840s nativist organizations were gaining strength. The American Party, later known
as the Know-Nothing Party, claimed that immigrants—primarily the Irish and Roman
Catholics—were threatening to destroy American values and democracy.
6. As the Irish American population grew in the northeastern cities, its growing numbers gave it
increasing voting capacity. Urban Irish Americans across the country organized into political
machines made up of precincts working under a boss whose power depended on his ability to
deliver up the district's votes. Because they manipulated the voting system by granting favors,
political machines always had some criminal element, but the extent varied greatly.
7. In 1850, 75 percent of Irish women in the United States were domestics. Second-generation
Irish American women, anxious to escape the household-help business, were determined to
get an education. At the turn of the century, Irish American women stayed in school longer
than Irish American men.
Why did they come?
1. The main reason that the Irish people immigrated to the United States is to escape the
widespread Potato Famine that plagued the country and killed over a million.
a. In 1845 about three to four million of Ireland's eight million people were rural poor.
• They were responsible for growing Ireland's abundant export crops, the tenants were
forced to deliver everything they grew to their landlords to pay their rent.
• This food—meat and grains—was shipped out of Ireland to be sold in foreign ports.
Potatoes barely sustained the Irish farmers throughout the year.
• In 1845 a mysterious disease, a fungus called Phytophthora infestants, hit Europe's
potato crops, destroying about one-third of Ireland's potatoes.
• It was clear that many of the poor would starve unless they got help.
• That year the British prime minister had corn shipped in from the United States.
• With this aid, although many suffered terribly, no one died of starvation in 1845.
Ireland's other crops prospered and continued to be shipped out of the country, even
though the food was so badly needed by the very people who had grown it.
b. 1846 the potato crop in the Irish fields looked healthy and abundant.
• Some relief operations had been underway to feed the Irish people in case of another
crop failure, but the British shut them down as the new crops came in.
85
•
At the end of the growing season, though, the blight struck again; all the potatoes of
Ireland blackened and rotted.
• There was no food left and no relief operations were in place. People began to starve
by October.
• As the unusually cold winter of 1846 to 1847 began, tens of thousands of people
starved to death or, weakened from malnutrition, died of infectious diseases like
cholera and typhus that raged through the land. The misery in some of the rural areas
of Ireland is hard to imagine today.
• Whole families could be found dead together, having starved in their homes.
• The government belatedly set up jobs digging roads to employ some of the starving
farmers.
• But men lucky enough to get one of the road jobs frequently died from hunger before
they received their first wages.
c. An estimated one to one and a half million Irish Catholics left Ireland during the potato
famine, with their passage paid by the landlord or with money they scraped together
themselves.
2. They resented the British rule of their country, and the British landlords. This included the
British Protestantism and British taxes. With this there was the onset of prolonged depression
and social hardship.
a. Irish peasants generally rented their land on six-month leases.
b. When they failed to pay their rent in the famine years, the landlords frequently evicted
them (terminated their rent agreement and forced them to move away from the rented
land), often burning down their homes to make sure they left.
c. There was a strong faction in the Parliament in London that believed in a "laissez faire"
(let it be) approach to economy and government.
• They strongly opposed government interference in the economy.
• Some of these people believed that economic booms and crises, even a famine, were
God's way of shaping the world.
• British politicians voiced their feelings that the Irish were a lazy people and might
become dependent on relief, if it were offered.
d. 1847 Parliament legislated that the Irish poor were the responsibility of the landowners.
• Under this provision, the landlords continued to evict their starving tenants, and then
generally took one of two methods to take care of them, neither of which was
humane.
• The first was to crowd them into one of the 173 poorly run, disease-infested
workhouses, also called poorhouses, that had been built around the Irish countryside
for this purpose.
• A poor person had to live within the workhouse to receive aid and was required to
exchange labor for food. It is estimated that two and a half million people entered the
workhouses, and approximately two hundred thousand died in them, during the
potato blight.
• The other choice, which may have been cheaper for the landlord, was to purchase an
inexpensive ticket for the tenant on a rickety ship heading for Canada.
When did they come?
• Irish immigration to North America had begun well before the potato famine.
• There were Irish among the colonial settlers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Others continued to arrive after the United States was formed in 1783.
• Between 1815 and 1845, the grim condition of the Irish economy, a population explosion
in the country, and the poor treatment of the Catholics initiated mass migration.
86
•
•
•
•
It is estimated that about 1 million Irish Catholics immigrated to the United States in that
pre-famine period. In 1840 Irish immigrants made up about one-half of all immigrants to
the United States.
Another 1.5 million Irish Catholic immigrants arrived in the United States in the potato
famine years. Another 2.6 million came from 1860 to the present.
When discussing the Irish immigration to the United States it is necessary to distinguish
between the Catholic and Protestant Irish (Scotch-Irish) immigrants because their
experiences differed significantly.
Northern Ireland faced less discrimination and tended to come to the new country with
job skills and with some money to get started.
Where did they settle?
• The early nineteenth-century Irish Catholic immigrants were mostly male and usually
poor, illiterate, and unskilled.
• Many of the hundreds of thousands of desperate passengers who emigrated from Ireland
during the famine years found cheap passage to Canada and went there with the intention
of traveling from Canada to the United States.
o The ships they boarded were called "coffin ships" because so many people died
during the voyage from infectious disease.
o The dead were thrown overboard. For the living, the conditions aboard were
often nightmarish.
o 1847, about seventeen thousand people died while at sea and another twenty
thousand died after landing due to diseases picked up onboard.
o Once in Canada, the ships were generally quarantined (subject to enforced
isolation from the public to prevent the spread of infectious disease) at an island
near Montreal called Grosse Isle.
o The island was quickly overwhelmed by the huge number of immigrants, many
of whom were near death and carrying disease.
• Many made their way from Canada down to New England and New York. They stayed
mainly in the East and South, in cities such as Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania; and Charleston, South Carolina.
• Other Irish people made their way to the ports of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and
New York.
• The Irish immigrants who made it away from the eastern seaboard, especially those who
made it to the West Coast, did not have the same experiences as the majority that
remained in the East.
• Out West, they tended to assimilate more quickly and find more success and less
discrimination.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. The immigrants were not Ireland's poorest people, since the poorest could not afford the
passage, but they often arrived without much more than the clothes on their backs.
2. Those coming from rural Ireland especially were not used to the industrial society or big
cities, but they adapted.
3. When they arrived in the New World, the young Irish immigrants got to work in lowpaying, heavy-labor jobs quickly.
4. As soon as it was possible, they sent their earnings back to Ireland to bring their families
over to the United States.
a. This pattern of migration is called chain migration and has been practiced by many
groups of immigrants since the Irish.
87
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
b. Chain migration works in this way: An individual or group of immigrants goes to a
new land and gets established with a job and a place to live. He or she then helps to
bring over friends and family, who come, get established near the earlier immigrants,
and then help bring their own kin and friends over.
The earlier immigrants help the new ones to settle, and before long a new community of
people who had connections in the old country has arisen in the new country.
In cities, whole neighborhoods formed made up of people from a particular village in the
Old World.
a. They often lived very close together, as they had done in their clachans at home.
b. Houses built for one family often housed several Irish families.
c. The conditions in the city tenements and slums were often unhealthy, with poor
sewage and no running water.
By the 1850s, the Irish comprised half the population of New York and Boston. Young,
unmarried, Catholic, and largely of peasant background, the immigrants faced the
difficult task of adapting to an urban and a predominantly Protestant environment.
Confronting intense discrimination in employment, most Irish men found work as manual
laborers, while Irish women took jobs mainly in domestic service.
Discrimination had an important consequence: it encouraged Irish immigrants to become
actively involved in politics.
a. With a strong sense of ethnic identity, high rates of literacy, and impressive
organization talents, Irish politicians played an important role in the development of
modern American urban politics.
After the 1850s, the migrations from Ireland were no longer made up of single young
males. Most Irish immigrants came over as families.
After 1880, slightly more women than men were immigrating.
The Irish tended to live in tenement houses (apartment buildings in cities that were poorly
made and lacking in safety and sanitation features), because that was all they could
afford.
What was their religious background?
1. The Irish are most known for being Protestant and Catholic.
2. The people from Northern Ireland (Ulster), were called Scotch-Irish. After 1600, they had
settled in Ulster, because they were encouraged by the English to plant a Protestant Presence
in Catholic Ireland. For several generations, Scotch-Irish belonged to Presbyterian churches,
and farmed land obtained from the English.
3. America was a predominately Protestant nation. Catholics were feared and detested, and
Americans thought that their culture, religions, and backgrounds could not be retained if
thousands of Irish immigrants moved in.
a. The Catholic Church, more than any other organization, made a concerted effort
to welcome the new Catholic immigrants. Catholic citizens helped them find jobs
and homes; sisters (nuns) taught their children English in Catholic schools;
priests tried to protect their political interests and shield them from a sometimes
hostile Protestant environment; the local church held religious festivals and social
events. It is important to stress that for the immigrants, the neighborhood
Catholic church was not just a church; it was the focal point of a whole
community, a whole way of life. Even if the relationship between the Church and
Catholic immigrants was often far from perfect, local parishes provided millions
of heartbroken, homesick immigrant men and women the familiar comforts of
ritual and belief that gave their world meaning.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
88
1. The Irish model is consistent with the Standard Naming pattern for the first two sons and
daughter.
2. For the third child of each gender onward, alternate names are used, based on the
Grandmother's, Grandfather's, Mother's, Aunt's, and Uncle's names.
• First son full name of paternal grandfather
• Second son full name of maternal grandfather
•
•
First daughter full name of paternal grandmother
Second daughter full name of maternal grandmother
89
Italian Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. Italians were the largest single nationality to have immigrated to the United States in the era
of mass migration, with more than four million immigrating from 1890 to 1924.
2. Southern Italy was one of the poorest regions of Europe in the nineteenth century. The island
of Sicily and the region around Naples, both in the south, accounted for over half the Italians
who moved to the United States looking for a way to earn money.
3. About 70 percent of Italians from southern Italy could not read or write, and few spoke
English upon arrival in New York. The lack of money and education often drove them into
low-paying jobs, particularly in construction.
When did they come and where did they settle?
2. The combination of crop failure, a tax on basic food, and population growth, coming on top
of an economic structure barely able to support many people in the best of times, led many
Italians in the late 1800s to decide that their best, and perhaps only, solution was to immigrate
to another country.
3. Two of the poorest regions of Italy, the island of Sicily and the region around Naples, also in
the south of Italy, accounted for over half the Italians who left their land and moved to the
United States.
4. Unlike people who left their native lands at the end of the nineteenth century to escape
persecution—for example, Jews leaving Eastern Europe at about the same time the Italians
were leaving Italy—the over-whelming majority of Italian emigrants were looking for a way
to earn money in order to support their families.
5. Many Italian emigrants saw their voyage to the United States as a temporary solution to their
economic problems.
6. They planned to find a job in the United States that would provide money to tide over their
family in Italy until better times.
7. About one fourth of the Italians who moved to the United States between 1880 and 1920
eventually did return home.
8. In some cases, Italians worked outside Italy for part of the year, then returned home to live
with their extended families for the rest of the year.
9. Other Italians left for the United States with the intention of returning after a few years, but
they ended up staying a lifetime.
10. Far from being a rejection of their life in Italy, emigration was viewed as a way of preserving
it. Just as tourists do not automatically change their eating habits and learn the language of a
country they are visiting, many Italian immigrants did not feel a strong need to fit into their
new culture, since they planned to remain in the United States only temporarily.
11. Rather, whenever possible, Italian immigrants connected with people to whom they were
related. They preserved their native culture by setting up Italian communities, often called
Little Italy, in the United States.
12. Because Italians in the United States tended to remain together as a community, for many of
them being in the United States was like living in an Italian village that happened to be across
the Atlantic Ocean from Italy.
a. Little Italy made it possible to maintain a culture and lifestyle that was familiar and
distinctly Italian rather than American. The tradition of extended families contributed to
keeping together Italian enclaves (distinct social groups existing within a foreign
territory) that lasted longer than many others.
b. While people of other nationalities who immigrated to the United States in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became widely dispersed around the United
States, the 1990 U.S. census showed that 86 percent of Americans of Italian ancestry
90
were concentrated in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and
Massachusetts.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. When an Italian man, frequently alone but sometimes with his immediate family of wife and
children, went to the United States, it was customary to look for a relative from the same
village or region for help in getting settled and finding work.
a. The traditional extended families of Italy carried over to the United States, encouraging
Italian immigrants to live near relatives, or friends of relatives, in the same
neighborhoods of American cities.
b. Even inside Italian ethnic neighborhoods, residents from the same village or region stuck
together.
c. Often, it was only after immigrants found themselves living in cities filled with people
who did not speak Italian and had no relationship to Italy that Italians developed a sense
of being the more general term "Italian," rather than relating to a more specific region,
such as Sicilian or Neapolitan (from Naples).
d. In cities like Boston and New York, neighborhoods called Little Italy continue to exist in
the twenty-first century, more than a century after the first large wave of Italian
immigration in the 1880s.
2. Rather than engage in farming, which implied a permanent move, Italian immigrants tended
to take work as laborers in cities of the northeastern United States.
a. Landing with very little money, Italian immigrants needed to find a job as soon as
possible, which meant settling near the American port where they landed, especially New
York City.
b. About 70 percent of Italians from southern Italy could not read or write, and few spoke
English upon arrival in New York.
c. The lack of money and education often drove Italians into low-paying jobs, like shining
shoes, or jobs that no one else wanted, such as sweeping streets or collecting garbage.
d. By 1890, about 90 percent of New York City's public works employees (workers
responsible for street cleaning, garbage collection, and street repair) were Italian.
e. About half the Italian immigrants between 1880 and 1920 found jobs in construction, a
far greater proportion than any other single immigrant group.
f. The tunnels of New York City's subway system, the bridges linking the island of
Manhattan to New Jersey on the west and Long Island on the east, and the first
generation of skyscrapers in New York all were built with the help of Italian immigrants.
3. Starting out in America with practically no money and forced to work for low wages, Italian
immigrants often lived in miserable conditions.
a. Italian men who arrived in New York alone with plans to send money home to support
their families endured a meager existence.
b. Italian immigrant families were often crammed into one or two rented rooms that lacked
adequate plumbing, had little fresh air, and were built with thin walls that deprived
families of privacy. Italian immigrants were not the only ones subjected to low living
standards.
c. Other immigrant groups arriving about the same time lived and worked under similar
conditions.
1. Newly arrived Italian men were able to use an employment system that revolved around a
padrone, which means "boss" or "master."
a. The padrone was an Italian already established in the United States who acted as a
professional labor broker.
b. Employers came to him to find workers, and Italian immigrants came to find jobs. The
padrone was paid by both employer and employee.
91
c. The padrone system contributed to a concentration of Italian workers in certain
industries, such as construction, where the padrones had contacts.
d. Padrones also served other roles for immigrants, including acting as bankers to send
money back to Italy and writing letters home from workers who were illiterate. Italian
women immigrants tended to take a different path, often taking work into their homes,
such as sewing.
e. Other young Italian women worked in garment factories manufacturing clothing.
2. Italians often joined one of dozens of mutual protection societies.
a. These groups served as a social club, sometimes grouped around people from the same
region of Italy.
b. The mutual protection societies provided such benefits as unemployment insurance and
education for both children and adults. The largest Italian mutual protection society was
the Order of the Sons of Italy in America, founded in New York City in 1905.
c. It had three hundred thousand members in the 1920s.
3. It was common in the last decade of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth centuries
to find several families from the same Italian town living next to each other on the same street
in New York or Boston, maintaining the same social ties they had in Italy. In Italian culture,
the family was the overriding social relationship.
a. It was normal for three generations of a family—children, parents, and grand-parents—
to live in the same house, which was on the same block as brothers and sisters, aunts,
uncles, and cousins.
b. Strong family ties and enduring links to villages back in Italy helped Italians form one of
the strongest and most distinctive ethnic groups (people from similar national
backgrounds) in the United States.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. This is one of the only naming patterns where the fathers and mothers names are not used
•
•
•
•
First daughter paternal grandmother
Second daughter maternal grandmother
Third daughter father's eldest sister
Fourth daughter mother's oldest sister
•
•
•
•
First son paternal grandfather
Second son maternal grandfather
Third son father's oldest brother
Fourth son mother's eldest brother
92
Jewish Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. At the time of the American Revolution, there were about fifteen hundred Jews living in
America. Many were Sephardic, or Spanish Jews.
2. German Jews began to immigrate to the United States in the second quarter of the nineteenth
century. Between 1836 and 1850 the Jewish community grew from fewer than fifteen
thousand to about fifty thousand. Two hundred new synagogues were constructed across the
nation during the 1840s and 1850s.
3. Between 1881 and 1914, two million Eastern European Jews arrived in the United States.
They usually arrived in family groups.
4. In 1939, over nine hundred Jews fleeing from Nazi Germany became stranded on their ship,
the St. Louis, in Cuba's harbors. They tried desperately to contact President Franklin
Roosevelt (1882–1945), but the United States would not let them land on its shores and they
were forced to sail back to an uncertain fate in Europe.
5. Between the 1960s and the late 1990s, approximately a half million Soviet Jews have
immigrated to the United States.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. If your family has Ashkenazic origins, tradition dictates that a newborn child be named in
honor of a deceased member of the family.
• Therefore, several people in a generation may bear the same Hebrew or Yiddish name in
honor of a mutual ancestor.
• This naming pattern can guide you to some hypotheses about ancestral names.
• For instance, in my mother’s Entel family, her sister and several of her first cousins are
called Bella.
• They were named for their great-grandmother Bejla Szumowicz Entel.
2. In Sephardic tradition, naming follows a different pattern.
• Children are named for the living.
• Typically, the first-born son is named after the paternal grandfather and the second is
named for the maternal grandfather.
• Similarly, the first-born daughter is named after the paternal grandmother and the second
is named for the maternal grandmother.
• As you interview your relatives, be sure to ask who each member of the family was
named for.
3. Surnames in parts of eastern Europe were not required among Jews until a 1787 Hapsburg
decree and an 1845 Russian edict.
• Surnames fall into a number of categories.
• Place, matronymic, or patronymic names can guide you to certain geographic locations
where such surnames were used.
• According to Alexander Beider’s Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian
Empire, the name Krasner suggests a geographic origin and may stem from the village of
Krasnaya, Krasna, or Krasnoe. Matronymic names, such as Dvorkin (from Dvora), were
common in Belarus.
• Artificial names, such as one’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name of Zuckerkandel
(rock candy), were used by more than half of Poland’s Jews, beginning with those in
eastern Galicia.
93
Latino and Caribbean Migration and Immigration
1. In 2000 Florida's Miami-Dade County, in southern Florida, was home to more than half of
the Cuban population in the United States, but even so, the Hispanic population of this area
no longer had a Cuban majority, as it has had in the past. Non-Cuban Hispanic and Caribbean
Americans—Dominicans, Colombians, Hondurans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, and others—in
Miami-Dade County were equal in number to Cubans at the turn of the century.
2. The large wave of Puerto Ricans to migrate to the United States after World War II (1939–
45) arrived by airplanes. In the 1950s Puerto Ricans could fly to New Jersey for forty dollars.
3. After Cuban dictator Fidel Castro (1926–) allied Cuba with the Soviet Union in 1960, the
U.S. government announced that it would welcome all refugees from Castro's Cuba. By
encouraging middle-class professional Cubans to leave Cuba, U.S. leaders felt they could
damage the Cuban economy and hurt the image of communism worldwide.
4. Dominican Americans are the fourth-largest Hispanic group in the United States. New York
City has more Dominicans—between five hundred thousand and one million—than any city
in the world except Santo Domingo.
5. From 1991 to 1993, forty-three thousand Haitians fled their country by boat. Many of their
boats were intercepted by U.S. officials and those emigrants were taken to Guantánamo Bay,
the U.S. naval base in Cuba. At one time there were 12,500 Haitians in the camp at
Guantánamo awaiting a decision on their refugee status from the U.S. government.
6. Nicaraguan Americans in Miami live in several well-defined neighborhoods, with Nicaraguan
restaurants, stores, travel agencies, beauty shops, and medical clinics.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. Given names in Latin America were typically from Roman Catholic saint names, often the
name of a saint on whose day a child was born.
• More than one given name was often given to a child and in some areas nearly all of the
males had at least one given name as José and the females at least one given name María.
• Children were often also named for godparents or deceased family members.
2. Spanish and Portuguese naming practices were brought to Latin America by explorers,
colonists, and missionaries.
• Often the Indians, however, were not required to take surnames until the middle of the
19th century.
3. Probably the most distinguishing characteristic of Hispanic naming is their use of a double
surname system.
• This system traces back to the nobility class of Castile in the 16th century.
• Under this system a person takes two surnames, one from the father and one from the
mother.
• For example a man named Carlos Domínguez López's father's surname would be
Domínguez and his mother's surname would be López.
• Women generally kept their maiden name throughout their life. She could also add her
husband's surname to the end of her own.
4. In Spanish names, the first of the two surnames is the primary family name.
• In Portuguese names, the last of the two surnames is generally considered the primary
surname.
• Compound names could be found with or without a y, a dash (-), or a preposition (de, del,
de la).
94
Mexican Immigration
1. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the end of the Mexican-American War (1846–48)
allowed the United States to buy New Mexico, Arizona, California, and parts of Nevada,
Utah, and Colorado for $15 million. Under the terms of the treaty, Mexicans in the ceded
areas were given one year to choose either Mexican citizenship, in which case they would
have to relocate south of the new border, or to stay where they were and become citizens of
the United States with all the rights of citizenship.
2. During the period between the secularization (transferring from church to civil management)
of the missions and the acquisition of California by the United States, the Mexican ranch
owners, often called rancheros or Californios, prospered and lived in great wealth and luxury.
3. In the 1890s, after being swindled out of land by Anglo-American schemers, Hispanic New
Mexicans organized Las Gorras Blancas (The White Caps). These bands of hooded
nightriders tore down fences and tried to derail trains. Their hope was to scare AngloAmerican landowners and railroad companies out of New Mexico.
4. Because of the labor shortage during World War I (1914–18), Mexican workers were
presented many new opportunities in the United States in oil fields, weapons factories, meatpacking plants, and steel mills and in new communities in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston,
Kansas City, and Chicago.
5. About two-thirds of all Mexican Americans in 2000 lived in either California (8,455,926, or
41 percent) or Texas (5,071,963, or 25 percent).
6. Chicano literature of the 1960s drew attention to the inequality faced by Mexican Americans
in the Southwest and elsewhere and voiced the political, economic, and educational struggles
of that decade.
95
Norwegian Immigration
Why did they come?
1. In the early 1800s Norway's population increased by 50 percent.
a. The country had relatively little land that was good for farming.
b. When the population soared, more than half the people owned no land and there were no
jobs for them.
2. The first expedition of Norwegian settlers to immigrate to the United States in the beginning
of the nineteenth century consisted of fifty-two religious dissenters, people who chose to
practice their religion in a way that the official Lutheran church did not approve. Some were
Haugeans, followers of the teachings of peasant preacher Hans Nielsen Hauge.
a. Starting in about 1796, Hauge traveled throughout Norway preaching in the homes of
farmers and distributing his intense and homespun devotional literature.
b. Another group that experienced oppression in Norway were the Quakers, members of the
Society of Friends, a radical Protestant sect that rejected formal methods of worship
because they believed that the Holy Spirit dwells within each person and that a person
who yields to the prompting of their own "inner light" will be saved. Because the
Lutheran church would not accept the Haugeans and the Quakers, some of these believers
chose to emigrate.
When did they come?
1. Norwegian immigration to the United States peaked between 1866 and 1914.
2. Over six hundred thousand Norwegians came to America during these years.
3. In contrast to earlier Norwegian immigrants who came to America with the intention of
settling permanently, many of the immigrants of the peak years were single young men
hoping to earn enough money to return to Norway in better circumstances.
4. As many as 25 percent did return, but the rest stayed.
5. Norwegian immigrants continued to come to the United States after World War I (1914–18; a
war in which Germany fought against many other countries, including the United States), but
their numbers have declined steadily since that time.
Where did they settle?
1. Norwegian immigrants came yearly after that, settling first in Illinois, then spreading north
and west to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and eventually to the
Pacific Northwest. A few settled in Texas, and some stayed in New York, near where they
first landed, rather than traveling west.
2. The states with the largest populations of Norwegian Americans are Minnesota, Wisconsin,
California, Washington, and North Dakota. North Dakota is by far the most "Norwegian"
state in the United States, with Norwegian Americans making up 29 percent of the total state
population.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. Prior to 1814, Norway was governed by Denmark for a few centuries. Because of this the
patronymic endings we generally standardize to -sen and -datter. Modern community
histories (bygdebøger) on the other hand, have often standardized these names according to
local dialect pronunciation variously -sson, -søn, etc.
2. Most unique for Norway besides what is mentioned previously is the use of farm-names in
addition to their patronymic names. As set surnames were required in 1923 or as people
emigrated to America they often used their farm-name as their permanent surname. Because
of this, if they had an unusual farm name, one can often find the town where a family was
96
from in Norway just by knowing the family's surname and looking it up in a gazetteer (index
of place names).
• Farm Names--In addition to a given name and a patronymic name, a farm name is used to
identify the members of the farming communities in the Finnish church records. If I
lived on the “Saari” farm, my full name (given, patronymic, and farm name combined)
would be “David Jackiesson Saari.
3. If you consider the farm name as not really a surname but rather an address, it might be more
appropriate in some cases. Certainly the name of the farm was associated with the family
living there, however if the person moved to a new farm, their farm name changed. If a
person lived at four or five different farms prior to coming to America, he could have had that
many different farm names. The name he eventually used in America might be the farm he
last lived on in Norway or the farm where his family was originally from.
97
Polish Immigration
Why did they come and where did they settle?
1. Poland's neighbors Russia, Prussia, and Austria took advantage of the internal problems and
invaded the region.
a. They began dividing Poland among themselves beginning in 1772 by taking about onethird of its territory.
b. They partitioned it (divided it into parts) a second time in 1793. Upon the third and final
partitioning of 1795, the nation of Poland ceased to exist. Austria-Hungary took over
Galicia, Prussia got northwestern Poland, and Russia took Ukraine and eastern and
central Poland.
c. The Polish nobility were not happy with the partitioning of Poland. Under the new
governments, they lost the extensive powers they had enjoyed. Starting in the 1760s,
many began to emigrate.
d. They often set up exile communities (groups of people who had fled or been sent away
from their home) in European cities, trying to stir up interest in the restoration of their
former country.
e. Some of these exiles became ardent proponents of democracy, and when they heard about
the American Revolution (1775–83) quite a few of them traveled across the Atlantic to
help the American colonists fight the British.
f. Among these adventurous Poles was Polish statesman and military hero Tadeusz
Kosciuszko (1746–1817), who later returned to the United States to serve as a link
between President Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) and leaders of the French Revolution
(1789–99). Count Kazimierz Pulaski (1747–1779), who had distinguished himself
defending Poland against the Russians before the partitioning, also came to fight with the
rebels in the Revolution.
g. Pulaski formed his own cavalry and earned the title "the father of the American cavalry"
before being killed in the battle of Savannah, Georgia.
h. Kosciuszko and Pulaski were just the beginning of a long period of Polish migration to
the United States.
i. The Poles tried repeatedly to rebel against their foreign rulers and restore Poland as a
nation, but the Russians and Austrians were too strong for them. After several major
uprisings in the nineteenth century, many members of the Polish upper class chose to
escape the new oppressive governments.
j. So many came to the United States that Polish America became known as the "Fourth
Province" of Poland, the other three being those areas controlled by Russia, Austria, and
Prussia, respectively. (Another term for the Polish community outside of Poland is
"Polonia.")
k. A few groups of peasant farmers also came to America, looking for better economic
opportunities. They set up Polish farming communities in places like Panna Maria,
Texas, the first permanent Polish community in America, founded in 1854.
2. Polish immigration from the 1770s to about 1870 is sometimes referred to as the "first wave,"
but more often the first wave is considered to have begun in 1870 when Polish serfs were
given their freedom and began to emigrate.
a. Just as the serfs were freed, the United States began encouraging immigration to help
rebuild the country after the devastation of the American Civil War. Up to two million
Poles immigrated to the United States between 1870 and 1914.
3. Most Polish immigrants in this first large wave of immigration, also called the "old
emigration," were single young men looking for the chance to work at wage-earning jobs,
save up their money, and return to Poland.
98
a. Some 30 percent actually did return to Poland, but the rest stayed in the United States. As
uneducated (though generally literate) peasant farmers, they were unskilled and
unprepared for the industrialized world of America.
b. They took whatever jobs they could find, working in mines, mills, factories,
slaughterhouses, refineries, and foundries.
c. Once established in their new home, many sent for their families or returned to Poland to
marry, and then brought their wives back to the United States with them. Women and
children went to work then to support the family.
4. With the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the defeat of Austria-Hungary and Germany in
World War I, Poland regained its independence, forming its own government in 1918. Nazi
Germany invaded Poland at the very beginning of World War II in 1939 and oppressed the
country terribly throughout the war.
a. Poland suffered tremendous losses of life and property. An estimated six million Poles
were killed, half of them Jews. The remaining population suffered near-starvation
throughout the Nazi occupation.
b. In January 1945, Poland was liberated by the Soviet and Polish armies, and it quickly
formed a new government. Poland's communist and socialist groups merged in December
1948 to form the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR).
c. The PZPR consistently followed a pro-Soviet policy and renounced all dealings with the
Western powers.
5. The second wave, or "new emigration," of Polish Americans came to the United States under
the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which allowed Europeans who had been displaced by the
destruction of World War II to enter the country as immigrants.
a. These second-wave Polish Americans tended to be well-educated intellectuals, the
writers, artists, and scholars who had been targeted by the Nazis for elimination. A
number of them were Jewish.
6. A third wave of Polish immigration to the United States began in the 1990s and continues
today, though it is small in number.
a. Like first-wave immigrants, the immigrants are mostly young men hoping to find better
economic opportunities in America so that they can save up their money and return home
to Poland.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. The Polish American community has been in the United States for several generations, and,
as is often the case, traditional Polish ways are being lost by later generations.
2. Polish language proficiency is limited or nonexistent among third- and subsequent-generation
Polish Americans.
3. Many Polish Americans chose to shorten or otherwise Americanize their names in order to
blend in better with the mainstream society when they first arrived.
4. Immigration officials actually shortened some arriving Poles' names on their entry papers
because they either could not understand the actual name or did not care to write it out. Today
some young Polish Americans are reclaiming their true Polish names.
What was their religious background?
1. Nearly all Polish Americans are either Catholic or Jewish. When Polish Catholics arrived in
America, they found the Roman Catholic churches controlled by Irish Catholics who had
arrived earlier.
2. The Irish Catholics did not welcome the newcomers, and Polish Americans began
establishing their own churches whenever and wherever possible.
3. In 1896 a number of Polish Americans decided to separate from the Roman Catholic Church
entirely and formed the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) instead. The PNCC is very
99
similar to the Roman Catholic Church in all but two important ways: PNCC priests are
allowed to marry, and church officials are elected, rather than appointed.
100
Russian Immigration
Why and when did they come?
1. Before the Russian Revolution, there had been several significant waves of immigration to
the United States.
a. The first Russians to set foot on the North American continent were fur traders from
Siberia who traveled across the Bering Strait (a strait that separates Russia and Alaska) in
the 1700s in search of wild animals.
b. They settled in Alaska and maintained a Russian colony there.
c. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Russians from the middle class had
fled Russia to escape the oppressive czarist government of that time, many immigrating
to the United States.
d. When Alexander II emancipated the Russian serfs in 1861, a host of the freed peasants
immigrated to America. Between 1861 and 1914, nine out of ten Russian immigrants to
the United States were peasants.
e. Most were single young men, hoping to find employment and a better life in America.
f. A few young women also came to escape arranged marriages in their homeland.
g. During this same time, a number of German Russian Mennonites (a Protestant sect that
rejects infant baptism, ritual, and levels of authority within the church, and does not
believe in war and violence), Molokans (another dissenting Protestant sect), and Jews
fled religious persecution in Russia and settled in America.
2. An estimated two million people left the Russian empire to settle in the United States by
1914; of those probably only about one hundred thousand were Russian-speaking. Most of
the emigrants were Jews and Poles and some were East Slavs from the Austro-Hungarian
Empire (designated as Russians because they belonged to the Orthodox Church).
a. Because so many of them were not truly ethnic Russians, the first immigrants from
Russia have not been counted in historians' designated waves of Russian immigration to
the United States, although many historians today think they should be.
3. The first major wave of Russian American immigration, according to many scholars and
ethnic Russian Americans, did not occur until the Russian Revolution.
a. It consisted largely of members of the Russian middle class and aristocracy who suddenly
found it uncomfortable to be in their homeland under the communists. About forty
thousand Russians came to the United States in the first few years after the Revolution.
b. In the 1930s, many more Russians who had earlier gone into exile in other European
cities felt the need to leave Europe altogether in the wake of the rising Nazi movement.
They tended to settle in the large American cities, particularly New York.
c. More than a million people born in Russia but living elsewhere in Europe by 1930
immigrated to the United States at that time.
d. Few of these Russian immigrants were coming from Russia itself. When Stalin took over
the Soviet government in 1930, he introduced strict regulations forbidding emigration.
For the next fourteen years, only 14,060 Russians managed to escape the Soviet Union
and come to America.
4. Most of these first-wave Russian Americans were well-educated, skilled laborers or
professionals. They had a much easier time adapting to life in the industrialized United States
than did the peasants of earlier immigrations.
a. However, in 1919, Russian Americans faced a surge of anti-Russian discrimination in the
United States. The country was going through a "Red Scare," a period of fear that
communists were trying to take over the U.S. government. As the fear became a mass
panic, many Russian Americans came under suspicion of being communists (called
"reds").
101
5.
6.
7.
8.
b. Some three thousand Russian Americans were arrested and jailed as suspected
communists and, although most were soon released, a number were deported (sent back)
to the Soviet Union.
c. The Red Scare of 1919 to 1920 drove many Russian Americans to hide their ethnicity. In
actuality, very few Russian Americans were communist sympathizers.
d. Most, in fact, had fled the communist government. In their rush to assimilate in order to
avoid harassment or worse, Russian Americans would lose much of their Russian culture
and heritage. Many Americanized their names, stopped speaking Russian, and adopted
American customs.
In 1941 the forces of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) invaded the Soviet Union. During
World War II the Soviet Union lost more than eleven million soldiers and seven million
civilians.
a. When the war was over, Stalin wished to form a buffer zone of friendly countries
surrounding the Soviet Union. With the help of the Soviet military, Stalin helped the
communist parties in many of these countries gain power.
b. By 1948 Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and other Eastern
European countries had communist governments.
c. The United States, an ally of the Soviet Union during the war, looked on with horror and
distrust at the tremendous power that the Soviets suddenly wielded.
d. The Soviet Union and the United States had become the two superpowers of the planet,
and distrust and hostility between them grew to huge proportions.
e. This was the beginning of the Cold War (1945–91) between the Soviet Union and the
United States and other Western powers—a period of strong tensions and constant threat
of war, but no actual armed conflict.
The Cold War set the atmosphere the second wave of Russian immigrants would encounter
after they settled.
a. Most had entered the United States under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which
relaxed the ongoing immigration laws so that Europeans whose lives and homes had been
disrupted by the destruction of World War II could immigrate to the United States.
b. Those Russians who immigrated encountered a second surge of anticommunism in
America, this time led by Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908–1957), who claimed to have
proof that communists had infiltrated the government and even the military.
c. This second Red Scare became a witch-hunt, during which many innocent people were
harassed and lost their jobs.
d. Russian Americans again felt driven to hide their ethnicity and tried to appear as much
like other Americans as possible to avoid trouble.
No one was allowed legally to leave the Soviet Union again until the 1960s and 1970s, when
Russian Jews were permitted to immigrate to Israel. Some then moved to the United States
shortly after arriving in Israel.
The third wave of Russian immigration to the United States, beginning with Russian Jews in
the early 1970s, picked up speed with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
a. Since then, almost one million Russians have immigrated to the United States. A majority
of them are Russian Jews and most have settled in New York City. Ethnic Russians have
been arriving steadily since the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, perhaps driven by
the unstable economy in Russia.
Where did they settle?
1. The 2000 U.S. Census lists 2,980,776 persons with Russian ancestry, but this figure includes
many who are not ethnic Russians.
a. The census reports about 128,000 foreign-born Russian Americans, but some sources
suggest that this number is actually far higher and rapidly growing.
102
b. According to market surveys, Russian-born people in the United States represent the
second largest group (after the Mexican-born) of the nation's foreign-born population. In
1990, 44 percent of Russian Americans lived in Northeastern states.
c. The five states with the highest numbers of Russian Americans, in descending order, are
New York, California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In the early twenty-first
century, Minnesota's Russian-born population has been growing quickly as well.
2. Most of the Russian immigrants who have arrived since the 1960s and 1970s have settled in
and around New York City. Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, is one of the few
Russian neighborhoods left in America.
1. There the Russian language is spoken regularly, shop signs are in Russian, and
people can easily buy Russian goods. Some 110,000 Russian Americans lived in
the Outer Richmond district of San Francisco in 1990, the largest collection of
Russian Americans in a single neighborhood in the United States. Russian
Americans have been moving to Portland, Oregon, since the 1990s, creating a
Russian American population of about forty thousand there in the early 2000s.
2. Other small Russian American neighborhoods exist, but there are no real
"Russiantowns" to speak of today, excepting Brighton Beach and the San
Francisco Russian American community.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. Many first-generation Russian Americans strive to learn English as quickly as possible in
order to blend in with their American environment and enable themselves to get better jobs.
a. Their children grow up speaking both English and Russian, but when they establish
homes of their own, they usually speak only English.
b. Therefore, by the third generation, most Russian Americans no longer speak Russian.
2. Most Russian Americans are closely tied to their families, particularly first- and secondgeneration immigrants.
a. Elderly relatives are cared for at home, and women often give birth at home. Young
women often live with their parents until they marry, and sons tend to settle near their
parents after marriage.
b. Later-generation Russian Americans are more Americanized, with a greater focus on
individual nuclear family units (including only the parents and their children).
What was their religious background?
1. Most ethnic Russians who immigrated to the United States were members of the Russian
Orthodox Church.
a. It is one of several branches of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which separated from the
Roman Catholic Church in 1054. It is called "orthodox" because it follows the original
Christian writings, using the same prayers today that were used in the early days of
Christianity.
b. The Russian Orthodox Church is very similar to the Greek Orthodox Church. Many
Russian Americans belong to the Orthodox Church in North America (OCNA), which
was founded in Alaska in 1792.
c. The OCNA today uses English in its services. The more conservative Russian Orthodox
Church in Exile (ROCE), which started in the former Yugoslavia in 1922 and spread to
the United States after World War II, uses only Russian in its services. The OCNA has
about one million members. The much smaller ROCE has only one hundred thousand
members.
2. About half of the Russian American population is Jewish; a minority belong to a variety of
Protestant denominations.
103
a. A very small group of Russian Americans belongs to the Old Believers sect of the
Russian Orthodox Church, following the teachings of the Church prior to changes that
were made in 1654.
b. These Old Believers live in intentionally isolated communities in Alaska and Oregon,
speak only Russian, wear seventeenth-century clothing, and keep themselves separate
from the rest of society.
104
Scandinavian Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. In 1638 Sweden attempted to establish a colony called New Sweden in the area around the
Delaware Bay (present day New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania). About onethird to one-half of the settlers in New Sweden were Finns.
2. In 1825 a group of fifty-two Norwegian religious dissenters pooled their resources to
immigrate to America. By the years 1834 and 1835, the group had migrated west to Illinois.
There they established the Fox River settlement, which became the base camp for future
Norwegian immigrants to the United States.
3. The first large wave of Scandinavian immigration in the 1850s most often consisted of
middle-class people moving to the Midwest to establish farms.
4. In the mid-1840s The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons, sent three
missionaries to Scandinavia. The missionaries were particularly successful in Denmark
because the laws were lenient toward their work. About twenty thousand Danes were
converted by Mormon missionaries and immigrated to the United States during the second
half of the nineteenth century.
5. Unlike the Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns, the Danes did not establish many tightly knit Old
World communities in the United States. Because fewer Danish women emigrated than
Danish men, the young male immigrants often married women from other ancestries and after
a few generations lost touch with their national roots.
6. The World War I era (1914–18) was a hard time in the United States for new immigrants, and
Scandinavian Americans became targets of an anti-immigrant trend. During the excessive
patriotic hysteria of these years, many Scandinavian Americans chose to hide their ethnicity
and become as "American" as possible.
7. In 1980 almost 30 percent of Swedish Americans claimed pure Swedish ancestry, which is a
very high percentage. Most Swedish Americans lived in relative isolation in Swedish
American farming communities or urban enclaves (distinct cultural or nationality units within
a foreign city or region). Because of their isolation, and the low rate of ethnic intermarriage,
Swedish Americans retained their ethnic language longer than many other American
immigrant groups.
When did they come?
1. There was not much emigration from any of the Scandinavian countries until the nineteenth
century, with some very notable exceptions.
a. Norway has claim to having been the first European nation to "discover" the New World.
Legendary Norwegian explorer Leif Eriksson (c. 971–1015) is said to have set foot on the
shores of North America, probably in Newfoundland, Canada, sometime around 1000
C.E.
b. In 1639 Danish sea captain Jonas Bronck set out to establish a settlement in the New
World. He brought his wife and a group of indentured servants (people who agree to
work for a colonist for a set period of time in exchange for payment of their passage from
Europe to the New World and at the end of their term are usually given land or goods)
from Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands to a 500-acre parcel of land he had
purchased between the present-day Bronx and Harlem Rivers in New York.
c. In 1638 Sweden attempted to establish a colony called New Sweden in North America.
2. During the nineteenth century, the population of the Scandinavian countries began to increase
at a very rapid rate.
a. The rise in population happened before the industrial revolution (the historic change from
a farm-based economy to an economic system based on the manufacturing of goods on an
organized and mass-produced basis) could bring industry and new jobs into the cities.
105
b. Many rural people took a severe financial hit, with no land to farm and no jobs available.
3. Beginning about 1840, the first immigrants in North America had settled in and were able to
write to family and friends in Scandinavia and describe their new homes.
a. Then newspapers began to report on the wonders of the New World.
b. They reported that the U.S. government was giving away land to farmers who promised
to farm the land for several years.
c. The promise of free land drew large groups of immigrants.
d. Recruiters looking for laborers in mines and logging camps drew more.
Where did they settle?
1. As a general rule, the further north Scandinavian Americans lived in their native country, the
further north they tended to live within the United States.
2. Many Scandinavian immigrants were drawn to the United States by the availability of
farmland, and they tended to move to the Midwest and, later on, to the Pacific Northwest.
3. Others came for jobs, to work as shipbuilders, miners, and lumbermen.
What were their social and work conditions?
1. With the exception of the Danes, most Scandinavian immigrants formed communities in the
United States in which they could continue to speak their own language, practice their own
customs, and educate their children as they chose.
2. After the first few families from a village or a town in the old country had become established
in the United States, more families from the same village would immigrate and settle near
them.
3. Many Scandinavian American communities were made up almost entirely of people who had
known each other and lived near one another in the old country.
4. On farms, Scandinavian women shared almost all aspects of the work, raising animals and
tending crops.
5. Farmers would go off to work at a job in a logging camp or elsewhere during the winter,
leaving their wives and children to take care of the farm.
6. Because of their self-sufficiency and ability to work hard, Scandinavian American women
were sought after as domestic (housekeeping) servants in U.S. homes.
7. By the turn of the twentieth century, single Scandinavian women were immigrating to the
United States and finding work—many as domestic servants, but others in factories and
textile mills.
What were the naming patterns?
Patronymics
Given names become even more significant in the patronymic system, as in Scandinavia, where
the given name of the father becomes the surname of the son. If Eric Larson has a son, he will be
John Ericson and his son will be Sven Johnson.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. Prior to about 1850 all of the Scandinavian countries used a form of patronymics.
a. The given name of a father was used as a surname for each of the children.
b. The son's used the father's given name and a suffix that meant "son" and the daughter's
used the father's given name and a suffix meaning "daughter."
c. Following are examples from the four largest of the Scandinavian countries:
106
Denmark- Norway
Sweden-Finland
Lars Andersen (father)
Hans Larsen (son)
Anna Larsdatter (daughter)
Anders Hansen (grandson)
Maren Hansdatter (granddaughter)
Olof Svensen (father)
Mons Olofsson (son)
Stina Olofsdotter (daughter)
Sven Monsson (grandson)
Katharine Monsdotter
(granddaughter)
2. From about 1860-1904 the naming customs in each of these countries was changing from this
system of patronymics that was used for hundreds of years to the type of system used in the
rest of Europe and America where the surname was passed from father to son.
a. This shift in naming patterns first took place in the cities and took place last in the rural
countryside villages.
b. During this period of change you will find several possibilities for surnames:
•
•
•
A person could use the patronymic name they were born with for a family surname and
pass it on to all their children.
A person could take their father's patronymic name and use it for a surname.
A person could take an entirely different name such as a place name or a name they liked
and begin using it from then on as their surname.
3. Because this is the same time period many Scandinavians emigrated to America, the first
generation on either side of the ocean can be particularly difficult to research.
• Many Scandinavian records will therefore have a first name index rather than a surname
index.
• In a single family three or four brothers often took entirely different surnames when they
got to America.
4. Scandinavians also had some general naming customs they followed to a greater or lesser
extent for given names.
• They would often name the first son after the father's father, the second son after the
mother's father, the third son after the father, and other sons after uncles.
• Likewise the daughters were named for the grandmothers, mother, and aunts.
• If a spouse died and the husband or wife remarried, the next child of the same sex as the
deceased spouse would be given their name.
• If an infant died young, the next child with that sex was given the same name. This
helped lead to the use of the same given names over and over again in each new
generation.
• In many Norwegian and Danish examples you will find two or three children in a family
with the same given name who all lived.
• For example a father's probate record in Norway might list among the children three
sons: Torvald the elder, Torvald the middle, and Torvald the youngest.
5. Besides these customs each of the Scandinavian countries had their own unique naming
customs.
• Someone who understands that soldiers in Sweden are given surnames often assume this
is how names in Denmark came about.
• These type of generalization just do not work and cause a lot of confusion. You will need
to refer to each of the unique paradigms listed below to understand surnames other than
patronymics used in each of these countries.
107
Scottish and Scotts-Irish Immigration
What are some of the important immigration facts?
1. The first Scottish immigrants to America were prisoners of war, sent (or transported) to the
colonies by English ruler Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658) after he defeated Scotland in 1650.
2. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the British placed the Act of Proscription upon the
Highland Scots, which prohibited them from almost every aspect of practicing their
traditions: wearing their tartan kilts, bearing arms, and even playing their traditional pipe
music. The act completely destroyed the Highlands clan system.
3. In the early 1600s British King James I (1566–1625) decided he wanted a Protestant
population in Northern Ireland. From 1608 to 1697, about 200,000 Presbyterian Scots from
the Lowlands immigrated to Ulster in Northern Ireland. Later, when these immigrants
relocated once again to North America, they would be known as the Scotch-Irish.
4. In the American Revolution (1775–83), Scotch-Irish Americans generally joined the rebel
cause while Scottish Americans tended to side with the British crown.
5. Golf was invented in Scotland and brought to America by Scottish and Scotch-Irish
immigrants.
Scottish
When and why did they come?
1. The first Scottish immigrants to America were prisoners of war, forcibly sent to the colonies
by Cromwell after he defeated Scotland in 1650.
a. Served out their sentences by laboring in the English colonies of North America.
2. In 1707 the Act of Union made Scotland, together with England and Wales, part of the
United Kingdom, sharing a single parliament. Scots were given the same freedoms as English
citizens.
3. After the 1707 Union of the Parliaments, trade between Scotland and America increased.
Scottish emigration at that time was mostly to Virginia, where tobacco was high in
production and a financially rewarding business.
4. In the early eighteenth century, more Scots were transported to America as political prisoners
of England in 1715 and 1745.
a. More than fourteen hundred defeated Jacobite rebels (Scots who wanted to return a Stuart
monarch to the throne of Britain) were sent to America.
b. Forced to become indentured servants—people who contracted to work for an agreedupon term with someone in the New World in exchange for payment for their passage.
5. Another large group of involuntary immigrants were Scottish soldiers who had been brought
to America by the British to fight in the French and Indian War (1754–63).
a. The French and Indian War was a war over territory in America between France and
England where Indians fought as allies to the French.
b. At the end of the war, when the soldiers were discharged, the majority of Scottish
soldiers elected to remain in America.
c. The British offered them land in western Pennsylvania as an alternative to being shipped
home.
d. Of the twelve thousand Scottish soldiers discharged, only seventy-six returned to
Scotland.
6. Voluntary Scottish immigration to America picked up in the years between the union with
England (1707) and the American Revolution (1776–83).
a. Conditions were already difficult for Highland Scottish farmers with a cold, rainy
climate, short growing season, and rocky ground.
b. In the Highlands, one method of earning a living had been armed raiding of the more
prosperous Lowlands.
108
7.
8.
9.
10.
c. In the mid-eighteenth century the British prohibited the Highlanders from bearing arms.
d. Without being able to raid, there was not enough work to support the clans.
Landlords began to raise the rents for Scotland's tenant farmers (farmers who rented their
land), also seizing grazing grounds and evicting tenants in order to squash Scottish uprisings.
Wealthy landowners in America advertised for indentured servants, immigrants who would
work for a period of years in exchange for passage to America. A number of Scots jumped at
the opportunity and hired on.
Others sold their farms and livestock to pay for their own passage.
Some Highland clan leaders organized mass migrations to the New World.
a. Whole communities would pack up and emigrate.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
Many Scotts families follow the custom of naming their children after the grandparents in the
following manner.
•
•
•
First born son named for the paternal grandfather.
Second son named for the maternal grandfather.
Third son named for the father.
•
•
•
First born daughter for the maternal grandmother
Second daughter for the paternal grandmother
Third daughter for the mother.
Notes:
• This can cause families to have two children with the same name if the grandparents had the
same name.
• The process also started over if the parent remarried, so it is common to find half brothers or
sisters with the same names.
• Not all Scotts families followed this pattern, but many that did continued it long after leaving
Scotland.
• One variation of above was for the eldest son to be named after the mother's father and the
eldest daughter after the father's mother.
109
The Scotch-Irish
When and why did they come?
1. From 1608 to 1697, about two hundred thousand Scots immigrated to Ulster in Northern
Ireland.
2. King James I had decided he wanted a Protestant population in the area and soon began
evicting the Irish Catholics who lived there.
3. The immigrants were from Scotland's Lowlands and were almost entirely Presbyterian. They
settled in communities and cities in Northern Ireland with some English immigrants as well.
4. The Protestants in Northern Ireland built up a thriving textile (cloth-making) industry and
successfully farmed the land.
5. Lived in constant fear of attack by the Irish, who had been driven off their own land.
6. 1632-King Charles I tried to impose elements of the Church of England upon their
Presbyterian church.
7. 1639-Charles demanded that the Scots swear loyalty to the crown and particularly to reject
the National Covenant.
a. The king's required oath against the popular covenant became known as the "Black
Oath." The penalties for not taking the oath were harsh.
b. When the Scotch-Irish resisted his demands, the king sent in troops to evict them from
their farms.
8. The Ulster Scots began to leave Ireland in large numbers in the early eighteenth century,
seeking self-government and religious freedom.
a. Disappointed in the English government.
b. Tired of being attacked by the Catholics in Ireland for being Protestant and by the
Anglicans (the official church of England, also Protestant) for being Presbyterian.
9. Ulster Scots had been the victims of English landlords who charged outrageously high rents.
a. They sought a new place to live where they could own their own land and practice their
religion freely.
b. Pennsylvania encouraged religious freedom for all, and in the early eighteenth century it
was still largely unsettled frontier, so it was very attractive to the Scotch-Irish.
10. By 1749, about 25 percent of the total population of Pennsylvania was Scotch-Irish. Many of
their descendants still live in towns such as Gettysburg, Chambersburg, Carlisle, and York.
11. The early Scots-Irish pioneers to America settled in the western part of Pennsylvania, where
they found the Quakers more to their liking than the Catholics in Maryland or the Anglicans
in Virginia.
12. Ocean travel was expensive, and most often the people willing to make the trip were the ones
who could least afford it.
13. Most came as indentured servants.
14. Someone in America would pay for the passage, and the traveler would labor in return for a
period of time, usually between one and seven years. At the term's end, the person usually
had acquired a trade. In addition, some were given clothes and money.
15. Not all indentured servants were treated well, however. Some were handled more harshly
than slaves from Africa because indentured servants were temporary help, not valued
property.
16. There were five time periods when the Scots-Irish emigrated in large numbers:
a. 1717-18, when a destructive drought killed crops, the linen industry was crippled and
rack-renting prevailed;
b. 1725-29, when continued rack-renting and poverty prompted such a massive
departure that even the English Parliament became concerned (it feared losing
Protestant majority in the area);
110
c. 1740-41, when a famine struck and letters from relatives living in America were
persuasive;
d. 1754-55, a time of a disastrous drought; and
e. 1771-1775, when leases on the large estate of the marquis of Donegal in County
Antrim expired and the tenants couldn't afford to renew them.
f. Years when economic pressures in Ireland were the greatest were when large
exoduses occurred.
g. The numbers dropped during the years of the French and Indian Wars (1754-63) and
came to a crashing halt during the American Revolution.
Where did they come from?
1. In the period between 1717 and 1775, these English/Scottish Borderers (a much better name
for them) came into the port at Philadelphia in great numbers. Some came directly from the
Northern English counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Westmoreland, Durham, Cumberland,
and Northumberland.
2. Some came directly from the Southern Scottish counties of Ayr, Dumfries, Wigtown,
Roxburgh, and Berwick.
3. Others had gone to the Northern Irish counties of Derry, Down, Armagh, Antrim, and Tyrone
and migrated from there to America. A few Northern Irish came with them, but most of the
people in this migration were English or Scottish.
4. Another Researchers Perspective: They were Lowlanders, mostly coming from the border
regions of Galloway, Dumfries, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Argyllshire and Lanarkshire in the
west and Edinburgh, the Lothians and Berwichshire in the east.
Where did they settle?
1. The early Scots-Irish pioneers to America settled in the western part of Pennsylvania,
where they found the Quakers more to their liking than the Catholics in Maryland or
the Anglicans in Virginia.
• Most of the Scots-Irish arrived in Philadelphia, so records held in that area might
prove beneficial to researchers.
2. By 1730 the Scots-Irish had made their way into the lush Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the
most western region of the British Colonies.
3. The Scots-Irish, serving as a buffer against the Indians, enjoyed religious freedom because
they were virtually ignored by the tidewater Virginians.
4. A large number settled in the area covered today by Augusta and Rockbridge counties.
5. Always on the move, the Scots-Irish populated the Piedmont country of the Carolinas in the
mid-eighteenth century.
6. Some were migrating from northern regions for the second, third, or even fourth time.
7. Many of these settlers were new arrivals from Ulster who found Pennsylvania and Virginia
too crowded for their liking and moved southward.
8. After the war with England ended in 1783, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which had
declared lands west of the mountains off-limits to white settlers, was ignored. The restless
Scots-Irish led the way behind such trailblazers as Daniel Boone.
What was their religious background?
1. They spoke English and were Protestant, specifically Presbyterian.
2. They were different from their Highland cousins.
3. They didn't wear kilts, didn't belong to clans, or speak Gaelic. But they weren't English
either. They didn't support the Anglican Church.
111
4. They held onto the memory of bloody massacres that their ancestors suffered at the hands of
English conquerors centuries earlier.
5. The Presbyterian Church had a direct influence on America's educational system.
6. Church members often emigrated together and the dearth of ministers in America was a
problem. Presbyterian ministers were required to be educated, and there were not enough
coming to America from Scottish institutions.
7. The solution was for America to educate its own, and so universities sprung up.
8. In addition, the Scots-Irish embraced the conviction of John Knox to put a school in every
parish for the education of the general public.
9. Most emigrants from Ulster could write their names on ships' registers. They carried a belief
in the importance of education with them into the frontier.
10. The Scots-Irish, however, did not come to America to escape the strict rules of their
Presbyterian faith. In fact, the customs of that religion formed the basis by our government -early officials were influenced by the religion's system of courts while building the American
system.
11. As the Scots-Irish moved into the frontier, away from the Presbyterian influence, many
became Methodists or Baptists; some abandoned their faith altogether.
12. They intermarried -- the reason that so many Americans can trace their roots to this group.
Economically, the Scots-Irish had an impact because they practiced self-reliance -- God helps
those who help themselves.
13. They can be credited neither with originating this concept nor the concept of freedom, but
their large numbers at the time of the American Revolution helped to ingrain their
convictions into those of America's.
What were the naming patterns?
Scots/Irish naming pattern 1700 - 1800
1. The Scottish naming patterns are outlined in the book "In Search of Scottish Ancestry." The
basic naming pattern used by Scots/Irish is based on the English pattern.
2. The Scottish tended to stick to one of two accepted naming patterns more rigidly than other
nationalities.
• First son paternal grandfather first daughter maternal grandmother
• Second son maternal grandfather second daughter paternal grandmother
• Third son father third daughter mother
• Fourth+ son other family members fourth+ daughter other family members
3. This variation was common in Scotland, particularly in the highland areas.
• First son maternal grandfather first daughter paternal grandmother
• Second son paternal grandfather second daughter maternal grandmother
• Third son father third daughter mother
• Fourth+ son other family members fourth+ daughter other family members
Additional Notes
1. These Borderers brought their child-naming practices with them. There was a pattern but they
were the least likely group to follow it.
2. The pattern in this male dominant society was for the
a. Two eldest sons to be named after their grandfathers.
b. Third son after his father.
3. They also used Biblical names (John the most common), Teutonic names (Richard or Robert
the most common), names of Border saints, such as Andrew, Patrick, or David, Celtic names,
such as Ewan/Owen, Barry, or Roy, names from other cultures, such as Ronald or Archibald,
112
names of Scottish Kings, such as Alexander, Charles, or James, names of brave border
warriors, such as Wallace, Bruce, Perry, or Howard, place names, such as Ross, Clyde,
Carlisle, Tyne or Derry.
4. Sometimes they made up names or feminized family names and gave them to their daughters
(i.e. Hoyt=Hoyette). The most common names for girls were the same as in all 3 of the other
groups of English immigrants--Mary, Elizabeth and Sarah.
5. There were also some naming taboos: they did not use Scottish Highlander names, such as
Douglas, Donald, Kenneth, Ian, or Stewart; they did not use Gaelic names, such as Sean,
Kathleen, Maureen, or Sheila.
Starting Points for Further Research
The following are a few sites that focus on or have part of their collection on Scotch-Irish.
Possible places to search:
1. Most of the Scots-Irish arrived in Philadelphia, so records held in that area might prove
beneficial to researchers.
2. The Free Library of Philadelphia holds local records and is a Government Depository
Library.
3. The Lancaster County Historical Society holds some unique sources such as the Jasper
Yeates Colonial Law Library, which holds volumes belonging to the local lawyer who
was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and Justice of the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court in 1791.
4. It also contains local atlases and family records.
5. The Kentucky History Center (see Everton's Family History Magazine, January /
February 2004) will help researchers trace ancestors who moved through the Cumberland
Gap.
6. Piedmont country of the Carolinas--The State Library of North Carolina would be a good
place to research settlers in this area.
In addition to the Ulster American Folk Park outdoor museum in Ireland, the Scots-Irish
are represented at the Frontier Culture Museum, 1290 Richmond Ave., Staunton, VA
24402; 540.332.7850. The site in Ireland has a building originally constructed in
Pennsylvania, but this American museum features farm buildings from County Tyrone,
Northern Ireland.
http://www.frontiermuseum.org/
Research Libraries and Societies
Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103; 215.686.5322
http://www.library.phila.gov/ssh/genealogy/guidelist.htm
Lancaster County Pennsylvania Genealogy
http://www.pa-roots.com/~lancaster
Lancaster County Historical Society, 230 North President Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603;
717-392-4633
http://www.lancasterhistory.org/index.html
Rockbridge County Virginia Courthouse, 2 S. Main, Lexington, VA 24450;
540.463.2232
http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/circuit/Rockbridge/genealogy.html
113
Augusta Virginia County Courthouse, 6 E. Johnson St., Staunton, VA 24401-4301;
540.245.5321
Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219-8000; 804-692.3500
http://www.lva.lib.va.us/whatwehave/
State Library of North Carolina, 4641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4641;
919.807.7400
http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/iss/gr/grserve.htm
Kentucky History Center, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601-1931; 501.564.1792
http://www.history.ky.gov/
Helpful Websites
The Scots-Irish in American (particularly early settlers of Western Pennsylvania):
The Scotch-Irish in America, Their History, Traits, Institutions and Influences, Especially
as Illustrated in the Early Settlers of Western Pennsylvania and their Descendants, by
John Walker Dinsmore, Published by the Winona Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois,
1906.
http://www.ls.net/~newriver/pa/dinsm1.htm
Famous People with Scots-Irish Blood
http://www.scotchirish.net/famous.php4
Ulster Historical Foundation
http://www.ancestryireland.co.uk/
Northern Irish References
http://www.rootsweb.com/~fianna/NIR/
Chronicles of the Scots-Irish Settlement in Virginia, extracted from Original Court
Records of Augusta County 1745-1800, by Lyman Chalkley
http://www.rootsweb.com/~chalkley/volume_1/vindx.htm
Canada's Ulster-Scots
http://canadasulsterscots.tripod.com/page1.htm
Resources for linguistic information on the Scots-Irish
http://www.ianjamesparsley.net/ullans.html
General Register Office for Scotland
http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/index.html
Genealogy How To - New Records for Tracking Your Scottish Ancestors
http://www.kindredkonnections.com/cgi-bin/nlcenter?-1+0+000000+English+00+20061224+howto
Scotland's People - Connecting Generations
http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
National Archives of Scotland
http://www.nas.gov.uk/
114
The Court of the Lord Lyon
http://www.lyoncourt.com/lordlyon/ll_homeTemplate.jsp;jsessionid=E3E51F7305AA45BC65CAF5606A
C8B7CA?p_applic=CCC&p_service=Content.show&pContentID=220&
Ellis Island Foundation - Passenger Lists
http://www.ellisisland.org/default.asp
115
Swedish immigration
Why did they come?
1. Like Norway, Sweden had experienced a population explosion, mainly in its rural areas. It is
estimated that the population of Sweden had more than doubled in the century before the
emigration. Industrialization had not yet taken hold, so there were few jobs to be found off
the farm, even in the capital city of Stockholm.
2. A series of droughts and floods created a famine during the 1860s, and soaring prices made
what little cash people had worth less and less.
3. Political upheavals, a cruel government, religious oppression, a rigid class system, and
mandatory military service made life uneasy for some in Sweden.
4. It was illegal to belong to any but the official Lutheran church. Because the Lutheran church
in Sweden was very strict and conservative (staying with traditional values), there were often
conflicts between the church and political reformers or intellectual groups (people given to
creative speculation and different thoughts about life rather than acceptance of traditional
values).
5. Many immigrated seeking more freedom, but most were seeking economic opportunity.
When did they come and where did they settle?
1. Between 1851 and 1929, 1.2 million Swedish immigrants entered the United States. Only
Ireland and Norway (and perhaps Iceland) lost a higher percentage of their populations to
North America.
2. The first big wave of Swedish immigration to the United States began in the 1850s.
3. It was largely middle class and consisted of entire farming families.
4. They settled in the Midwest, where the terrain (land) was much like what they had known in
Sweden.
5. At that time, the United States was expanding westward and promoted settlement by offering
acreage at low prices.
6. The Homestead Act of 1862, which offered free land to those willing to farm it for a certain
number of years, drew huge numbers of Swedes to the United States.
7. A second major wave of Swedish immigrants from the late 1870s to early 1890s included
many more urban Swedes who settled in cities and industrial areas of New York and New
England. Others joined earlier immigrants in Chicago.
8. Swedish farmers continued to immigrate as well and began spreading westward, all the way
to California. A number of Swedish Mormons, who had been converted in Sweden by
Mormon missionaries, settled in Utah, the center of the Mormon community.
9. The last major wave of Swedish immigration to the United States began in the early 1900s
and lasted until 1929.
a. With the onset of the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression (1929–41; a
period of economic hard times worldwide) that followed, economic opportunities were no
better in the United States than in Sweden.
b. Many of Sweden's repressive government measures had been lifted by this time.
10. There was no longer any compelling reason to leave Sweden, and emigration virtually ceased.
Since 1930, only a very small number of Swedes have immigrated to the United States.
11. The states with the largest Swedish American populations were Minnesota, California,
Illinois, Washington, and Michigan.
116
What were the naming patterns?
Patronymics
Given names become even more significant in the patronymic system, as in Scandinavia, where
the given name of the father becomes the surname of the son. If Eric Larson has a son, he will be
John Ericson and his son will be Sven Johnson.
117
Welch Immigration
Why and when did they come?
1. The earliest group to come was a Baptist congregation that founded a settlement it called
Swansea (1677) in Massachusetts near the Rhode Island border.
2. The major migration of this era began in 1681 when Welsh Quaker gentry obtained a tract of
40,000 acres in Pennsylvania. By 1790, ten thousand persons of Welsh birth or ancestry were
in southeastern Pennsylvania.
3. Smaller Welsh settlements were found in other parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the
Carolinas. The Welsh in Pennsylvania were generally well-to-do.
4. In the 1782 Lancaster County tax rolls, showed that the Welsh, although only one percent of
the population, were 7 percent of those paying more than forty pounds in annual taxes.
5. During the great immigration period of the 19th century, most Welsh, particularly the skilled
workers, came from the urbanized, heavily populated areas of South Wales.
6. Most Welsh abandoned their homeland for purely economic reasons.
7. Welsh farmers were growing weary of a long agricultural depression and poor treatment at
the hands of Church of England landlords.
8. Good land was scarce to begin with, and furthermore the English legal code "disinherited" all
younger sons--the law of primogeniture.
9. Welsh miners and quarrymen left a slumping job market to capitalize on the sudden
expansion of 19th-century America's industrial economy.
10. In the 1890s, the McKinley Tariff cut off the importation of Welsh tinplate, thus drying up
the industry and forcing the tinplate specialists to move their lucrative enterprises to the U.S.
Where did they settle?
1. Settled: All original thirteen colonies; Colorado; Kentucky; Michigan; Tennessee; Wisconsin
2. During the 19th-century wave of Welsh immigration, at least one third of the newcomers
settled in Pennsylvania, particularly in the anthracite coal regions around Wilkes-Barre and
Scranton and the bituminous coal and steel center of Pittsburgh, while others settled in
industrial areas in New York and Ohio.
3. As the West opened up, Welsh miners pushed on to the coalfields and copperfields of
Colorado and the goldfields of California.
4. Following the Civil War, Welsh farmers migrated to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Kansas.
Are there any clues to family naming patterns?
1. The Welsh used an ancient Patronymic naming system whereby the children of a marriage
took their fathers forename as their surname.
2. Women rarely took on their husband's family names, rather retaining their maiden names.
3. This makes family history complex, but there was a commonly used naming standard in place
that combined the use of Christian names with patronymic surnames.
•
•
•
First son full name of paternal grandfather
Second son full name of maternal grandfather
Third son full name of father
•
•
•
First daughter full name of paternal grandmother
Second daughter full name of maternal grandmother
Third daughter full name of mother
118
4. Using this model makes it relatively easy to deduce the name of grandchildren from
grandparents and vice versa.
5. An example of this in practice would be Catherine Hughes (daughter of Hugh Hughes and
Susan Thomas) married Richard William (son of William Prichard and Sarah Evans) the
name of their children in order would be William Prichard, Hugh Hughes, Richard William,
Sarah Evans, Susan Thomas and Catherine Hughes
119
Westward Migration 1783-1912
1783–1912: When and why did they come?
1. Between 1805 and 1840, mountain men trapping for beaver opened up the roads that would
open the West to U.S. expansion and settlement.
2. In 1843, 1,000 people with 120 wagons and huge herds of cattle and oxen met in Missouri to
start their journey overland on the Oregon Trail. The following year, more than 1,500 people
made the trip, arriving either in Oregon or California. In 1845, 2,760 pioneers set off for
Oregon or California. During the years of wagon migration, about 14,000 people traveled
overland to the Pacific Coast.
3. After gold was discovered in California in 1848, California's population quadrupled, reaching
nearly 380,000 by 1860. The state's population continued to grow at a rate twice that of the
nation as a whole in the 1860s and 1870s.
4. In 1862 Congress subsidized (financially supported) two railroad companies to finish the
transcontinental railroad. The Central Pacific Company was to start laying tracks in
Sacramento, California, and cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Union Pacific Railroad
started its project in Omaha, Nebraska, to meet with Central Pacific somewhere in between.
The actual meeting of the two projects in Promontory Point, Utah Territory, on May 10,
1869, marked the achievement of the nation's first transcontinental railroad.
5. The Homestead Act of 1862 touched off a mass migration from 1870 to 1900, when 4.3
million acres were settled, mainly in the prairie and High Plains regions of North and South
Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Overall, the
amount of farmland under cultivation doubled.
Starting Points for Further Research on Migration
American Migration Patterns
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/migration.html
The American Migrations Web Site
http://members.aol.com/gedsearch/migrate.htm
Cyndi's List of Migration Routes, Roads and Trails
http://www.cyndislist.com/migration.htm
Early American Trails and Roads ("RoadTrails")
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/trails.html
All about Immigration and Migration
http://www.genealogy.com/00000388.html
Immigration and Migration in the United States
http://www.genealogy.com/00000389.html?Welcome=993946620
Migrations.org Database: families, records, links
http://www.migrations.org/
Comprehensive Directory of Migration Links
http://migration.ucc.ie/linkscompendium.htm
The American Migrations Web Site
http://members.aol.com/gedsearch/migrate.htm
120
Brethren Migrations
http://www.cob-net.org/docs/brethrenlife_migrations.htm
Migration Charts
http://www.intl-research.com/migration.htm
Westward Migration Maps
http://www.lib.utah.edu/digital/collections/westward/
Perry-Castañeda Library
Map Collection
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/histus.html
Historical Maps
http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/index.html
Library of Congress
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html
Roads and Trails
Chattahooche Trace
http://www.hcc-al-ga.org/
Cyndi's List of Migration Routes, Roads and Trails
http://www.cyndislist.com/migration.htm
Early American Trails and Roads ("RoadTrails")
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/trails.html
All about immigration and migration
http://www.genealogy.com/00000388.html
Immigration and Migration in the United States
http://www.genealogy.com/00000389.html?Welcome=993946620
Migrations.org Database: families, records, links
http://www.migrations.org/
Kansas Historic Trails
http://www.kshs.org/research/collections/documents/online/westerntrails/index.htm
The National Road
http://www.history-magazine.com/natroad.html
The Making of the National Road
http://www.connerprairie.org/HistoryOnline/ntlroad.html
Along the Old Federal Road in Alabama
121
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/%7Eoldfedrd/
The Oregon Trail
http://www.isu.edu/%7Etrinmich/Oregontrail.html
Oregon Trail/Lewis & Clark Trail, the Columbia River Connection
http://www.tomlaidlaw.com/crc/
The Oregon-California Trails Association
http://www.octa-trails.org/
Oregon Trail: The End-of-the-Oregon-Trail Interpretive Center
http://www.endoftheoregontrail.org/mambo/
The Overland Trail
http://www.over-land.com/
Pennsylvania to Virginia, Migration Routes
http://www.indwes.edu/Faculty/bcupp/genes/migrate.htm
Pennsylvania's Early Migration Trails
http://www.mcn.org/2/noel/Westmoreland/MigrationTrails.htm
Rivers and Waterways
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/rivers.html
RoadTrails
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/trails.html
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
http://www.stjohnks.net/santafetrail/
Southern Trails, Archived Messages
http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/index/Southern-Trails/
"Spotlight of the Month" by Elizabeth Larson
http://www.over-land.com/spotlite.html
A Timeline: Historic American Highways
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/%7Emaggieoh/highway.html
The Trading Path
http://www.tradingpath.org/
122
Migrations From the Eastern States 1780s to 1840s
1. At the close of the American Revolution, the original thirteen British colonies were
overflowing with people heading for the frontier (the area at the farthest border of a settled
territory).
a. At that time families that had been living for generations in the eastern states were
running out of land.
b. Many farming families' sons picked up and moved over the mountains into the Old
Northwest or the New South.
c. Many who left Virginia and North Carolina headed into central Kentucky and Tennessee.
d. Other pioneers spilled into what is now Ohio and quickly built homes, farms, and towns
there. In the next decade many settlers poured into Mississippi and Alabama in the New
South.
e. Roads to the west were crowded from early spring to late fall with settlers moving
westward, singly, by families, or in groups.
2. The typical migrating unit was the family, moving to a new home farther west, with their
belongings in a single covered wagon and with perhaps a cow or two. Some well-to-do
farmers or plantation owners relocated with all their belongings loaded into a long train of
well-equipped wagons.
3. A two-wheeled cart, pulled by a horse or an ox, was the only vehicle of many. Others made
the journey on horseback or on foot.
4. Road-building had been slowly connecting the thirteen colonies and beyond even prior to the
American Revolution.
5. The Wilderness Road was established in 1794, creating an easy route through the
Cumberland Gap, a pass through the Allegheny Mountains at the junction of the present-day
state borders of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
6. The new nation began the labor-intensive task of laying roads stretching to every corner it
sought to settle.
a. Smaller overland roads, such as the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road of 1795
and the 95-mile-long Catskill Turnpike (also called the Susquehanna Turnpike, started in
1801 and completed 1806), which connected New England with the Great Lakes in the
Midwest, the United States quickly set the stage for the mass departure to the West.
9. Thousands of settlers placed their possessions, often including livestock, on flatboats on the
upper Ohio River.
a. They floated to their destination along the Ohio River or continued down the Ohio to the
Mississippi River.
b. Similarly, the canal boats on the Erie Canal, after its completion in 1825, were often
crowded with people migrating to western New York or to Michigan and northern Ohio,
Indiana, and Illinois. Pioneers also had the option to travel on the many navigable bodies
of water in the United States, such as the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river systems and
the Great Lakes.
10. Steamboats later played a large role in transporting settlers upstream to lands along the
Mississippi and the Missouri Rivers.
a. In 1807 the first steamboat chugged up the Hudson River from New York City to Albany.
Soon, steam-powered rivercraft were carrying people and goods along many of the
nation's arteries.
b. In 1812 a steamboat went from Pittsburgh to New Orleans; even more important, in 1815
a steamboat left New Orleans and ascended the Mississippi River to Louisville,
Kentucky.
c. The Ohio and Mississippi river systems bore seventy steamboats by the early 1820s and
five hundred by 1840.
123
d. The success of these new steam-powered crafts led to the disappearance of the slower
keelboats, but flatboats, another familiar form of river transportation, continued to carry
people and goods down river.
e. Thousands of pioneers loaded their possessions, often including livestock, on flatboats on
the upper Ohio. They floated down that river highway to their destination in the West or
traveled down the Mississippi River.
11. In the early nineteenth century private interests built small canals in the United States. In
1825 the Erie Canal—connecting the Great Lakes to the Hudson River (and, thus, to New
York City)—was finally completed.
a. The Erie Canal carried more than one million tons of cargo in 1845, and for two decades
the United States went through a "canal-mania."
b. State governments rushed to connect cities and regions with rivers and lakes, and canals
appeared throughout the Northeast and the Midwest.
124
The Oregon Trail
1. The first people to travel the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon were Presbyterian missionaries
Marcus (1802–1847) and Narcissa (1808–1847) Whitman, who made the trip with three other
missionaries in 1836 and developed a mission among the Cayuse Indians in the Walla Walla
River Valley in the southwestern corner of present-day Washington.
2. The Methodist Church sent missionaries to Oregon in 1837 and 1840.
a. Although the missionaries had little success in changing the religious beliefs of the
Native Americans, their success in getting to Oregon and living there made a large
impact on friends and family back home.
3. In 1841 and 1842 small wagon trains set off from Independence, Missouri, on the Oregon
Trail.
4. According to Frank McLynn in his book Wagons West: The Epic Story of America's
Overland Trails, 34 people made it overland to California in 1841 and 125 made it to Oregon
in 1842.
5. Although the British policy was to discourage U.S. migrants from entering Oregon, they were
usually very helpful to those who arrived.
6. As the decade progressed and Americans responded to the westward expansion fever, the
Oregon Trail became heavily traveled. In 1843, 1,000 people with 120 wagons and huge
herds of cattle and oxen met in Missouri to start their long, difficult journey overland on the
Oregon Trail.
7. Of these, 875 people made it to the Pacific Northwest, where they settled in the fertile
Willamette Valley. The following year, more than 1,500 people made the trip, arriving either
in Oregon or California.
8. In 1845, 2,760 pioneers set off for Oregon or California. In the years before 1849, the
majority of the migrants were on their way to Oregon's Willamette Valley.
9. According to McLynn, more than 14,000 people traveled overland to the Pacific Coast. Of
that total, only 2,735 went to California, while 11,512 went to Oregon.
10. In 1845 many Americans believed it was the manifest destiny of the United States to expand
from coast to coast.
11. This expansion could not be accomplished without gaining control of California and the
Oregon Territory.
12. The United States became eager to annex the Oregon Territory early in the decade and made
constant offers to the British to divide the territory.
13. Britain was not interested in what is now the state of Oregon but wanted to keep its interests
in Vancouver and its access to the Columbia River in what is now the state of Washington.
14. In 1845, war with Britain over the disputed area seemed likely.
15. However, the main British presence in the Oregon Territory, the Hudson's Bay Company, had
lost interest in the area because the beaver population had been depleted. The company
moved its headquarters out of the region.
a. With so many Americans already living in the Willamette Valley, the British could not
defend it. In 1846 Britain accepted the U.S. proposal to set the border between the United
States and British interests in Canada at the forty-ninth parallel. Oregon and Washington
had become a part of the United States.
b. It would not be so easy to win California. Mexico had many reasons for bitterness toward
the United States and its pursuit of manifest destiny.
c. In 1846 the Mexican-American War (1846–48) began.
d. In January 1847, the Mexican forces in California surrendered. More than a year later,
after a long period of fighting in central Mexico, a treaty of peace was signed at
Guadalupe-Hidalgo in February 1848.
125
e. Under the terms of the Treaty of Hidalgo, Mexico ceded California and other territories
to the United States in exchange for fifteen million dollars and the acquisition by the
United States of some three million dollars in claims by Mexican citizens.
Starting Points for Further Research
The Oregon Trail
http://www.isu.edu/%7Etrinmich/Oregontrail.html
Oregon Trail/Lewis & Clark Trail, the Columbia River Connection
http://www.tomlaidlaw.com/crc/
The Oregon-California Trails Association
http://www.octa-trails.org/
Oregon Trail: The End-of-the-Oregon-Trail Interpretive Center
http://www.endoftheoregontrail.org/mambo/
The Overland Trail
http://www.over-land.com/
126
California Gold Rush
1. Just nine days before the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed, gold was discovered in
northern California.
a. The news of the gold discovery soon spread around the globe, and a massive rush of
people poured into the region.
b. By the end of 1848, about six thousand miners had arrived and obtained ten million
dollars' worth of gold.
c. During 1849, about forty thousand to fifty thousand more gold seekers had poured into
the foothills of the Sierra Nevada; gold production was two or three times as great but
spread among more miners.
d. In 1850 an estimated eighty thousand more miners arrived. In 1852, the peak year of
production, about eighty million dollars in gold was mined in the state.
e. To get to California as quickly as possible to participate in the rush for riches in the mid1800s, there were just a few routes available from within the United States, and all of
them took months.
2. People came overland, on horseback or with a small wagon, often by the Oregon-California
Trail. They also came by sea.
a. Coming from the East Coast, they sailed down around Cape Horn at the southernmost
part of South America or through the Strait of Magellan in Argentina and then sailed
back up along the West Coast. This trip also took about five months and was fairly
expensive.
b. There were other ocean routes that brought the traveler part way down the Atlantic shores
of South America and then required overland routes across that continent and boarding a
ship on the Pacific side.
c. There were many fortune seekers coming in from Europe and South America, and Asia
was also represented among the newcomers.
d. California's population quadrupled during the 1850s, reaching nearly 380,000 by 1860,
and it continued to grow at a rate twice that of the nation as a whole in the 1860s and
1870s.
e. The new population of California was remarkably diverse, coming from many different
backgrounds.
3. The 1850 census found that nearly a quarter of all Californians were foreign-born, while only
a tenth of the national population had been born abroad.
a. In succeeding decades, the percentage of foreign-born Californians increased, rising to
just under 40 percent during the 1860s.
b. Most of the migrants who rushed to California to pan for gold were young males who had
no intention of staying there. In fact, the 1850 census records that 92 percent of
California's population was male. They simply wanted to get rich and go home. Many did
leave within a year or two. Most were disappointed, broke, and unhappy, having survived
the lawless, violent, frontier conditions but not having found the fortune they sought.
c. One of the most serious problems facing California in the early years of the gold rush was
the absence of adequate government.
4. Miners organized more than five hundred "mining districts" to regulate their affairs; in San
Francisco and other cities, "vigilance committees" were formed to combat widespread
robbery and arson.
a. Violence was rampant during the Gold Rush. In the gold camps where miners stayed,
there was drinking and fighting, and many arguments were resolved with guns.
b. Although there were many murders among the European Americans who had arrived in
California's gold camps, the Chinese and Native Americans in particular were victimized
by the cruelty and lawlessness of the gold miners.
127
c. Immigrants from China, arriving with gold fever like everyone else, were physically
abused, denied basic rights, and prohibited from working.
d. The treatment of California's Native Americans by the gold seekers (called "forty-niners,"
because they began to arrive in the year 1849) is an appalling segment of American
history. Men viciously hunted down Native Americans and shot them as if in sport. Some
newspaper writers actually advocated the annihilation (the killing of everyone in a
particular group) of California Indians. It is estimated that there were about 150,000
Native people in California in 1848, before the Gold Rush.
e. According to historian James Sandoz, as quoted by Stegner, by 1860 there were only
about 30,000 Indians left in California. Some died from infectious diseases, but murder
by migrating Europeans killed most of the population.
Starting Points for Further Research
Gold Rush
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/californiagoldrush.htm
Gold Rush History
http://www.malakoff.com/gorh.htm
128
Orphan Trains
1. From about 1850 through the early twentieth century, thousands of children were transferred
from the overcrowded orphanages and homes in the large cities in the northeastern United
States, to live with families on farms throughout the middle West.
2. The name orphan train originates with the railroad trains that transported the children to their
new homes.
a. While some of the children were orphans, many of them had one or even two living
parents. In those cases, the child's parents were unable or unwilling to care for them.
b. Other parents believed their children would have a better life if sent to a caring family in
the farmlands of the west.
c. Many of the parents and children were immigrants who found life in America harder
than they anticipated.
3. The goal of the orphan trains was to provide the children with a better life - many had fended
for themselves on the streets of New York.
a. Many were not babies, but were in their teens when sent West.
b. The results were mixed. In some cases, as adults, the orphan train riders were very
positive about their adoptive family, felt they were treated well, loved, and given a better
chance in life.
c. However, in many cases, the children were taken into a new home only for the work they
were expected to do.
d. Some were mistreated. In many cases, siblings were separated from each other and
consequently, from the only family they knew.
4. Family history research about Orphan Train Riders is often a difficult undertaking. Records
can be scarce.
a. As adults, children often did not remember or did not discuss their previous life in the
east.
b. Many feel that contact with siblings and living relatives was discouraged - perhaps in an
attempt to "help the children adjust" to their new home.
5. Although Orphan Trains originated in other eastern cities, this list of references focuses on
three of the biggest agencies from New York City:
• New York Juvenile Asylum
• New York Children's Aid Society
• New York Foundling Hospital (Roman Catholic)
Starting Points for Further Research
Genealogy links to information about the orphan trains 1850-1930, including lists of names
of children who rode the trains and stories about some of the individual children.
http://www.genealinks.com/orphantrain.htm
Orphan Trains
http://www.outfitters.com/~melissa/ot/ot.html
The American Experience/The Orphan
Trains/About the Program
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/
Childrens Aid Society
http://www.childrensaidsociety.org/about/train
129
On the move: Life on Wagon Trains
1. Before the railroads traversed the continent, some people made the trip out West in a
stagecoach.
a. There were numerous independent stagecoach lines, with stops throughout the West.
People could book passage and be driven to their destination with other travelers, but this
was not as easy as it may sound.
b. The trips were dusty, crowded, long, and very difficult. The cost to customers for the trip
was about seven cents a mile and often severe physical discomfort, as the ride could
brutally shake passengers.
c. In fact, the most popular slang terms for stagecoaches on the western routes were the
"shake guts" and "spankers."
2. Most pioneers elected to obtain their own wagon.
a. Many set out on their journey to the West with their farm wagon filled with belongings
and covered with a canvas tent. Others bought wagons specifically designed for the
overland trails.
b. They often joined a wagon train, which was an organized caravan of wagons with a
captain to lead the way across the continent.
3. People starting from points east in the years between 1843 and 1869 generally started their
trip on the Missouri River, which runs from west to east from present-day southern Montana
at the far west, through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas. The Missouri River then
crosses Missouri, where it meets the Mississippi River.
a. Most migrants boarded their wagon on a steamship somewhere on the eastern part of the
river and then got off the ship at a "jumping off point"—usually Independence, St.
Joseph, or Westport in Missouri, or Omaha or Council Bluffs in Nebraska.
b. Each spring in these towns, thousands of wagons would gather to await the departure of
the wagon train.
c. On an agreed-upon day, the journey would begin, but very slowly. The route would
become so congested with wagons that the first several days could be spent simply
getting all the wagons on the road.
4. The wagon trains usually had a hired guide, generally a mountain man who knew the route
well.
a. They usually elected leaders and formed a simple government so that decisions could be
made throughout the trip. People did not always act in harmony, however. Pioneer diaries
reveal that quarreling and hostility were very common among the participants of a wagon
train.
5. Like immigrants from overseas, the migrants pushing west were generally people of middle
income: neither the wealthiest nor the poorest of Americans.
a. The wealthy probably did not often go because they were well enough off where they
were. The poor simply could not afford to go.
b. The cost of the wagon, supplies, and setting up in the West would be prohibitive.
c. It is said that the very least amount of starting money to make the trip would have been
about $500, but $1,000 was more reasonable and many spent much more than that. A
wagon, if the pioneer was not using his or her own farm wagon, and a team of oxen or
mules might cost between $300 and $600.
d. At the time these were very large amounts of money. In 1850 the average wage for a
laborer was about 25 cents per day (this usually included room and board) and for a
skilled laborer about 62 cents a day. To spend $1,000 in 1850 would be equivalent to
spending more than $22,000 today.
e. Most people leaving for the West sold their farm or their home and just about everything
else they owned. Some people who did not have enough money to pay their own way
offered to work for pioneer families and received their passage in that way.
130
6. Two types of covered wagons dominated in the overland trips of the pioneers in the midnineteenth century: Conestoga wagons and prairie schooners.
a. Conestoga wagons were developed in the eastern United States to haul heavy cargo. At
about twenty-three feet long, they were so big it was impossible for animal teams to pull
them over the treacherous roads of the Oregon Trail.
b. Prairie schooners were about half the size of Conestoga wagons and were useful on the
Oregon Trail, where they could be hauled by a smaller team of animals. They featured a
hoop frame to hold the bonnet over the wagon bed.
c. Wagons on the Oregon Trail were almost always pulled by mules or oxen. Horses were
not able to travel long enough without grass and water.
d. The wagons needed to hold an immense amount of supplies for the pioneers to survive
the trip.
e. The wagons had to be as light as possible so they would not overexert the animals on the
rugged trip.
7. Participants in wagon trains were urged not to carry furniture or anything else they would not
need on the trip. Most of the tremendous load in their wagon was in very basic foods.
According to McLynn, a family of four would need at least:
• 800 pounds of flour per person
• 400 pounds of bacon per person
• 300 pounds of beans, rice, and dried fruit
• 75 pounds of coffee
• 200 pounds of lard
• 25 pounds of salt and pepper
• They would also need simple tools to fix their wagon, shoes, clothes, cooking utensils,
pots and pans, and dishes.
8. Once they were on the road, the pioneers settled as best they could into a daily routine,
though they were often beset by challenges (river crossings, bad weather). People slept either
in their wagons, though these were often too crowded with supplies, or in tents. They woke
early in the morning.
a. Men would herd the cattle that had strayed during the night, break camp, and yoke their
teams, while the children gathered buffalo chips (dung, that is, dried manure droppings
left by the herds of buffalo on the plains) to burn for fires.
b. Women cooked the breakfast and by 7:00 A.M. everyone was continuing to travel. Many
people walked most of the day.
c. The trains plodded on at a walking pace, usually covering fifteen to twenty-five miles on
a good day. The person who drove the team was often the only one on the wagon,
although in the afternoons sometimes others would nap in the back.
d. The wagon train guide chose the spot for encampment in the evening.
e. The wagons in the train would form a large circle, with the livestock inside the circle, as
protection from Indian raids or wandering off.
f. Then tents were pitched outside the circle. Children once again gathered the buffalo chips
for the evening fires and women began cooking the evening meal.
g. After dinner, there was talk and even singing and storytelling around the fire, while the
women were generally left with the cleanup.
9. In the division of labor that prevailed, women may have worked the hardest on the trail,
according to many historians.
a. When the caravan stopped at mealtime, the women could not just relax; they were
expected to prepare and serve a hearty if simple meal.
131
b. They baked bread daily—even pastries were on most families' menus. All this was done
with the difficulties of cooking outside, keeping bugs and dirt out of the food, using a
makeshift oven, and dealing with all kinds of weather.
c. Besides cooking and childcare, women were responsible for laundry—a grueling job that
required quite a few hours at the riverside.
d. Because no one wanted to hold up the day's travel for laundry, the chore usually had to be
done on Sunday, the only day the train did not travel. Thus, while others rested, women
were often pounding out the family's filthy clothes on the rocks of a frigid river.
10. It is said that about one in ten pioneers died while crossing the continent in a wagon train.
The greatest dangers were drowning and wagon accidents.
a. Exposed to the weather and each other, there were many outbreaks of infectious disease,
especially cholera, an often fatal disease of the intestines.
b. Although much has been written about the dangers posed by Native Americans, in fact,
most tribes were very helpful to the emigrants.
c. In many cases the wagon trains relied on Native Americans for survival, either for the
goods they could trade or for their help in emergencies.
132
Railroads
1. In the 1830s steam railroads began to appear in the nation.
2. Most railroad lines merely joined major waterways as people continued to rely on water
transportation. However, investors began to develop new routes, and by 1853 seven routes
connected the eastern seaboard with the interior West.
3. Although no railroad connected the East Coast with California until 1869, by 1860 the United
States possessed more than thirty thousand miles of rails, most of it east of the Missouri
River.
4. In 1862 the U.S. Congress decided to go forward with long-discussed plans for a
transcontinental railroad, a railroad that stretched from coast to coast. Two railroad
companies were given the job.
5. Central Pacific Company was to start laying tracks in Sacramento, California, and cross the
Sierra Nevada Mountains, while the Union Pacific Railroad started its project in Omaha,
Nebraska, to meet with Central Pacific somewhere in between.
6. The actual meeting of the two projects in Promontory Point, Utah Territory, on May 10,
1869, marked the achievement of the nation's first transcontinental railroad.
7. Before the 1870s, cities and towns could arise only on coasts and major waterways. Water
provided the only means to deliver the food and goods to be consumed by the population and
transport the goods produced there.
8. After 1870, thousands of miles of rail connected even the most remote areas to the rest of the
country, and communities sprouted up rapidly all over the nation.
Starting Points for Further Research
Railroad History
http://tigger.uic.edu/~rjensen/railroad.htm
133
Mail Systems
1. In the nineteenth century, migrating westward meant leaving many aspects of civilization
behind, but people still needed to be able to send and receive mail.
a. Some mail was delivered to California by boats that made the trip around South America
from the East Coast.
b. Stagecoaches, though independently owned, were often paid by the government to handle
the mail on regular schedules.
c. The government even improved the roads that were used for this purpose and sometimes
posted troops to guard the mail-bearing coaches.
d. The first government contract with an independent stagecoach was in 1858.
2. By 1860 a company called the Pony Express had formed to take on mail delivery in the West.
a. For a little over a year, the Pony Express riders delivered mail in an area spanning
between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.
b. The company hired young riders to do the job. Each rider changed horses every ten or
fifteen miles at the 190 stations the service established. After about seventy-five miles a
new rider took over.
c. Many of the two hundred riders employed by the Pony Express were teenagers, and the
company gave them Bibles and made them promise not to drink or swear.
d. The first run of the Pony Express in April 1860 proved successful, reaching California in
only ten days. The service operated once a week at first, then twice weekly.
e. In November 1860 the riders carried a telegraph report of the election of Abraham
Lincoln (1809–1865) to the presidency from Fort Kearny, Nebraska, to Fort Churchill,
Nevada, in six days, their fastest ride yet.
f. But in 1861 the company folded as the first transcontinental telegraph line reached San
Francisco.
g. The railroads soon took over the mail delivery.
Starting Points for Further Research
Pony Express
http://www.ponyexpress.org/history.htm
History of the US Postal Service
http://www.usps.com/history/his2.htm
Stagecoach
http://www.linecamp.com/museums/americanwest/index_americanwest_museums.html
134
Homestead Act
1. During the 1830s and 1840s, the notion of free land for settlers attracted powerful support
from labor organizations around the country.
2. People like Horace Greeley (1811–1872), the editor of the powerful New York Tribune,
campaigned for the distribution of homestead parcels to anyone who wanted them.
3. For decades, though, a political coalition of Easterners and Southerners managed to block a
free land policy. Southerners suspected that antislavery settlers would populate the territories.
4. The conservative Easterners who allied themselves with the slaveholding Southerners on this
issue were generally opposed to westward migration.
5. After years of conflict, in 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Law.
6. Under the provisions of the bill, a settler twenty-one years of age or older who was, or
intended to become, a citizen and who acted as the head of a household could acquire a tract
of 160 acres of surveyed public land free of all but minor registration payments. Title to that
land went to the settler after five years of continuous residence. The act immediately drew
people from all over the world to the interior of the United States.
Starting Points for Further Research
Homestead Act
http://www.nps.gov/archive/home/homestead_act.html
Homestead Act of 1862
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/five/homestd.htm
135
The Dust Bowl and the Okie Migration
1. In April 1934, in the midst of a severe drought, a dust storm hit the Great Plains, affecting a
300,000-square-mile area that included Kansas, Texas, western Oklahoma, eastern Colorado,
and New Mexico.
a. Since farmers had long been grazing livestock on the plains, there was little grass left and
no root systems to hold down the dry soil.
b. The winds picked up massive clouds of dust.
c. The next month, after a long spell of unusually high temperatures, a second windstorm hit
the same area. It is estimated that these two dust storms alone blew 650 million tons of
topsoil off the involved area of the Great Plains, which came to be known as the Dust
Bowl.
2. The tenant farmers and small farm-owners of the Dust Bowl who watched these storms wipe
out their livelihoods were often called "Okies."
a. With their crops gone, they could not afford to pay their mortgages (home or farm loans)
and it wasn't long before the banks foreclosed (took their property away). Most Okies
packed up their trucks and headed west.
b. A total of 2.5 million people left the Great Plains states in the 1930s. Most moved to
neighboring states, but some 460,000 people moved to the Pacific Northwest, where they
found jobs in lumbering or building the Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams.
c. More than 300,000 more moved to California.
3. Most of the Dust Bowl refugees quickly discovered that California's large-scale agribusiness
(corporations whose business is farming) left no room for a family farm.
4. Many settled in California's major cities, but they received little welcome there.
5. Los Angeles authorities were already busy shipping Mexican Americans back to Mexico, and
they balked at the prospect of yet another burden on their charity rolls.
a. About 110,000 Okies joined California's population of migrant farm workers, mainly
working as pickers in the fruit and produce farms in the San Joaquin Valley.
b. Many farmers had chosen to migrate to the valley because the agribusiness managers had
sent out leaflets to lure them there.
c. The large, corporate farms wanted temporary labor—usually called migrant labor—and
the Okies soon made up almost half of California's farm labor.
d. Working as families, they traveled up and down the state, from the southern Imperial
Valley to the northern Sacramento Valley.
e. They lived in squalid shacks in communities called ditch camps, located on the sides of
the road where water ditches ran.
f. Hardly fit for human habitation, ditch camps were filthy and disease-ridden.
g. Wages were too low to get these families out of poverty.
i.
h. In 1936 the federal government created twelve new camps in the San Joaquin Valley for
the migrant farm workers.
iThey had modern sanitation and recreation facilities and the metal shelters were rented as
homes to many needy people for the cost of a penny a day.
Unfortunately, many could not get in. The plight of these Okies was made famous by Nobel
Prize-winning author John Steinbeck (1902–1968) in his 1939 novel Grapes of Wrath.
Starting Points for Further Research
136
The Dust Bowl
http://www.usd.edu/anth/epa/dust.html
Surviving the Dust Bowl
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/
Voices of the Dust Bowl
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/afctshtml/tshome.html
137
1000 Year North American Immigration Timeline: 1000 to 2002
1000 Norse explorer Leif Eriksson sets out from Greenland and apparently sails to Vinland, in
present-day Newfoundland, Canada.
1492 Navigator Christopher Columbus arrives in the Caribbean while searching for a route to
Asia on an expedition for the kingdom of Spain. He returns to Hispaniola (the island which today
is home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic) with settlers the following year.
1565 Spanish explorers and settlers establish Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest permanent
European settlement in the United States.
1607
The Jamestown settlers from England arrive in Virginia and establish a colony.
1618–1725 From five to seven thousand Huguenots flee the persecution in France and sail to
America to settle in the British colonies.
1619 A Dutch warship brings twenty African slaves to Jamestown, Virginia, the first Africans
to arrive in the British colonies.
1620 The Pilgrims and other British colonists aboard the Mayflower land in Plymouth Harbor
to found a new British colony.
1624 The first wave of Dutch immigrants to New Netherlands arrives in what is now New
York. Most settle at Fort Orange, where the city of Albany now stands.
1630–40 In the Great Migration from England to New England, about twenty thousand men,
women, and children, many of them Puritans, migrate.
1718 The vast territory of Louisiana becomes a province of France; the European population of
the colony numbers about four hundred.
1769 Two Spanish expeditions—one by land and one by sea—leave Mexico to colonize Alta
California, the present-day state of California.
1790 Congress passes an act providing that "free white persons" who have lived in the United
States for at least two years can be naturalized (become citizens) in any U.S. court. Along with
non-white males, this also excludes indentured servants, slaves, children, and most women, all of
whom are considered dependents.
1803 The United States buys Louisiana Territory from France in the Louisiana Purchase. The
purchase more than doubles the size of the United States, adding to it what are now the states of
Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and North and
South Dakota, as well as a large part of Wyoming, most of Colorado, and parts of New Mexico
and Texas.
1804 Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on their overland trip across the continent to
the Pacific Ocean, forging a path never before explored by European Americans.
138
1808 Congress prohibits the importation of slaves into the United States, but the slave trade
continues until the end of the American Civil War in 1865.
1815–45
About one million Irish Catholics immigrate to the United States.
1825 A group of Norwegians immigrate to the United States, eventually settling in Illinois,
where they begin the Fox River settlement. This serves as the base camp for future Norwegian
immigrants to the United States.
1830s Many tribes from the Northeast and Southeast are forcibly moved to Indian Territory
(present-day Oklahoma and Kansas). Southern tribes to be removed include the Cherokee,
Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole, and others. In the North, the Delaware, Miami, Ottawa,
Peoria, Potawatomi, Sauk and Fox, Seneca, and Wyandot tribes are removed. The government is
not prepared to provide supplies for so many Indians along the trails and in new homes, causing
great suffering and death for the Native Americans.
1830s
The mass migration of Germans to the United States begins.
1836 The Mexican province of Texas declares its independence from Mexico. Texas will
become a state in 1845.
1836–60 The Jewish population of the United States grows from fewer than 15,000 to about
160,000. Most of the Jewish immigrants during this period are from Germany.
1841
The first wagon trains cross the continent on the Oregon Trail.
1845 The potato crop in Ireland is hit with a mysterious disease, beginning the Irish potato
famine. By the winter of 1847, tens of thousands of people are dying of starvation or related
diseases. An estimated one to one and a half million Irish Catholics leave Ireland for the United
States over the next few years.
1848 After the Mexican-American War, the United States acquires the Mexican provinces of
New Mexico, Arizona, California, and parts of Nevada, Colorado, and Utah. Between 80,000 and
100,000 Mexicans suddenly find themselves living in the United States. Those who choose to
stay in their homes automatically become citizens of the United States.
1848 Gold is discovered in the foothills of northern California's Sierra Nevada Mountains. In
the next few years, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the United States and around
the world migrate to California hoping to strike it rich.
1848–1914
Hungary.
An estimated 400,000 Czechs immigrate to the United States from Austria-
1850s Anti-immigrant associations, such as the American Party (also known as the KnowNothing Party), the Order of United Americans, and the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, are
on the rise. Their primary targets are Catholics, primarily Irish Americans and German
Americans.
1851–1929
More than 1.2 million Swedish immigrants enter the United States.
139
1855 Castle Island, operated by the State of New York, becomes the first central immigrantprocessing center in the United States.
1862 Congress passes the Homestead Act to encourage people to settle west of the Mississippi
River. Under this act, a person can gain ownership of 160 acres simply by living on the land and
cultivating it for five years.
1864–69 Thousands of Chinese laborers work on the first transcontinental railroad in the
United States, cutting a path through treacherous mountains.
1866–1914
More than 600,000 Norwegians immigrate to the United States.
1867–1914
About 1.8 million Hungarians immigrate to the United States.
1868 The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution provides citizenship rights to African
Americans.
1869
The first transcontinental railroad in the United States is completed.
1870
The Fifteenth Amendment gives African American citizens the right to vote.
1870 Polish serfs are given their freedom and begin to emigrate. Up to two million Poles will
immigrate to the United States between 1870 and 1914.
1870–1920
About 340,000 Finns immigrate to the United States.
1880–1920
shores.
About 35 million people, mainly from southern and eastern Europe, arrive on U.S.
1880–1920 About 4 million people leave Italy for the United States, making Italians the single
largest European national group of this era of mass migration to move to America.
1880–1924 About 95,000 Arabs immigrate to the United States, most from the area known as
Greater Syria—present day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel.
1881–1914
About 2 million Eastern European Jews arrive in the United States.
1882 The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibits the naturalization of Chinese immigrants for ten
years and prohibits Chinese laborers from entering the country. For the Chinese already in the
country, it denies hope of gaining citizenship and for many Chinese men it meant that their wives
or families would not be able to join them. The act, the first major restriction on immigration in
the United States, is extended twice and becomes permanent in 1902.
1885–1924
About 200,000 Japanese people immigrate to Hawaii.
1890 The Superintendent of the United States Census issues a statement that the American
frontier has closed—that is, it has become populated and is therefore no longer a frontier.
1891 The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is created as the department that
administers federal laws relating to admitting, excluding, or deporting aliens and to naturalizing
the foreign-born who are in the United States legally. It remains in operation until 2003.
140
1892 The federal government takes over the process of screening incoming immigrants at the
Port of New York and creates an immigration reception center at Ellis Island, one mile southwest
of Manhattan. Before it closes in 1954, more than 16 million immigrants will pass through Ellis
Island.
1900
In this one year, one-tenth of Denmark's total population immigrates to the United States.
1907 The Dillingham Commission, set up by Congress to investigate immigration, produces a
forty-two-volume report. The commission claims that its studies show that people from southern
and eastern Europe have a higher potential for criminal activity, are more likely to end up poor
and sick, and are less intelligent than other Americans. The report warns that the waves of
immigration threaten the "American" way of life.
1907 As anti-Asian immigrant sentiment rises in the United States, Congress works out the
"Gentlemen's Agreement" with Japan, in which the United States agrees not to ban all Japanese
immigration as long as Japan promises not to issue passports to Japanese laborers for travel to the
continental United States.
1910 To enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act, an immigration station is built at Angel Island in
the San Francisco Bay. Any Chinese people arriving in San Francisco go through an initial
inspection upon arrival; many are then sent to Angel Island for further processing and thousands
are held there for long periods of time.
1910–1920 Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 African Americans migrate from the southern
United States to the cities of the North.
1913 California passes the Alien Land Laws, which prohibit Chinese and Japanese people from
owning land in the state.
1917 Congress creates the "Asiatic barred zone," which excludes immigration from most of
Asia, including China, India, and Japan, regardless of literacy.
1920s–30s More than 40,000 Russians come to the United States in the first few years after the
Russian Revolution of 1917. Many Russians go into exile in other European cities. In the 1930s,
those in exile in Europe begin fleeing the rising Nazi movement. More than a million people who
had been born in Russia but were living elsewhere in Europe immigrate to the United States in
the 1930s.
1921 Congress passes the Emergency Quota Act, which stipulates that each nation has an
annual quota (proportion) of immigrants it may send to the United States, which is equal to 3
percent of that country's total population in the United States in 1910. Because the majority of the
U.S. population was from northwestern Europe in 1910, this method favors northwestern
Europeans over other immigrants.
1924 Congress passes the National Origins Act, which restricts the number of immigrants even
beyond the Emergency Quota Act of 1921. Under the new act, immigration is decreased to a total
equaling 2 percent of the population in 1890. Under this act, each country may only send 2
percent of its 1890 population in the United States per year. The new act skews the permitted
immigration even further in favor of Western Europe, with the United Kingdom, Germany, and
141
Ireland receiving more than two-thirds of the annual maximum quota. This legislation ends the
era of mass migrations to the United States.
1924 The Oriental Exclusion Act prohibits most Asian immigration, including the wives and
children of U.S. citizens of Chinese ancestry.
1924 Congress creates the Border Patrol, a uniformed law enforcement agency of the
Immigration Bureau in charge of fighting smuggling and illegal immigration.
1925 One out of every four Greek men between the ages of fifteen and forty-five have
immigrated to the United States.
1934 The Tydings-McDuffie Act sets the date and some of the terms of independence for the
Philippines on July 4, 1946. Since the United States had acquired the Philippines from Spain in
1898, Filipinos had entered the United States as nationals (people who live in a country legally,
are loyal to the country and protected by it, but are not citizens). The act takes away status of
Filipinos as U.S. nationals, reclassifying them as aliens, and restricts Filipino immigration by
establishing an annual immigration quota of 50.
1942 The United States, heavily involved in World War II, needs laborers at home and turns to
Mexico. The U.S. and Mexican governments reach an agreement called the Mexican Farm Labor
Supply Program, or the bracero program. The program permits Mexicans to enter the country to
work under contract as farm and railroad laborers. The program continues for twenty-two years
and brings 4.8 million Mexicans to work on U.S. farms and in businesses.
1942 During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066,
which dictates the removal and internment of Japanese Americans. More than 112,000 Japanese
Americans living along the Pacific coast are taken from their homes and placed in ten internment
camps for the duration of the war.
1943 Congress repeals the Chinese exclusion acts. Immigration from China resumes. Most of
the new immigrants are females, the wives of Chinese men who have been in the United States
for decades.
1945 As World War II ends, more than 40,000 refugees from Europe flee to the United States.
Because the quota system does not provide for them, they are admitted under presidential
directive.
1945 The War Brides Act allows foreign-born spouses and adopted children of personnel of the
U.S. armed forces to enter the United States. The act brings in many Japanese, Chinese, and
Korean women, among other groups.
1948 The first U.S. refugee policy, the Displaced Persons Act, enables nearly 410,000
European refugees to enter the United States after World War II.
1950 The Internal Security Act forces all communists to register with the government and
denies admission to any foreigner who is a communist or who might engage in subversive
activities.
1952 Congress overrides President Harry S Truman's veto of the Immigration and Nationality
Act, which upholds the quota system set in 1921–24 but removes race as a bar to immigration and
142
naturalization and removes discrimination between sexes. The act gives preference to immigrants
with special skills needed in the United States, provides for more rigorous screening of
immigrants in order to eliminate people considered to be subversive (particularly communists and
homosexuals), and allows broader grounds for the deportation of criminal aliens.
1954 As jobs in the United States become harder to find, Mexican workers are viewed as
unwanted competition by many. Under Operation Wetback, a special government force locates
undocumented workers and forces them to return to Mexico. In one year alone, about one million
people of Mexican descent are deported.
1959 The Cuban Revolution initiates a mass migration from Cuba to the United States—more
than one million Cubans will immigrate after this year.
1960–80
781,894.
The Filipino population in the United States more than quadruples, from 176,130 to
1960s Between 4 and 5 million African Americans have migrated from the South to the North
since the turn of the century.
1965 In a new spirit of immigration reform, Congress repeals the national-origins quotas and
gives each Eastern Hemisphere nation an annual quota of 20,000, excluding immediate family
members of U.S. citizens. The Eastern Hemisphere receives 170,000 places for immigrants and
the Western Hemisphere 120,000. (In 1978, Congress creates a worldwide immigration system by
combining the two hemispheres.)
1966–80 About 14,000 Dominicans per year enter the United States, most seeking employment
they cannot find at home.
1972–81 Sailboats carrying Haitians begin to arrive on the shores of Florida. More than 55,000
Haitian "boat people"—and perhaps more than 100,000—arrive in this wave.
1975 Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital, falls to the communist North on April 30; at least
65,000 South Vietnamese immediately flee the country.
1975–81
About 123,600 Laotian refugees enter the United States.
1979 In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the Orderly Departure Program (ODP) is
established to provide a safe alternative for Vietnamese people who are fleeing the country in
large numbers, often risking their lives in overcrowded old boats. Under the ODP, refugees are
allowed to leave Vietnam directly for resettlement in one of two dozen countries, including the
United States. There are about 165,000 admissions to the United States under the ODP by 1989,
and new arrivals continue into the 1990s.
1980
More than 125,000 Cubans flee to the United States during the Mariel Boat Lift.
1980–86
1981–2000
Tens of thousands of Cambodian refugees enter the United States annually.
The United States accepts 531,310 Vietnamese refugees.
1986 The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) provides amnesty (pardon to a group
of people) to more than 3 million undocumented immigrants who had entered the United States
143
before 1982, allowing them to become legal residents. The measure outlaws the knowing
employment of undocumented immigrants and makes it more difficult for undocumented
immigrants to receive public assistance.
1988 Congress passes the Amerasian Homecoming Act, which brings thousands of children—
most are the offspring of American servicemen and Asian mothers—to the United States.
1991–93 Some 43,000 Haitians try to reach the United States by boat. Many of their boats are
intercepted by U.S. officials and those emigrants are taken to Guantánamo Bay, a U.S. naval base
in Cuba.
1994 In an effort to stop undocumented workers from illegally crossing the border, the
government adopts Operation Gatekeeper, an extensive border patrol system at Imperial Beach at
the border between Mexico and southern California. The number of border agents is increased
and new hi-tech equipment is put to use, costing billions of dollars over the next few years. Illegal
immigration moves further inland where the climate is more severe, proving to be deadly in some
cases.
1994 The United States enters a Wet Feet–Dry Feet agreement with Cuba under which, if
fleeing Cubans trying to reach the United States are caught at sea, U.S. authorities will send them
back to Cuba. If the Cubans make it to U.S. shores, they will be admitted to the country.
1996 Congress passes the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
(IIRIRA). The IIRIRA creates a huge increase in funding for border patrol personnel and
equipment. This act creates harsher penalties for illegal immigration, restricts welfare benefits to
recent immigrants, and makes the deportation process easier for U.S. administrators. The IIRIRA
also tries to make it harder for foreign terrorists to enter the United States.
1996 The bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building at the hands of a terrorist (a U.S. citizen)
in 1995 raises new fears about terrorism. The Anti-terrorism Act is passed, making deportation
automatic if an immigrant commits a deportable felony (a grave crime), even if the immigrant has
been in the United States since early childhood. By 2003, 500,000 people had been deported
under the terms of this act.
1997 The Border Patrol initiates Operation Rio Grande, strengthening the Texas-Mexico
border with more agents to deter people from crossing.
1998 California passes Proposition 227, a referendum that bans bilingual classroom education
and English as a second language (ESL) program, replacing them with a one-year intensive
English immersion program.
2000 The Immigration and Naturalization Service estimates the number of undocumented
immigrants in the country at about 7 million, up from the estimate of 5.8 million in 1996. About
70 percent of the undocumented immigrants are from Mexico.
2001 Congress passes the USA PATRIOT Act ("Uniting and Strengthening America by
Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism"). The bill calls for
increased border patrol and tightened provisions for screening and restricting immigrants. It
grants sweeping new powers to federal police agencies and permits indefinite detention of
immigrants and aliens in the country for minor immigration status violations.
144
2001 Within weeks of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.,
approximately 1,200 immigrants are arrested by federal government agents as part of an antiterrorist campaign. Most are from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. Many are held without
charges and without access to attorneys or their families. Many are deported. None are charged
with terrorism.
2002 The Homeland Security Department requires the annual registration of temporary male
immigrants from twenty-four predominantly Arab or Muslim countries as well as North Korea.
People from the following countries are required to register: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain,
Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia,
Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. The following year, five more
countries are added to the list: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, and Kuwait. Of the 83,519
people who register with immigration officials in 2002, 13,799 are put in deportation
proceedings. Others complain of terrifying or humiliating interrogations and harsh conditions.
Immigrant and civil liberties groups protest the policy.
145
State, County, and City Histories
Depending upon your need, you will probably find value in understanding the historical times and
seasons of your ancestors. The following is an example of the state history that is found on-line.
Example of State History
Virginia History
http://www.shgresources.com/va/history/
When Spanish explorers entered the Virginia region in 1570, several Indian tribes inhabited the
area. Missionaries built a settlement along the York River, but were killed only a few months
later. English explorers also arrived in the late 1580s, but their expedition failed due to lack of
supplies.
Colonization
The history of America is closely tied to that of Virginia, particularly during the Colonial period.
After the failure of several attempts by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh to plant a
settlement in Virginia and after Gilbert's death, Raleigh in 1606 transferred his interests to the
Virginia Company of London. The first settlers, 144 in number, left England in December of that
year in the "Susan Constant," the "Godspeed," and the "Discovery" and arrived at Jamestown on
May 13, 1607. The colony was kept alive during the first years mainly through the efforts of
Capt. John Smith, who secured food, made peace with the Indians, explored the country, wrote
the first published book on Virginia (A True Relation, London, 1608), and drew a map of
Virginia remarkable for its accuracy. After Smith left in 1609 the colonists experienced a year of
great suffering-the "starving time."
Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in North America which
was reorganized and almost absolute control over the colony was placed in the hands of the
governor. The first governor was Sir Thomas West, Lord De la Warr, whose arrival in 1610 saved
the colony from being abandoned as a hopeless venture. Attempts to set up industries such as
glassmaking, shipbuilding, and the production of naval stores failed. In 1622 there occurred an
Indian massacre, followed by a siege of the plague.
Yet the colony survived. Settlements spread beyond Jamestown. A head right system was
established for land. The New World's first English women and Africans came to Jamestown in
1619, the year and place where the Western Hemisphere's first representative legislature met.
Virginia was the largest, most populous and prosperous of the original 13 colonies.
Royal Rule
In 1624 the English government revoked the charter of the Virginia Company and organized in
Virginia its first royal colony. During the century and a half that followed, the two outstanding
factors in the colony's history were the northern and western expansion of the population and a
growing political maturity that produced a strong representative lower house in the Assembly, an
able group of leaders, and a spirit of independence.
The first serious attempts to explore the Trans-Allegheny region were made during Sir William
Berkeley's administrations (1641-52; 1660-77). The Indian massacre of 1644, in which at least
500 colonists perished, delayed exploration, but trading routes soon led from the sites of
Richmond and Petersburg to the Indians in the southwest.
146
Virginians remained loyal to Charles I during his struggle with Parliament, but in 1652
parliamentary commissioners with an overwhelming force assumed control of the colony. During
the eight years of rule by Parliament, life in Virginia changed but little.
Berkeley's second administration was marked by difficulties: the establishment of proprietorships
in Virginia, human and cattle plagues, wars, hurricanes, oppressive trade laws, threats from the
Indians, who resented English encroachment, and, among the people, widespread discontent and
growing distrust of those who governed the colony.
The climax came when the Indians, made desperate by English encroachment, began to war on
the colonists. When in 1676 the people found Berkeley unable or, as they believed, unwilling to
protect them, they chose young Nathaniel Bacon as their leader, compelled the governor to give
him a commission, followed him against the Indians, and forced reforms through the assembly.
When the governor threatened to use military force against them, Bacon and his men defied him.
On the death of Bacon, however, Berkeley soon ended the struggle with a series of hangings that
shocked the home government and brought his recall. From the end of Bacon's rebellion to the
revolution of 1688 in England, Englishmen in Virginia, like their kinsmen in England, struggled
to lessen the royal prerogative represented in the colony by a succession of autocratic governors.
During the remainder of the colonial period, Virginia generally had able and conscientious
governors. But conflicts inevitably arose when the mother country failed to realize the growing
independence of the colony and refused, in such matters as the use of veto, trade regulations, and
taxation, to keep the promise of early charters that Virginians would "enjoy all liberties,
franchises and immunities…to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and borne
within this our realm of England...".
Presbyterians gained a strong foothold in Virginia during the 1730s and 1740s and organized
Hanover presbytery, and in the 1750s the Separate Baptists from New England entered the
colony. Both denominations increased rapidly.
During the quarter-century before the Revolution, as Virginia grew in strength and political
maturity, its House of Burgesses became increasingly active in opposing the royal prerogative in
matters as the veto of the colony's laws, the Proclamation of 1763 restricting westward expansion,
and taxes imposed by Parliament. Before 1776 leaders such as Richard Bland and Jefferson were
formulating the constitutional and ethical bases for revolt, Patrick Henry was becoming an orator,
and Washington was acquiring military and political experience.
Virginia in 1763 had an estimated total population of 121,022, almost evenly divided between
whites and slaves. The population was increasing rapidly. The great planters were building
substantial homes; the homes of lesser farmers were neat and well built.
Revolutionary Period
Virginians took the lead in the constitutional crises preceding the Revolutionary War. They
passed the Stamp Act resolutions of 1765; started in 1769 the boycott of British goods in order to
cause the repeal of the Townshend Acts; revived in 1773 the Committee of Correspondence of
1759 and brought about an intercolonial committee; called the first Continental Congress in 1774
and furnished its president, Peyton Randolph; set up a Revolutionary Committee of Safety and
armed for defense in 1775; called on Congress on May 15, 1776, to declare independence;
furnished the author, Thomas Jefferson, of the Declaration of Independence; and provided the
leader of the Revolutionary Army, George Washington. The May 1776 convention, in addition to
proposing that Congress declare independence, form a union, and make foreign alliances, also set
147
up a commonwealth and chose Patrick Henry as its first governor. Meanwhile, in 1775, Gov.
John Dunmore, fearful of the volunteer riflemen gathering in Williamsburg, had fled to the safety
of the British fleet. On November 7 he declared martial law and waged war against Virginia until
forced to leave the following July.
In 1778 George Rogers Clark led an army of Virginia and Kentucky riflemen in the conquest of
the Northwest Territory; his campaign ended the Indian menace At Yorktown on Oct. 19, 1781,
British forces under General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the combined French and
American forces serving under the command of General George Washington.
Virginia moved its capital from Williamsburg to Richmond in 1780. Previously, it had set up 19
counties in the west (1776-82), abolished its African slave trade (1778), and reformed its code of
laws (1779). The British captured Portsmouth (q.v.) in October 1780. In January 1781 Benedict
Arnold took Richmond and set up headquarters at Portsmouth. Cornwallis brought his army into
Virginia from the south that spring, and Jefferson, governor of the state, with inadequate forces,
was unable to stop him. Cornwallis, after marching through Richmond, Williamsburg (near
which, at Green Spring, he was attacked by Lafayette), and Portsmouth, came to Yorktown and
fortified the place. There, trapped by the American and French armies under Washington and
Rochambeau and by French naval forces under the Comte de Grasse, he was forced to surrender
on Oct. 19, 1781. This practically ended the war.
Post-Revolutionary Period
For almost half a century after the Revolution, Virginia, impoverished by two wars and finding its
soil depleted as a result of tobacco growing, suffered economically, and Virginians migrated to
the west, northwest, and southwest. But the foundations for future progress were being laid.
Virginia began an efficient system of chartered banks in 1804. The state undertook, or aided in
the building of roads, canals, and railroads, and Virginians began direct trade with Europe and
South America. By 1860 Virginia was the leading manufacturing state in the South. A state
university and several colleges had been founded before 1850, public schools were being
established by local option in 1846, and numerous private schools were flourishing. The
constitution of 1851 provided white manhood suffrage, popular election of many officials
(including the governor), and ended sectional inequalities in representation.
Slavery, however, remained an unsolved evil. In January 1832, after Nat Turner's slave
insurrection in Southampton the previous year, the Virginia Assembly tried in vain to find a
solution; and Abolitionists' indiscriminate abuse almost silenced native reformers.
Civil War and Reconstruction
In 1861 Virginia seceded from the Union. Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy, and
Virginia was a battleground throughout the war that followed. In 1863 the state lost one-third of
its territory to form West Virginia.
More major battles of the American Civil War were fought in Virginia from 1861 through 1865
than in any other state. Today, one-third of America's most important Civil War battlefields are in
Virginia, and most are open to the public. In 1867 Congress placed the South under military rule,
Virginia being Military District No. 1, with Gen. John M. Schofield in command.
Under the Reconstruction acts most Virginians with any experience in government were
disfranchised. A constitutional convention drew up a new constitution, which included articles
that would have excluded thousands of whites from voting and disqualified almost every native
148
white citizen from holding office. A committee of nine citizens headed by Alexander H. H.
Stuart, however, secured permission from the federal authorities to vote separately on these
articles and they were rejected by the voters. The remainder of the constitution, including
manhood suffrage, was adopted ( 1869), and Congress readmitted the state to the Union on Jan.
26, 1870.
Virginia escaped much of the punishment that Reconstruction inflicted on other states, but it had
lost thousands of its young men and had been devastated by invading armies, its banks, had been
closed, its labor force demoralized, and its territory occupied by its former enemy.
The Democratic Party was revived in 1883. Virginia adopted a new constitution in 1902.
20th Century
In 1926 Harry F. Byrd became governor of Virginia and within four years had revolutionized the
governmental machinery. During the first 60 days of his administration, the General Assembly
instituted a remarkable group of reforms through statutes or constitutional amendment. The years
after World War I found the state's prosperity increasing as agriculture was diversified,
manufacturing grew in importance in the economy, and the tourist business became a major
enterprise.
The depression of the 1930s was less severe in Virginia than in many other states. Employment
continued at a high rate after the war, with continued growth in the nonagricultural sector,
including government. and agricultural production became more diversified.
The 1969 state elections resulted in Linwood Holton being elected the first Republican governor
since Reconstruction.
America's first seven astronauts trained at NASA Langley Air Force Base in Hampton.
Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech, is renowned as one of the world's first electronic villages.
Newport News is the site of the nation's most powerful continuous electron beam accelerator,
located at the Thomas Jefferson National Acceleration Facility.
Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first test tube baby born in the U.S., was delivered Dec. 28, 1981, at
Norfolk General Hospital.
Recently, pollution has become a problem in the Chesapeake Bay. State leaders area striving to
protect the water and wildlife of the bay. Virginia continues to maintain a strong diversified
economy. Industrial growth has expanded into many areas such as chemical, clothing, and
computers.
Eight states were also formed in whole or in part from Virginia, including Wisconsin, Michigan,
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The state is called the
“Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. Presidents were born there. Virginia has produced
more U.S. presidents than any other state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James
Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow
Wilson.
149
Commonwealth
You will often hear Virginia called the Commonwealth of Virginia. This doesn't mean Virginia
has a different form of government than any other state." Commonwealth" is defined by
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary as a political unit or government
(1) "founded on law and united by compactor tacit agreement of the people for the common
good," or
(2) "one in which supreme authority is vested in the people."
Using these definitions, it could be said that all 50 states, as well as our national government, are
common-wealth's. Besides Virginia, three other states - Kentucky, Massachusetts and
Pennsylvania - use the term common-wealth as part of their official names.
The first use of commonwealth in Virginia was early in its history. One reason given by Governor
George Yeardley for authorizing the first General Assembly meeting at James-town in 1619 was
"for the better establishing of a commonwealth here." From 1649 to 1660, England and Virginia
did not have a king. Instead, the Puritans ruled under a Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. The
government was called the Commonwealth of England. This commonwealth ended when King
Charles II reclaimed the throne in 1660.
In Colonial times, Virginia was officially known as the Colony and Dominion of Virginia. When
the 13 colonies broke ties with the British Crown during the Revolution, the old name was no
longer suitable. The delegates to the convention in Williamsburg, when the first Constitution of
Virginia was adopted on June 29, 1776, used common-wealth as the name for the new form of
government. It is very likely they had in mind the Puritans' rebellion against the Crown in
England more than 100 years earlier. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also chose to be called
commonwealths after independence from Great Britain. The other 10 former colonies took the
name "state," the term used in the Declaration of Independence. Kentucky was once part of
Virginia. When Kentuckians joined the Union as the 15th state in 1792, it kept the name
commonwealth.
There are several other uses of the word "commonwealth" in the world today The Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico is not a state, but a territory. In this case, commonwealth refers to the free
association with the United States chosen by the Puerto Rican people. The Commonwealth of
Nations is a voluntary association of Great Britain and about 50 countries that were once part of
the British Empire. Some of these nations, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the
Bahamas, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, still recognize the British monarch as their
official head of state. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia and other former Soviet
republics formed the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance set up to handle
certain matters of mutual interest among these newly independent countries.
Starting Points for Further Research
Starting points for learning more about state history and immigration.
SHG Resources: State History, 50 States
By state, histories, timelines, etc.
http://www.shgresources.com/resources/history/
150
The following recommendations were provided by genealogists in various states to assist others
in their search. If you have recommendations to add to this list, please send them to Barry J.
Ewell at [email protected] :
A Few Additional Resources by State
Alabama
Alaska
• Alaska Genealogy Guide. Alaska State Library. Alaska Historical Collections.
http://library.state.ak.us/pub/online/akgene.html
•
Alaska Newspapers on Microfilm, 1866-1998.
Alaska State Library. Alaska Historical Collections.
http://library.state.ak.us/hist/newspaper/newspaper.html
•
How to Find Your Gold Rush Relative: Sources on the Klondike and Alaska
Gold Rushes, 1896-1914. Alaska State Library. Alaska Historical Collections.
http://library.state.ak.us/hist/parham.html
•
Parham, R Bruce, David A. Hales, and Connie M. Bradbury. “So You Want to Find your
Relative who Went to the Klondike and Alaska Gold Rushes: A Selective Listing of
Available Sources.” Utah Genealogical Association Genealogical Journal, v. 29, no. 4
(2001): 147-167.
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
• Georgia Historical Quarterly articles
"Migration of Georgians to Texas, 1821-1870" (v. 20, no. 4).
"An Isochronic Map of Georgia Settlement, 1750-1850" (v. 35, no. 3).
Georgia Encyclopedia website
www.georgiaencyclopedia.org
151
Hawaii
"Keepers of the Culture"
http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/hi/koc.htm
Idaho
Indiana
Indiana Historical Society: Hoosier Genealogist articles below
• Peter T. Harstad and M. Teresa Baer, “Family Stories from an Iowa Farm Illuminate the
Legacy of Early Scandinavian Hoosiers,” THG 40 (Dec. 2000): 194–99.
•
Kenneth G. Aitken, “In Search of the American Pioneers of the Last, Best West: An
Introduction to Immigration Records of Americans on the Canadian Prairies, 1908–18,”
THG 41 (June 2001): 70–77.
•
Thomas Worth, “Why They Emigrate,” cartoon, THG (Sept. 2001): 191.
•
Dan Carpenter, “Inclusion and Exclusion: Indiana’s Ethnic Chinese Community,” THG
41 (Dec. 2001): 206–15.
•
M. Teresa Baer and Leigh Darbee, “Perry County’s Indiana Cotton Mills, 1850 to 1954,”
THG 42 (Spring 2002): 43–45; THG 42 (Summer 2002): 109–110; THG 42 (Fall 2002):
174–75.
•
Randy K. Mills, “Dramatize Your Family Stories by Placing Them in Historical
Contexts,” THG 42 (Spring 2002): 4–12.
•
John Sugden, “Tracking Tecumseh’s Descendents,” THG 42 (Winter 2002): 206–16).
•
Leigh Darbee, “The Indian Removal Policy: Land Cleared by Treaties in Indiana,” THG
43 (Spring 2003): 67–68.
•
Randy Bixby, “Indiana Emigrants: Hoosiers in the 1850 Federal Census of Columbia
County, Wisconsin,” introduction, THG 44 (Summer 2004): 121–23.
•
Richard L. Bland, “Traugott Bromme’s Travel Account of Indiana in 1848,” THG 44
(Fall 2004): 138–43.
•
Donald H. Ebbeler and Gisela Dirac-Wahrenburg, “Emigrants from Altenplathow,
Province of Saxony, Dodge Revolution, Disease, and Shipwreck to Come to Lafayette,”
THG 44 (Fall 2004): 195–99.
•
Mary Blair Immel, “Boone County’s ‘Kansas Colony,’” THG 45 (Spring 2005): 2–11.
•
Donald H. Ebbeler and Gisela Dirac-Wahrenburg, “The Wahrenburg Immigrants in
Lafayette,” THG 45 (Fall 2005): 192–99.
152
•
James W. Brown and Karen Powell, “Found: One Hoosier Gold Seeker Who ‘Was Never
Seen Again,’” THG: CONNECTIONS, vol. 46, issue 1 (2006): 46–49.
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
• Center for Louisiana Studies
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
They have a good bit of scholarship on migrations of Acadians, Canadians, and
Frenchmen and Spanish to Louisiana in their various publications.
Ask for Dr. Carl Brasseaux.
Maine
• Liberty Men and Great Proprietors by Alan Taylor.
•
Maine in the New Republic, edited by James Leamon, et. al.
•
Maine: The Pine Tree State, edited by Edwin Churchill, Joel Eastman and
Richard Judd.
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
• Michigan Migration
http://www.city-data.com/states/Michigan-Migration.html
•
Ontario - Michigan Migration
http://globalgenealogy.com/globalgazette/gazsh/gazsh-0009.htm
•
Michigan Migration Patterns
http://www.landpolicy.msu.edu/resources/2006summit/presentations/Migration%20Prese
ntation032706%20PRES.pdf
•
Migration Studies Initiative
http://www.history.msu.edu/migration.php
Minnesota
• University of Minnesota's Immigration History Research Center.
The IHRC promotes research on migration with a special emphasis on immigration to the
U.S. Contact information is at http://www.ihrc.umn.edu/
•
Bring Warm Clothes
http://archive.tpt.org/bwc/timeline/timeindex.html
153
•
Norwiegen Immigation to Minnesota
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAEnorway.htm
Mississippi
Missouri
• Missouri Historical Society Library
http://www.slrlc.org/search~S2/
Montana
Nevada
• Nevada Historical Society Quarterly
Go to the following page for the online index and search
using the term "immigration."
http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us/docs/museums/reno/nhsq/search.htm
Books Recommendations
All the books and articles should be available through interlibrary loan
which your local public or university library can assist you with.
• Nevada "100 years on the Muddy" and "Zion on the Muddy."
The Nevada Historical Society has a series of books published in the 1920's that have
excellent reference material as well.
•
Restless strangers: Nevada's immigrants and their interpreters
Author: Shepperson, Wilbur S. (Wilbur Stanley)
Reno: University of Nevada Press, c1970.
•
Moving stories: migration and the American West 1850-2000
Reno and Las Vegas: Nevada Humanities Committee
Reno and Las Vegas: Nevada Humanities Committee; distributed by
University of Nevada Press, c2001.
•
Nevada and her resources: a brief sketch of the advantages and
possibilities of the state and the opportunities and inducements offered
to capitalists and home seekers
Author: Nevada. State Bureau of Immigration
Carson City, NV: State Printing Office, 1894.
•
The peoples of Las Vegas: one city, many faces
Wilbur S. Shepperson series in Nevada history
Reno: University of Nevada Press, c2005.
•
The foreign-born response to Nevada
Shepperson, Wilbur S. (Wilbur Stanley)
154
Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1970.
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
• New Mexico Genealogical Society
http://www.nmgs.org/
•
New Mexico Historical Review
http://www.unm.edu/~nmhr
New York
The New York Section of the Migrations project:
http://www.migrations.org/county.php3?migcounty=%20NY
North Carolina
• The Great Wagon Road
http://www.waywelivednc.com/before-1770/wagon-road.htm
•
The Trading Path Association
http://www.tradingpath.org/
•
Charlotte Library
Library has put together a comprehensive history of the settlement and migrations of
North Carolina.
www.cmstory.org
•
A local historian, Dr. Tom Hanchett
Has several books out that describe the population shifts in the Carolinas following the
Civil War and into WWI.
North Dakota
The ODIN (Online Dakota Information Network)
Best place to start to identify books and other publications on the topic of immigration.
http://www.state.nd.us/hist/sal.htm
Ohio
•
Ohio Historical Society
Ohio History Magazine for articles of interest
http://publications.ohiohistory.org/ohstemplate.cfm?action=intro
Oklahoma
Oregon
155
Pennsylvania
• Pennsylvania Genealogy
http://www.rootsweb.com/~pagenweb/
South Carolina
South Dakota
• The Homestead Act of 1862
http://www.nps.gov/archive/home/homestead_act.html
•
South Dakota
http://www.sdhistory.org/arc/naturalizationarchives/firstpaperslist.asp
•
Family Tree Magazine
http://www.familytreemagazine.com/magazine.asp
Tennessee
• Humanities and Social Sciences
Look at discussion of immigration available through the scholarly discussion groups at
www.h-net.org
Texas
Utah
Vermont
•
Alice Eichholz's "Collecting Vermont Ancestors."
It is a good summary of the comings and goings of Vermonters.
•
"Immigration to Vermont, 1840-1930,"
http://www.flowofhistory.org/themes/movement_settlement/immigration.php
•
Tracing French-Canadians from Vermont Back to Quebec in the 19th Century, by
Gerald O. Lesperance, 17 March 2001, online at http://www.vt-fcgs.org/tracing.html
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
• The Cow Book
It has information on when each of the counties
• The History of Wisconsin - by R. Nesbitt • Imperia in Imperiis:Law and Railroads in Wisconsin, 1847-1910
http://www.wisbar.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Wisconsin_s_legal_history&CONTE
NTID=35840&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm
156
•
•
Migration from Valcartier to Wisconsin
http://www.pbalkcom.com/Cassin%20Pages/Wisconsin.htm
Wisconsin Historical Society
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/
157
Just in Case: Important Research Notes
and Practices for Finding Immigrant Ancestors
Learn How to Use the Web in Your Research
Research From your Desktop
Instead of you going to the library, or traveling great distances to secure records, or waiting
weeks and months to hear from correspondence, the internet has opened the possibilities and
opportunities to making research as close as your desktop. Census images are now online. One
can post a query on a message board and begin a dialog with genealogists around the world
within hours or instantly share research and photos, with a click. Information that was once only
available in print or CD is now free throughout the web.
Searching databases is just one part of the research you will do. Some sites provide
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
Historical information
Records such as census, birth, marriage and death records
Leads to books and other materials available to help with your research
Free courses to help you learn fundamental to advance research issues
Message boards where you post and view queries to genealogy questions
Find links to free online forms, guides, publications, calendar conversion tools,
translation tools, and many other useful tools that will help organize your research
g. Family trees and histories
Starting Points for Further Research
Search Engines
As the name suggests, search engines are designed to help sort through all the web sites
on the Internet to find the specific information you are seeking. They are the electronic
equivalent of a card catalogue found in a library and help you narrow your search.
Depending on your research objectives, you may want to use an engine that searches the
Internet at large, or one that focuses on genealogical sites. And no one search engine can
really hunt through the entire Internet, so it may be worthwhile to experiment with a
variety of engines and bookmark the ones that work best for you.
Cyndi's List of search engines
http://www.CyndisList.com/search.htm
April and Matt Helm's Genealogy SiteFinder! list of search engines
http://www.genealogy.com/links/c/c-computers,search-engines.html
Online Databases
Genealogy databases for use on computers are exploding in number and in coverage of
genealogy sources. Private firms and public organizations are inputting and indexing
records to make them accessible to users of personal computers. Such databases are being
made available on the Internet, by subscription, and/or on disks that you can purchase.
The LDS Family History Library
http://familysearch.org
Cyndi’s List of databases
158
http://www.cyndislist.com/database.htm
Web Links to Similar Resources
Web pages that act as a launching site to similar content across the web
National Center for Health Statistics
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm
http://www.familysearch.org/sg/
If approximately 1900 or later:
State Department of Health Services or Office of Vital Records as found in
http://www.vitalrec.com
http://www.vitalchek.com
If prior to 1900:
http://www.vitalrec.com
http://www.vitalchek.com
Cyndislist-US Index
Resources by State
http://www.cyndislist.com/usa.htm
ROOTS-L Resources: United States
Genealogical and Historical Resource Links Across the Web by State
http://www.rootsweb.com/roots-l/usa.html
Ancestors: Resources Guide
The Ancestors Resource Directory features state-by-state listings of resources that may
help your genealogy research
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/resourceguide/
US GenWeb Archives
http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/hi/history.htm
SHG Resources: State History, 50 States
By state, histories, timelines, etc.
http://www.shgresources.com/resources/history/
Access to the 50 States Web Guide
By state, link to each state’s home page and links to other key state resources
http://www.nv.gov/new_50States.htm
Google Search Recommendation: (Name of State) State Archives
(Example: Alabama State Archives)
Mailing List
One of the most useful places on the Internet isn't actually a web site, but a mailing list.
Mailing lists are a way for interested genealogists to meet each other, and as most
genealogists know, networking is one of the most effective means of speeding up your
159
research. Mailing lists allow people to exchange information via group e-mail with others
who share an interest in a particular aspect of genealogy.
User mailing lists hosted by Rootsweb
http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/
Cyndi's List of mailing lists and online newsletters
http://www.CyndisList.com/mailing.htm
The Southern Oregon PAF Users Group's (SO-PAF-UG) list of mailing lists
http://www.webtrail.com/sopafug/igs.html
Genealogy.com's list of mailing lists
http://www.genealogy.com/links/c/c-computers,mailing-lists.html
Vicki Lindsay's list of genealogy listservers, newsgroups, and special homepages
http://www.eskimo.com/~chance/lists.html
John Fuller's categorized list of mailing lists
http://members.aol.com/johnf14246/gen_mail.html
Learn to Use Google and Refine Your Skills in Internet Searches
I use Google almost daily to assist in genealogy research. Whether I am conducting a surname
search, looking for an address, seeking an answer to a question, or looking for a particular
database, Google provides accurate and relevant search results in seconds. The key to making
Google productive for your research is knowing how to use the search engine to query for results.
The following are two very good resources for providing tips and tricks for using Google in your
genealogy research.
Starting Points for Further Research
Using Google in Genealogy Searches
http://www.searchforancestors.com/archives/google.html
Googling Genealogy Style
http://genealogy.about.com/library/weekly/aa052902a.htm
Verify Your Data
We like to think that everything found on the web is accurate and true. However, you should
always verify any genealogy information found on the web, no matter where you find the
information. The best way to verify information is to locate and research the source. Many
databases include a list of sources, but sometimes you’ll come across one that doesn’t. In this
case, look at dates and the type of information and ask yourself what type of source would
provide that information.
Field Research Is Still A Required genealogy Skill
It doesn’t take long to realize there comes a point when computers reach the limit of their
capabilities in genealogy research. If someone hasn’t digitized, abstracted, or electronically
captured an image and put it on the web, put it on a CD, or sent it to you as an email attachment,
you are going to have to conduct field research, and you will need to leave the house.
160
Sometimes we need to get out and spend time in libraries and archives at the local, state and
national level.
In Search of a Name: A Few Helpful Reminders
Finding Clues in Family Naming Patterns
As you search for your ancestor, one of the clues to help identify family is when you see the same
names used again and again. Many cultures have long made it a practice to honor their elders by
naming their children after them. Just when one suggests that you can find family based on a
naming pattern, that’s when your family won’t follow the pattern. You will, however, see names
of parents and grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles repeated, but not in any strict order. While
over half of the names in a family will probably appear to be repeats, there always seems to be a
few totally different ones. A child might be named after a good friend or a popular hero of the
times.
In Western Europe, there were Four ways to Acquiring a Surname:
1. Occupation - Names which are derived from trades and occupations - mostly found in towns.
Occupational surnames are self-explanatory: Taylor (tailor) Baxter (baker) and Cooper
(barrel maker)
2. Some apparently obvious occupational names aren't what they may seem, however. A Farmer
did not work in agriculture but collected taxes, and Banker is not an occupational surname at
all, meaning "dweller on a hillside."
3. Locality – Surnames representing localities are easy to spot if they come from a specific
geographical area or part of land: Marsh, Middleton, Sidney, or Ireland, for example. The
evolution of language from other localities are less obvious: Cullen ("back of the river"), and
Dunlop ("muddy hill").
4. Nickname - Names which could refer to color or size, e.g. White, Black, Small, Little.
Nicknames are perhaps the most fascinating surnames -- but not always very flattering to
one's ancestor. Gotobed, for example, stemmed from someone who was very lazy, and
Kennedy is Gaelic for "ugly head."
As a general rule of thumb, the following naming patterns were used in the 18th & 19th Century.
(Check your individual ethnic group for variations.)
Male
•
•
•
•
•
•
First son: named for his paternal grandfather.
Second son: named for his maternal grandfather.
Third son: named after father or father's paternal grandfather.
Fourth son: named after father's oldest brother or mother's paternal grandfather.
Fifth son: named after mother's eldest brother or father's material grandfather.
Sixth son: named after father's second oldest brother or for mother's maternal grandfather.
Female
• First daughter: named for maternal grandmother.
• Second daughter: named for her paternal grandmother.
• Third daughter: named after mother or for mother's maternal grandmother.
• Fourth daughter: named after mother's oldest sister or for father's paternal grandmother.
• Fifth daughter: named after father's eldest sister or for mother's paternal grandmother.
161
•
Sixth daughter: named after mother's second oldest sister or for father's paternal
grandmother.
Notes:
• With people being what they are, there were all sorts of variations, some covered by rules
and some by family decision.
• It was customary to name the next daughter/son born within a second marriage for the
deceased husband/wife.
• If a father died before his child was born, the child was often named for him. If a mother
died in childbirth, that child, if a girl, was usually named for the mother.
• Another child was commonly named for a child who had died within the family.
How to Increase Your Success in Finding the Ancestors Maiden Name
Finding the maiden name of many female ancestors has been a challenge. The records we usually
use to find our male ancestors often do not include the names of females. For example: Females
were not allowed to vote until the 20th century and seldom owned land. Even in church records,
we often find the full name of the husband/father and then simply the first name is listed for the
female.
There are a few document types that yield better success in finding the maiden name. In order of
priority, the following records are helpful in finding maiden names.
Marriage certificate. To secure a marriage certificate, you will need to know:
• Full name of the groom
• The first name of the bride
• The approximate date of the marriage
• The state or county of where the marriage took place
Church records. Church records usually include recordings of church marriages, baptism/or
christening. You will need to know:
• Individual name
• Church where ceremony/ordinance was performed
• Name of clergy that appears on certificate
Newspapers. The most common articles that yield maiden names are wedding announcements or
obituary’s. You will need to know the:
• Approximate date of event
• Name of the groom for wedding announcement
• Full name of deceased person
• State and city where the event occurred
If you can't locate an obituary for your female ancestor, consider looking for the notices for
siblings or other family members; this will provide helpful clues. Combining a list of your
ancestor's siblings with census research can help determine potential families.
Bible records. If you suspect there was a family Bible, but it’s no longer in the family’s
possession, you can sometimes find them through message boards or database searches. Many
Bibles have been digitized and are searchable on the internet. You will need to know the:
• Woman's full married name
162
•
State and county in which she lived
Death records. If your ancestor died within the last century, chances are there is a death
certificate. The certificates often list a maiden name. You will need to know the:
• Woman’s full name
• State and county in which she lived
• Approximate date of death
Death certificates can often include inaccurate information. Make sure you review who provided
the information and the relationship to assess the potential for accuracy.
Military pension records. If you know or suspect the husband was in the military, chances are
there is a pension record. You will need to know the:
• Veteran's name
• Branch of service (e.g., Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps)
• State where the veteran enlisted
• War in which veteran served. (Note: If service was after 1916, you must also know entry
and release dates, military ID number, Social Security number, whether an officer or
enlisted, and date of birth.)
Cemetery records. Tombstones may reveal female’s maiden name through
• The inscription: "wife of so and so"
• The inscription: Maiden name as a middle name or initial
• Checking nearby plots for possible family members
Land records. Land was often transferred from father to daughter. Examine deeds for your
ancestor and/or her husband which include the Latin phrases "et ux." (and wife) and "et al." (and
others). They may provide the names of females, or names of siblings or children. Also keep your
eye out for a man or a couple selling land to your ancestors for a dollar, or other small amount.
The ones selling the land are more than likely the parents or relatives of your female ancestor.
Census records. Check every year available for female ancestor. Consider the following:
• Young couples may be found living with the wife's parents
• Elderly parent may have been added to the household
• Brothers, sisters, or other family members may be found living with the your ancestors'
family
• Clues may also be found in the names of families living nearby
Probate records and Wills. If you have a possible set of parents for your female ancestor,
search for their probate record or will. Surnames of female children, along with the names of their
spouses, are often listed. Since estates often involved the division of land, deed indexes for your
female ancestor may be able to lead you to probate proceedings. To find the maiden name in
probate records, you will need to know:
• Woman's full name at time of death
• Approximate date of her death
• County or town in which she lived at the time of her death
Naming Patterns. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, it was common for families to follow
a naming pattern of children. This naming pattern is dependent upon the ethnic background of
your ancestors. A mother can sometimes be found buried somewhere among the names of her
163
children. Unusual middle names, among boys or girls, might be the maiden name of a mother or
grandmother. Or the eldest daughter might be named for her maternal grandmother.
Starting Points for Further Research
Top 10 Places to Find Maiden Names
http://genealogy.about.com/od/surnames/tp/maiden_names.htm
How to Research the Women in Your Family Tree
http://genealogy.about.com/od/women/a/female_ancestor.htm
Cyndi’s List
http://www.cyndislist.com/female.htm
Understanding Old Script
One of the major challenges facing genealogists is learning to read and understand the older
language forms and handwriting styles commonly found in the documents and records detailing
the lives of our ancestors. Learning to decipher the handwriting techniques and characters of
earlier times is a skill that needs time, practice and a lot of patience. As we look at old documents
we often have questions concerning the formation of specific characters, the meaning of
particular abbreviations or the spelling of certain words.
There are quite a few tutorials on the web which can help you get started reading these older
documents with examples and tutorials on letter and number formation (including English and
Gothic script), commonly used abbreviations and spellings, and even tips for making out faded,
smudged or sloppy text. Then, what you need most is practice, practice, and practice. Get together
some of those document copies you have sitting in file cabinets or boxes and plan to spend some
time transcribing them in their entirety.
The following tips will help you get started:
1. Don't assume. Read slowly and practice patience making sure the words make sense as you
go.
2. Use a good quality magnifying glass.
3. Use letters from words in the document that you can read to piece together the letters in the
words you are having trouble with. One trick is to start by looking for dates, which are
usually present in genealogical documents. Then use the letters in the month, day of the
week, etc., to help determine the writer's style.
4. As you figure out individual letters, you may want to consider making an alphabet chart with
examples of each letter style.
5. Keep in mind as you go that words were often misspelled in older documents - especially
personal names and place names. You will often find them spelled differently in different
parts of the document. You can use other documents, atlases, etc., as sources to verify the
correct spellings.
6. Transcribe the document exactly as it is written - misspellings and all. This will help from
making assumptions that might trip you up in your research at a later date.
164
Starting Points for Further Research
Guidelines for Reading Old Documents
http://www.genealogy.com/68_sperry.html
Handwriting and Genealogy – Paleography
http://genealogy.about.com/cs/handwriting/index.htm
Genealogy Tip of the Day--Deciphering Old Handwriting
http://genealogy.about.com/library/tips/bloldhandwriting.htm
Guidelines for Reading Old Documents
http://www.genealogy.com/68_sperry.html
Handwriting and Genealogy – Paleography
http://genealogy.about.com/cs/handwriting/index.htm
Genealogy Tip of the Day--Deciphering Old Handwriting
http://genealogy.about.com/library/tips/bloldhandwriting.htm
165
Resources
Tracing Immigrant Origins
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/frameset_rg.asp
Benson, Sonia. "Jewish Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah
Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
jewish-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "Italian and Greek Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed.
Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
<http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
italian-greek-immigration>
Benson, Sonia. "Eastern European Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed.
Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
eastern-european-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "Arab World Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah
Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
arab-world-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "Asian Indian, Korean, and Southeast Asian Immigration." U.S. Immigration and
Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
asian-indian-korean-southeast-asian-immigrat
Benson, Sonia. "Mexican Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah
Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
mexican-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "African American Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed.
Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
african-american-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "Urbanization." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah Hermsen.
UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
urbanization
Benson, Sonia. "English Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah
Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
english-immigration
166
Benson, Sonia. "Scots and Scotch-Irish Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac.
Ed. Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
scots-scotch-irish-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "French and Dutch Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed.
Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
french-dutch-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "German Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah
Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
german-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "Irish Immigration." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah
Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
irish-immigration
Benson, Sonia. "Westward Migration: 1783–1912." U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac.
Ed. Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
westward-migration
Benson, Sonia. "Latino and Caribbean Migration and Immigration." U.S. Immigration and
Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE, 2004. eNotes.com. 2006. 28 Jan, 2007
http://history.enotes.com/immigration-almanac/
latino-caribbean-migration-immigration
Tracing Immigrant Origins
http://www.genealogy.com/uni-immi.html
The Importance of Given Names
http://www.genealogy.com/35_donna.html
Western Migration
http://www.connerprairie.org/historyonline/migrate.
html
Indentured Servitude in Colonial America
http://www.geocities.com/nai_cilh/servitude.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigration
Top 10 Places to Find Maiden Names
http://genealogy.about.com/od/surnames/tp/maiden_names.htm
167
How to Research the Women in Your Family Tree
http://genealogy.about.com/od/women/a/female_ancestor.htm
Cyndi’s List
http://www.cyndislist.com/female.htm
Using Google in Genealogy Searches
http://www.searchforancestors.com/archives/google.html
Googling Genealogy Style
http://genealogy.about.com/library/weekly/aa052902a.htm
User mailing lists hosted by Rootsweb
http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/
Cyndi's List of mailing lists and online newsletters
http://www.CyndisList.com/mailing.htm
The Southern Oregon PAF Users Group's (SO-PAF-UG) list of mailing lists
http://www.webtrail.com/sopafug/igs.html
Genealogy.com's list of mailing lists
http://www.genealogy.com/links/c/c-computers,mailing-lists.html
Vicki Lindsay's list of genealogy listservers, newsgroups, and special homepages
http://www.eskimo.com/~chance/lists.html
John Fuller's categorized list of mailing lists
http://members.aol.com/johnf14246/gen_mail.html
National Center for Health Statistics
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm
http://www.familysearch.org/sg/
State Department of Health Services or Office of Vital Records as found in
http://www.vitalrec.com
http://www.vitalchek.com
Cyndislist-US Index
http://www.cyndislist.com/usa.htm
ROOTS-L Resources: United States
http://www.rootsweb.com/roots-l/usa.html
Ancestors: Resources Guide
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/resourceguide/
US GenWeb Archives
http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/hi/history.htm
SHG Resources: State History, 50 States
168
http://www.shgresources.com/resources/history/
The LDS Family History Library
http://familysearch.org
Cyndi’s List of databases
http://www.cyndislist.com/database.htm
Cyndi's List of search engines
http://www.CyndisList.com/search.htm
Virginia History
http://www.shgresources.com/va/history/
The Dust Bowl
http://www.usd.edu/anth/epa/dust.html
Surviving the Dust Bowl
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dustbowl/
Voices of the Dust Bowl
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/afctshtml/tshome.html
Homestead Act
http://www.nps.gov/archive/home/homestead_act.html
Homestead Act of 1862
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/five/homestd.htm
Pony Express
http://www.ponyexpress.org/history.htm
History of the US Postal Service
http://www.usps.com/history/his2.htm
Stagecoach
http://www.linecamp.com/museums/americanwest/index_americanwest_museums.html
Orphantrain
http://www.genealinks.com/orphantrain.htm
Orphan Trains
http://www.outfitters.com/~melissa/ot/ot.html
The American Experience/The Orphan rains/About the Program
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/
Childrens Aid Society
http://www.childrensaidsociety.org/about/train
Gold Rush
169
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/californiagoldrush.htm
Gold Rush History
http://www.malakoff.com/gorh.htm
The Oregon Trail
http://www.isu.edu/%7Etrinmich/Oregontrail.html
Oregon Trail/Lewis & Clark Trail, the Columbia River Connection
http://www.tomlaidlaw.com/crc/
The Oregon-California Trails Association
http://www.octa-trails.org/
Oregon Trail: The End-of-the-Oregon-Trail Interpretive Center
http://www.endoftheoregontrail.org/mambo/
The Overland Trail
http://www.over-land.com/
American Migration Patterns
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/migration.html
The American Migrations Web Site
http://members.aol.com/gedsearch/migrate.htm
Cyndi's List of Migration Routes, Roads and Trails
http://www.cyndislist.com/migration.htm
Early American Trails and Roads ("RoadTrails")
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/trails.html
All about Immigration and Migration
http://www.genealogy.com/00000388.html
Immigration and Migration in the United States
http://www.genealogy.com/00000389.html?Welcome=993946620
Migrations.org Database: families, records, links
http://www.migrations.org/
Comprehensive Directory of Migration Links
http://migration.ucc.ie/linkscompendium.htm
The American Migrations Web Site
http://members.aol.com/gedsearch/migrate.htm
Brethren Migrations
http://www.cob-net.org/docs/brethrenlife_migrations.htm
Migration Charts
170
http://www.intl-research.com/migration.htm
Westward Migration Maps
http://www.lib.utah.edu/digital/collections/westward/
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/histus.html
Historical Maps
http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/index.html
Library of Congress
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html
Chattahooche Trace
http://www.hcc-al-ga.org/
Cyndi's List of Migration Routes, Roads and Trails
http://www.cyndislist.com/migration.htm
Early American Trails and Roads ("RoadTrails")
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/trails.html
All about immigration and migration
http://www.genealogy.com/00000388.html
Immigration and Migration in the United States
http://www.genealogy.com/00000389.html?Welcome=993946620
Migrations.org Database: families, records, links
http://www.migrations.org/
Kansas Historic Trails
http://www.kshs.org/research/collections/documents/online/westerntrails/index.htm
The National Road
http://www.history-magazine.com/natroad.html
The Making of the National Road
http://www.connerprairie.org/HistoryOnline/ntlroad.html
Along the Old Federal Road in Alabama
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/%7Eoldfedrd/
The Oregon Trail
http://www.isu.edu/%7Etrinmich/Oregontrail.html
Oregon Trail/Lewis & Clark Trail, the Columbia River Connection
http://www.tomlaidlaw.com/crc/
The Oregon-California Trails Association
171
http://www.octa-trails.org/
Oregon Trail: The End-of-the-Oregon-Trail Interpretive Center
http://www.endoftheoregontrail.org/mambo/
The Overland Trail
http://www.over-land.com/
Pennsylvania to Virginia, Migration Routes
http://www.indwes.edu/Faculty/bcupp/genes/migrate.htm
Pennsylvania's Early Migration Trails
http://www.mcn.org/2/noel/Westmoreland/MigrationTrails.htm
Rivers and Waterways
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/rivers.html
RoadTrails
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/%7Egentutor/trails.html
Santa Fe Trail Research Site
http://www.stjohnks.net/santafetrail/
Southern Trails, Archived Messages
http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/index/Southern-Trails/
"Spotlight of the Month" by Elizabeth Larson
http://www.over-land.com/spotlite.html
A Timeline: Historic American Highways
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/%7Emaggieoh/highway.html
The Trading Path
http://www.tradingpath.org/
The Scotch-Irish in America, Their History, Traits, Institutions and Influences, Especially as
Illustrated in the Early Settlers of Western Pennsylvania and their Descendants, by John Walker
Dinsmore, Published by the Winona Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1906.
http://www.ls.net/~newriver/pa/dinsm1.htm
Famous People with Scots-Irish Blood
http://www.scotchirish.net/famous.php4
Ulster Historical Foundation
http://www.ancestryireland.co.uk/
Northern Irish References
http://www.rootsweb.com/~fianna/NIR/
Chronicles of the Scots-Irish Settlement in Virginia, extracted from Original Court Records of
Augusta County 1745-1800, by Lyman Chalkley
172
http://www.rootsweb.com/~chalkley/volume_1/vindx.htm
Canada's Ulster-Scots
http://canadasulsterscots.tripod.com/page1.htm
Resources for linguistic information on the Scots-Irish
http://www.ianjamesparsley.net/ullans.html
General Register Office for Scotland
http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/index.html
Genealogy How To - New Records for Tracking Your Scottish Ancestors
http://www.kindredkonnections.com/cgi-bin/nlcenter?-1+0+000000+English+00+20061224+howto
Scotland's People - Connecting Generations
http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/
National Archives of Scotland
http://www.nas.gov.uk/
The Court of the Lord Lyon
http://www.lyoncourt.com/lordlyon/ll_homeTemplate.jsp;jsessionid=E3E51F7305AA45BC65CAF5606AC8B7C
A?p_applic=CCC&p_service=Content.show&pContentID=220&
Ellis Island Foundation - Passenger Lists
http://www.ellisisland.org/default.asp
Northern Ireland.
http://www.frontiermuseum.org/
Research Libraries and Societies
http://www.library.phila.gov/ssh/genealogy/guidelist.htm
Lancaster County Pennsylvania Genealogy
http://www.pa-roots.com/~lancaster
Lancaster County Historical Society, 230 North President Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603; 717-3924633
http://www.lancasterhistory.org/index.html
Rockbridge County Virginia Courthouse, 2 S. Main, Lexington, VA 24450; 540.463.2232
http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/circuit/Rockbridge/genealogy.html
Augusta Virginia County Courthouse, 6 E. Johnson St., Staunton, VA 24401-4301; 540.245.5321
Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219-8000; 804-692.3500
http://www.lva.lib.va.us/whatwehave/
173
State Library of North Carolina, 4641 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4641;
919.807.7400
http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/iss/gr/grserve.htm
Kentucky History Center, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601-1931; 501.564.1792
http://www.history.ky.gov/
Cyndi's List of resources for immigration
http://www.CyndisList.com/immigrat.htm
Cyndi's List of links to ships and passenger lists
http://www.CyndisList.com/ships.htm
About.com genealogy links to sites dealing with immigration and naturalization
http://genealogy.about.com/hobbies/genealogy/msubimmig.htm
About.com links to sites about the History of Immigration Laws, Facts, Events, and
Remembrance:
http://immigration.about.com/newsissues/immigration/msubimhis.htm
How-to Guides and Resources Family History Library's SourceGuide to Tracing Immigrant
Origins
http://www.familysearch.org/sg/Tracing_Immigrant_Origins.html
Tracing Immigrant Origins series:
http://www.familytreemaker.com/university.html
Everton's U.S.-Canadian Border Crossing Records:
http://www.18004genealogy.com/tutorials/uscbc/uscbc1.htm
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild Compass
http://www.immigrantships.net/
Arnold H. Lang's Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
http://home.att.net/~arnielang/shipgide.html
Locating Ship Passenger Lists
http://www.genealogy.com/8_mgpal.html
Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors
http://www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson15.htm
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Emigration & Immigration
http://www.cimorelli.com/pie/faq/emigfaqi.htm
A collection of useful articles to help learn about your immigrant ancestors
http://www.familytreemaker.com/backissu.html
Immigration and Naturalization Service's History
http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/aboutins/history/index.htm
174
National Archives and Records Administration's
http://www.nara.gov/genealogy/immigration/immigrat.html
Passenger List Transcriptions and Searchable Databases
http://members.aol.com/rprost/passenger.html
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild's searchable transcriptions of passenger's lists
http://immigrantships.net/
Dennis Baer's volunteer 1903 Ship Project with the goal of transcribing all NY arrivals in 1903
http://immigrantships.net/1903project/1903project.html
Ancestry.com
http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/immigration/main.htm
Benson, Sonia. U.S. Immigration and Migration Almanac. Ed. Sarah Hermsen. UXL-GALE,
2004. eNotes.com. 2006.
Daniels, Roger. Coming to America. A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life,
New York, New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
Dollarhide, William. British Origins of American Colonists, 1629 - 1775, Bountiful, UT: Heritage
Quest, 1997.
Dollarhide, William. Map Guide of American Migration Routes, 1735 - 1815, Bountiful, UT:
Heritage Quest, 2000.
Wills, Chuck. Destination America. The People and Cultures That Created a Nation, New York,
New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2005.
Research Outlines by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, UT.
The United Kingdom and Ireland: http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/
Cyndi’s List: England http://www.cyndislist.com/england.htm
Maps Can Help Trace Your Family Tree
http://www.geniespeak.com/usgsmap.html
Cyndi’s List- Maps, Gazetteers & Geographical Information
http://www.cyndislist.com/maps.htm
The Wilderness Road -- a map
http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Evanrhs/wrrm/map.html
Migration Charts
http://www.intl-research.com/migration.htm
Westward Migration Maps
http://www.lib.utah.edu/digital/collections/westward/
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
175
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/histus.html
Historical Maps
http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/index.html
Library of Congress
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html
Cyndi's List of societies and groups
http://www.CyndisList.com/society.htm
Cyndi's List of state resources
http://www.CyndisList.com/usa.htm
Cyndi's List of religious and church resources:
http://cyndislist.com/religion.htm
Religious resources
http://www.genhomepage.com/religion.html
Resource Guide by State
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/resourceguide/
Source: Ancestors.com
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/records/religious/extra.html
Links to online dictionaries, including many foreign languages:
http://www.yourdictionary.com
Cyndi's List of language and translation resources
http://www.CyndisList.com/language.htm
Family History SourceGuideTM - How-to Guides, Latin Genealogical Word List
http://www.familysearch.org/sg/WLLatin.html
Find a Grave
http://www.findagrave.com/
The Virtual Cemetery
http://www.genealogy.com/vcem_welcome.html
Paula Easton's Cemetery Photos
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pines/2318/
Internment.net
http://interment.net /
Cemetery Junction
http://www.daddezio.com/cemetery/
USGenWeb's Tombstone Transcription Project
http://www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery/
176
Cemetery records for sale on CDs
http://www.familytreemaker.com/cemetery.html
Cyndi's List of societies and groups
http://www.CyndisList.com/society.htm
Cyndi's List of state resources
http://www.CyndisList.com/usa.htm
The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
http://mapping.usgs.gov/www/gnis/gnisform.html
How-to Guides, Research Outline for U.S. Military Records
www.familysearch.org/sg/Military.html
RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees - U.S. Military Record
www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson14.htm
In Search of Military Records
www.iigs.org/newsletter/9807news/military.htm.en
Military Records: History of and How to Use Them
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~haas/learningcenter/military.html
Cyndi's List of U.S. Military Resources
www.CyndisList.com/military.htm
Cyndi's List of lineage societies and groups with a military focus:
www.CyndisList.com/military.htm#Societies
NARA's links
http://www.archives.gov/publications/by_organization.html
About.com military resources
http://genealogy.about.com/od/military_records/
Lineages, Inc.'s Military Research Room
www.lineages.com/military/default.asp
Military record indexes on CD
www.familytreemaker.com/backissu.html
Resources Specific to Military Conflicts
http://www.usigs.org/library/military/
Cyndi’s List
http://www.CyndisList.com/socsec.htm
Rootsweb.com
http://rootsweb.com/
177
Guide to FOIA Requests
http://www.ssa.gov/foia/html/foia_guide.htm
Cyndi’s List
http://www.CyndisList.com/socsec.htm
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
www.glorecords.blm.gov
Analyzing Deeds for Useful Clues
www.bcgcertification.org/skillbuilders/skbld951.html
Linda Haas Davenport's Learning Center
http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~haas/learningcenter.html
U.S. Land & Property Research
http://users.arn.net/~billco/uslpr.htm
Retracing the Trails of Your Ancestors Using Deed Records
www.ultranet.com/%7Edeeds/deeds.htm
Homesteaders Left Marks on Land and Paper
www.ancestry.com/columns/myra/Shaking_Family_Tree07-24-97.htm
Wills and Testaments
www.genealogy.com/46_donna.html
Where There's a Will, There's a Way
www.ancestry.com/columns/george/12%2D25%2D98.htm
Emigration/Migration Ships and Trails Mailing Lists
http://www.rootsweb.com/~jfuller/gen_mail_emi.html
Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
http://home.att.net/%7Earnielang/shipgide.html
Passenger Lists on the Internet
http://members.aol.com/rprost/passenger.html
Passenger Lists; Ships; Ship Museums
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~cgaunt/pass.html
The Ships Lists
http://www.theshipslist.com/
What Passenger Lists are on line?
http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/onlinelists.html
Immigration and Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
http://home.att.net/%7Earnielang/ship02_3.html#Introduction
178
National Archives: Genealogists/Family Historians
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/index.html
Naturalization Records: Introduction and Links to Resources
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/naturalization/
Pledging Allegiance: Naturalization records
http://www.rootsweb.com/~rwguide/lesson16.htm
Ancestors: Immigration Records
http://www.byubroadcasting.org/ancestors/records/immigration/extra1.html
Examples of naturalization papers
http://members.aol.com/rprost/natural.html
Where to Write for Vital Records
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/howto/w2w/w2welcom.htm
United States Vital Records Information
http://www.vitalrec.com
Express Certificate Service
http://www.vitalchek.com
Ancestry.com
http://ancestry.com/search/
Rootsweb.com
http://resources.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/townco.cgi
Familysearch.org
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp?PAGE=census/search_census.asp
Links to Online Census Records
http://www.census-online.com/links/
US Census Help, Links & Online Records
http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/censuslinks.html
The National Archives
http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/
179