Ancestry Blog » Family History Month The official blog of Ancestry Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:12:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Creative Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Family History Month – Part Three Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:20:13 +0000 Jessica Murray Read more]]> Want to get the little ones in your family interested in genealogy? We’re introducing part three of our weekly series for the month of October in honor of Family History Month with creative ideas to engage the little ones in your family about family history.

1. Family Journalist Little girl dressed as a reporter

If you have a future journalist on your hands or an older child, challenge them to capture interviews with different family members. This lesson in family history extends beyond your family and also shares valuable lessons on history local to your town or even the world.

For interview questions, visit our handy PDF with suggested interview questions to use when interviewing your family members. We would recommend recording these interviews so you have them forever; there’s nothing that can replace the sound of a grandparent’s voice.

If you’re looking for clues on relatives who have passed away, consider having them answer these questions to help piece together what their ancestors life was like.

  • What kind of clothes and hats did they wear in those days?
  • What kind of houses did people typically live in at that time?
  • Did they have electricity, indoor plumbing, appliances?
  • What games did they play when they were young?
  • What was the main entertainment? Circus? Plays?
  • What did people eat? (Asking about dessert can have surprising answers!)
  • What kinds of toys did kids play with when their ancestor was young?
  • What kind of music or dancing was popular?
  • Who was president when that person was born? Who did they first vote for in a presidential election? What historical events happened when they were young?

2. Family Board Game

This is the ultimate activity for family game night! This personalized board game uses multiple trivia questions on game cards for each family member and a board game template, just like Monopoly or Candy Land. You can find this creative idea at Photo Gifts and Ideas, which has helpful how-to instructions on creating your very own board game + FREE templates you can download.

I plan to create a few of these and play with my family at our next family reunion.

Family Board Game Templates on Photo Gifts and Ideas Blog

Family Board Game Templates on Photo Gifts and Ideas Blog

3. Create Personal Timelines

This was an exercise my history teacher had us do in Middle School and I found it so valuable that I’ve saved it all these years. We were instructed to add our personal timeline to one side and include important historical events on the other side. Since I was only 13, you can see that I added the most important events in my life at the time like my little brother being born and getting my first dog.  Creating my personal timeline helped me pay attention to current and historical events at a younger age, but the best part now is that I have this adorable timeline that I hope to show my kids someday.


Personal Timeline

Personal Timeline

Want more ways to get your kids excited about Family History Month? Check out our suggestions from Week One and Week Two.

What fun or creative activities are you doing with the children in your family to get them excited about family history? Tell us in the comments below!

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Emigration to and Within the United States in the 1800s Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:47:29 +0000 Lou Szucs Read more]]> 20141022migrantsEach of us has been touched in some way by the experiences, choices and attitudes of our ancestors.  The decisions they were often forced to make during the great migrations of the 1800s radically changed our ancestors’ world – and ours.

1800-1900 – Unprecedented population growth in Europe along with social, political and religious conflict left millions without land or a means of support in the 19th century. Many moved to cities, other countries or across oceans in search of a better life.  Industrialization accelerated rapidly with manufacturing techniques. Improvements in turnpikes, canals, steam engines and railroads made it possible for made it possible to move from one place to another with more ease.

In the years just after the American Revolution, the westward migration of Americans intensified. In 1800, significant numbers of settlers were moving to Kentucky and Tennessee – the only two states west of the Appalachians at the time. Early in the century, as the states of Ohio, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Alabama opened up, they too became magnets for those hoping to find their fortunes and better lands to cultivate.

1803 – War between England and France resumed. As a result, transatlantic trade and emigration from continental Europe became practically impossible. Irish emigration was curtailed by the British Passenger Act, which limited the numbers to be carried by emigrant ships.

1803-1851 – When the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, the door was opened for the government to move forward more aggressively with earlier attempts to relocate eastern tribes of Native Americans to lands beyond the Mississippi River. Although initially rejecting the forced moves, small groups of Native Americans left for the west in 1810 and again between 1817 and 1819. For the next several decades, Native Americans were moved out of areas where whites were settling.  In 1838, U.S. Army troops were ordered to round up as many Cherokees as possible and to march them over 800 miles across the plains and across the Mississippi to the Oklahoma Territory. An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 Cherokees died on what became known as the Trail of Tears. In 1851, the Indian Appropriations Act consolidated western tribes on reservations to enable the westward expansion of settlers and to open the way for the building of the transcontinental railroad.

1807-1808 – In 1807, the Congress of the United States passed the Act Prohibiting the Importation of Slaves.  The federal law that stated that no new slaves were permitted to be imported took effect in 1808.

1812-1814 – The War of 1812 between Britain and the United States brought immigration to a halt until the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 that ended the war.

1815-1865 – The largest global migration of modern times began just after the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815) and continued for the rest of the century.  The first great wave of emigration to the United States brought 5 million immigrants between 1815 and 1860.

1818-1861 – Liverpool became the most-used port of departure for British and Irish immigrants, as well as considerable numbers of Germans and other Europeans as the Black Ball Line sailing packets began regular Liverpool to New York service. Before the American Civil War (1861-1865), the vast majority of immigrants came from western and central Europe: Ireland, England, Wales, France, Scandinavia, the Netherlands and German-speaking areas.


Ship Europa (built 1848) voyaged from Liverpool to New York. From New York Port, Ship Images at Ancestry.

1819 – The first significant federal legislation was passed relating to immigration: Passenger lists were to be given to the collector of customs and immigration to the United States was to be reported on a regular basis.

1820 – The United States saw the arrival of 151,000 new immigrants.

1825 – Great Britain officially recognized the view that England was overpopulated and repealed laws prohibiting emigration.

1825 – The completion of the Erie Canal linked the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Erie and opened up a new era in transportation history. Completed by thousands of immigrant laborers, the waterway forged a new route to the interior of the country and made New York City the greatest port in the world.

1840 – The Cunard Line began passenger transportation between Europe and the United States, opening the steamship era.

1845 – The Native American party, precursor of the nativist and anti-immigrant Know-Nothing party, was founded.

1846 – Crop failures in Europe and mortgage foreclosures sent tens of thousands of dispossessed to the United States.

1846-47 – Irish of all classes immigrated to the United States as a result of the potato famine. The fares of many immigrants were paid for by landlords, the British government or the local Poor Law Union.

1848 – The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which brought an official end to the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), was signed on February 2, 1848. Under the terms of the treaty, Mexico ceded to the United States Upper California and New Mexico. This was known as the Mexican Cession and included present-day Arizona and New Mexico and parts of Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Mexico relinquished all claims to Texas and recognized the Rio Grande as the  boundary with the United States.

1848 – Failure of German revolution resulted in the emigration of political refugees.

1849 – California Gold Rush drew migrants from across the United States and foreign countries.


1855 – Castle Garden immigration receiving station opened in New York City to accommodate mass immigration. Alien women married to U.S. citizens became U.S. citizens by law (the law was repealed in 1922).

1858 – A financial crisis in Sweden caused large-scale migration to the United States.

1860 – New York became “the largest Irish city in the world.” Of its 805,651 residents, 203,760 were Irish-born.

1861-1865 – The Civil War caused a significant drop in the number of foreigners entering the United States. Large numbers of immigrants served on both sides during the war.

1862 – The Homestead Act encouraged naturalization by granting citizens title to 160 acres, provided that the land was tilled for five years.


Homesteading Family. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

1864 – Congress centralized control of immigration with a commissioner under the Secretary of State. In an attempt to meet the labor crisis caused by the Civil War, Congress legalized the importation of contract laborers.

1875 – The first direct federal regulation of immigration was established by prohibiting entry of prostitutes and convicts. Residency permits were required of Asians.

1880 – The U.S. population was 50,155,783. More than 5.2 million immigrants entered the country between 1880 and 1890.

1882 – The Chinese Exclusion law was established, curbing Chinese immigration. A general immigration law of the same year excluded persons convicted of political offenses, “lunatics,” “idiots,” and persons likely to become public charges. A head tax of fifty cents was placed on each immigrant.  A sharp rise in Jewish emigration to the United States was prompted by the outbreak of anti-Semitism in Russia.

1883 – In an effort to alleviate a labor shortage caused by the freeing of the slaves, the Southern Immigration Association was founded to promote immigration to the South.

1885 – Contract laborers were denied admission to the United States by the Foran Act. However, skilled laborers, artists, actors, lecturers and domestic servants were not barred. Individuals in the United States were not to be prevented from assisting the immigration of relatives and personal friends.

1890 – New York City had the distinction of being home to as many Germans as Hamburg, Germany.

1891 – The Bureau of Immigration was established under the Treasury Department to federally administer all immigration laws (except the Chinese Exclusion Act). Classes of persons convicted of felonies or misdemeanors of moral turpitude and polygamists.  Pogroms in Russia caused large numbers of Jews to immigrate to the United States.

1892 – Ellis Island replaced Castle Garden as the New York reception center for immigrants.

1893 – Chinese legally in the United States were required to apply to collectors of internal revenue for certificates of residence or be removed.

1894 – The Immigration Restriction League was organized to lead the restriction movement for the next twenty-five years. The league emphasized the distinction between “old” (northern and western Europeans) and “new” (southern and eastern European) immigrants.

1894-96 – To escape massacres, Armenian Christians began immigrating to the United States.

1900 – The U.S. population was at 75,994,575. More than 3,687,000 immigrants were admitted in the previous ten years.

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Five Tips to Discover Your Eastern European Roots Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:18:12 +0000 Read more]]> This is a guest post by Lisa A. Alzo

You’ve just discovered you have Eastern European roots.  Perhaps it was the result of exploring your exotic sounding surname, locating a picture of your Polish great-grandmother, or viewing your Ancestry DNA test results.  Now what?  If you have no idea where or how to begin, or have heard that it’s too difficult, here are five tips to help you jumpstart your research.

John and Elizabeth Alzo on their wedding day

John and Elizabeth Alzo on their wedding day

1.  Determine where your ancestor was from.  Typically knowing that an ancestor came from Budapest, Kiev, or Prague is not good enough.  Because the records that you need to do your research in Europe were kept on a local level, your research cannot proceed unless you know the specific name of the town or village of origin.  To obtain this information, start your search for records in the United States and Canada.  If possible, talk to living relatives of your immigrant ancestor.  Look for personal information in sources you may have at home or you can get from family members, such as:  Bibles, journals, letters, pictures, military service papers, funeral home records, or naturalization documents. Then, expand your search to other records using  Start with Census records.  In particular, U.S. Censuses from 1900, 1910, and 1920, will list the year of immigration as well as the country of origin. This will help narrow your search for immigration records.  These can be found by searching the passenger lists for each port using the Ancestry Immigration Collection.  Follow up with searches for vital, military, and other key records.

2. Pinpoint the ancestral home.  Once you determine where your ancestor was from, you must verify the spelling and determine where that town or village is now (Eastern Europe has had a lot of border changes). You will also want to know what province, county or district had jurisdiction over the place. Maps and gazetteers (geographical dictionaries) are the best way to sort out locality questions or discrepancies.  Several outstanding old gazetteers are now available online through Ancestry. For example, you can view the Prussia, Municipality Gazetteer, 1905 (Gemeindelexikon für das Königreich Preußen, 1905).  Ancestry also has a partnership with FamilySearch and you can use their site to see what Eastern Europe gazetteers are available through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and search the Wiki there to learn about record collections and other useful tips.

3. Know where the records are hiding.  Most of the smaller localities were not responsible for keeping records. Church records were kept by the parish, which may have included several small villages. Similarly, civil registration was under the jurisdiction of locally incorporated communities or townships. Gazetteers can assist with determining the parish or locality that had responsibility for keeping records for the place your ancestor lived.  Once you have learned where to find the key records, you can then create a plan to obtain them.

4. See what’s online first.  Once you are ready to cross the pond you will need to find a way to get to civil and church records. Typically this is done bySelected European Historical Postcards_Lisa_Alzo Guest Post writing to the records office or church, hiring someone to obtain documents on your behalf (see #5 below), or traveling to the location to do on-site research.  But these options can be expensive and time-consuming, so you should first check to see if any records for your ancestral locality have been digitized.  Check the Ancestry databases for Europe for your country of interest.  Examples include the Hungary Family History research page and the Polish Family History research page.  Be aware that many Eastern European surnames are difficult to spell and pronounce and there can be issues with indexing and transcriptions when dealing with online records.  Also, keep in mind that many immigrants changed their names upon settling in North America.  Knowing what the immigrant’s original name was in the old country (and how it was spelled in his or her language) can help when searching for records in Eastern Europe.  To help flush out those elusive ancestors, consider changing your search criteria for a favorite database by experimenting with different fields, or using alternate views to display results (where available).  For example, if you always view your Ancestry search results by record, click to view them by category.  If you routinely just check the Card Catalog to find what databases are available, try using the place pages.  For additional tips on maximizing your searches, consult the Learning Center for free helpful articles and videos.

5. Crowdsource your brick walls.  Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.  Start a member tree for free on Ancestry.  Collaborate with others through the message boards, community pages, and on social media.  Join an ethnic genealogical society to interact with others researching the same localities.

Contrary to popular belief, not all records are online. In fact, many of the key documents you will likely need to trace your East European ancestry are tucked away in the basements of foreign archives. Sure, you can submit a research request, but be prepared for a very long wait.  A better option is to hire a professional based in that country (who knows the language and is familiar with the archives) to get what you can’t.  Click the Hire an Expert button on Ancestry to find a researcher for your area of interest and get a free estimate.  You can also obtain referrals from ethnic genealogical societies, or other researchers.

Finally, remember to be patient.  Records access is improving for many areas in Eastern Europe.  Many archives and repositories are bringing their records online or forming partnerships to do so, resulting in new and updated collections in private or commercial databases.  Persistence is the key to your success.

Lisa A. Alzo, M.F.A. is a freelance writer, instructor, and internationally-recognized lecturer specializing in Slovak genealogy research.  She is the author of nine books and hundreds of magazine articles, and can be reached via her website

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Portrait Studios of Detroit’s Polonia: The Face of Polish Immigration Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:19:38 +0000 Read more]]>
Paul Pieronek Autoportrait

Paul Pieronek Autoportrait

By guest blogger Ceil Wendt Jensen

The once thriving Polish communities of metro Detroit — on the Eastside, Westside, and in Hamtramck — have dissipated into the suburbs; and the schools and parishes around which life in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries revolved, have shut their doors. We feel a sense of urgency to document and display this earlier way of life, while those who lived it can contribute to its legacy. Today’s older generations knew the immigrants and witnessed their assimilation into American life. The communities captured in the photos no longer exist; but families still have vibrant memories and stories of this era. This album illustrates and describes the work of major and minor photographers who serviced the community throughout the cycle of life, chronicling religious sacraments, academic pursuits, and the activities of ethnic organizations.The photos document the zenith of Polish immigration and communities, as well as an art form that reigned during the twentieth century. While the exhibit is built on the Polish experience, it transcends ethnic boundaries and touches all families, chronicling the assimilation into American life. Our partnership with the Hamtramck Historical Museum and the Clinton-Macomb Public Library is not by chance. These locations are areas that were cornerstones of Polonia or are their current residences. By collecting and displaying the exhibit in three locations, we maximize participation. It is purposeful that the Polish Mission spearheads this project.

Our history dates back to the very first Polish community in Detroit, centered around St. Albertus, the oldest Polish Catholic church in the city of Detroit, having opened their doors in 1872. Located there, along with the parish and school, was our SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary; the Felician Sisters motherhouse and orphanage; and the Martin Kulwicki Funeral Home. The organizations, businesses, and practices of this early Polish settlement were soon replicated on Detroit’s East and West sides; and our archives hold photos documenting this history. The Polish Mission and the Hamtramck Historical Museum have become repositories for artifacts from this time period.

During the process of preparing for the exhibit, vestiges of this heritage which have been tucked away in boxes and closets have come to us for identification and digitization for posterity. The Polonica Americana Research Institute (PARI) will house and maintain this digital collection. It is our mission to preserve the past history of our community and make it accessible for future generations. This Portrait Studio project is a proactive approach to helping families identify and document their pictorial history.

The Poles in Detroit organized fraternal and religious organizations to support their fellow man. The Polish Mission collection holds many panoramic photos of society congresses and reunions held in support and celebration of their Polish heritage. Akin to studio photographs are the professional photos that ran in the metro Detroit papers, which were sometimes condescending, in contrast to what we see in these sophisticated images.

Charles Russell Baker, Detroit, MI

Charles Russell Baker, Detroit, MI

The first Polish immigrants to Detroit frequented the portrait studios established by photographers that included William J. Emhuff, Constantine Eisenhardt, Charles Russell Baker, and Carl Aller. Photographers Stanisław Piotrowski and Józef Sowiński, Polish immigrants from Prussia, came to Detroit in the early 1890s. Sowiński established himself in the heart of Detroit’s Polish community located at Can-field Avenue and St. Aubin Street. This positioned his studio in easy walking distance for the numerous Polish families in the area. In the following decades, other Polish immigrant photographers also developed thriving businesses not only in the heart of this same area; but, also, in the East and West side communities of the city.

The photographs were not only made for the immediate family living in Metro Detroit; but copies were exchanged with members still residing in Poland. The portrayed event, with its inscription on the back, served to chronicle the journey to become an American. Detroit studio photos have been rediscovered in Polish albums as families return to their ancestral villages in all areas of Poland. The four generation Daschke portrait, taken by Józef Sowiński circa 1902, was shared by Polish relatives in the summer of 2014. As we digitized the vintage photos, we asked patrons to label the family members portrayed. Often the portrait was unknown and we needed to use context clues to identify the studio and time period the portrait was created. This led us back to the neighborhood and the possible parish where the family lived and the event took place.

Example: Compare the valance with fringe in the upper left corner of the Daschke photo with the same feature displayed in the Pawlowski First Communion portrait. Note that the rug patterns match; and the basket displays a plaque with the year 1902. Research was undertaken using U.S. census records that show the two families lived around the corner from each other.

Polish Mission_1

Charles Daschke Family, circa 1902, Józef Sowiński, photographer, 376 Canfield Avenue in Detroit, Michigan (Diane Snellgrove Collection)

Photo Size and Card Support

Polish Mission_2

Pawlowski First Communion, 1902 (Marcia Olszewski Collection)

The earliest photos displayed in the exhibit are properly identified as Cabinet Cards. This style of photography was popular from the mid 1860s into the early 1910s. The photos by Lutge, Aller, and Eisenhardt fall into this category and measure 5 X 3 ½ inches. The name of the photographer usually is printed at the bottom of the card; and some carry decorative advertising on the back. Larger Cabinet Cards, 6 ½ X 4 ½ inches, are thin paper photos glued onto the cardboard backing. Photos by Józef Sowiński and Lityński Brothers can be identified by the large stiff backing. Composites created by Jan Mieczkowski are readily identifiable by the oval shape of the photos and the angled arrangements (pp. 39-41). He, as well as Sowiński and Paweł Pieronek, added hand drawn details to the tableau such as gymnastic equipment, flora, and fauna. Additionally, the mounts are often embossed or printed on the front with the name and address of the photographer. Studios such as Pieronek and Wojnicki Brothers offered photographic prints in a range of sizes and presented the image as a loose print in a paper folder that closed to protect the portrait; and could be unfolded to create an easel for display.

Background and Props

The background consisted of a range of surfaces from a plain wall to artistic paintings. Some of the photographers were also trained artists; and it is reflected in the subtle backdrops used in their studios. The elements of the background help us identify an unknown studio. Study the Ziawinski Brothers backdrop (p. 55) featuring a painted staircase. It centers some of the First Communion portraits, while it is positioned on the left or right of other compositions. Their studio also featured a range of props that are readily identified. Each First Communion photo features a basket with the current year displayed; and a crocheted table cloth under the candle stick and religious statue. The carpet also aids in identifying where the photo was taken. Small area rugs are featured in the late 1890s into the early 1900s (p. 49); while “wall to wall” carpeting was introduced by the 1920s forming a more unified flooring.

Anastasia Krogulski (ABT 1903)Posing Chairs and Studio Furniture

The individual wedding portraits by Ziawinski (p. 54) showcase the bridegrooms each seated in a grand carved chair. The chairs were not household furniture; but created for the studio. The posing chair, as they were called, were devices used to present the sitter in an agreeable position. Some studios like F. G. Poli (pictured right), used the chairs as a resting device. It allowed the subject’s dress and figure to be displayed. The chair from the studio of Robert Cylkowski (p. 13, center) shows not only the padded top to form an armrest; but also the adjustable elements with a knob to align the back of the chair to fit the height of the subject. Jakubowski offered an ornate pedestal for the graduate pictured on page 28.

Posing and Styling the Subject

Detroit newspapers ran stories on how to interact with the studio photographers. One Detroit Free Press article related an exchange between a woman and the photographer. The article entitled Sitting for a Picture: The Photographic Artist Has His Merry Moments was dated August 2, 1896 and read — A very plain little woman who sat for a picture was displeased with the negative. “What is wrong with it?”, asked the artist. “It does not do me justice,” she said emphatically. The photographer looked at the negative and then at the subject. “I don’t think it is justice you want at all,” he said. “It is mercy.”

Clients who wanted to avoid a similar situation were guided by the advice of Lillian Russell, the American actress and singer who offers this in a Detroit Free Press article entitled Look Pleasant Please! It was dated October 18, 1914 and states —“Look pleasant, please,” said the photographer to his “fair” sitter. Click! “It’s all over, ma’am. You may now resume your natural expression.” If your photographer says that to you, make up your mind that your negatives are going to be a sad disillusionment. Of course, if he is an up to date photographer, he will not say that to you, as it is the business of the up to date photographer to see to it that your expression is not unnatural. But, then, the best photographers cannot do this without your assistance. The truth of the matter is that you have as much to do with the success of your photographs as has the man behind the camera. Don’t blame the photographer entirely if your pictures are not good. The best photographer in the world cannot make your picture attractive without your cooperation. It pays to go to a good photographer because a good photographer can do much toward getting a natural expression and an “unposy” pose. Do not wear a hat when you have your picture taken or you’ll live to rue it. Don’t wear freak pins or ornaments in your hair. Later you’’ll regret it. The simpler the dress you are photographed in, the better you will like it a year from now. The head, neck, and shoulder photographs are far the most advisable, because they stand the test of time. Don’t go to the hairdresser and have your hair dressed in a way not typical of you. Wear your hair as simply and as naturally as you can, for the hair dress has everything to do with the picture. Unless your nose is a good shape don’t have a profile taken. Look pleasant, but don’t feel it necessary to look like a dental ad to get the pleasant effect.

As we worked with this collection of photographs, we were impressed by the craftsmanship and the artistic eye of our communities’ photographers. We think you will agree with us once you have viewed the exhibition and the images in this album.

The Exhibition

As we worked with this collection of photographs, we were impressed by the craftsmanship and the artistic eye of our communities’ photographers. We think you will agree with us once you have viewed the exhibition and the images in this album.

The campus exhibit will be open to the public throughout the month of October 3-29, 2014 — Galeria, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday. A series of complimentary lectures will be presented at 1 p.m.
October 22 — Writing Your Pictorial History
October 29 — Records Arising from Death

Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools
3535 Commerce Road
Orchard Lake, MI 48324
(248) 683-0323

Hamtramck Historical Museum (November 1-23, 2014)
9525 Joseph Campau
Hamtramck, Michigan
11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday – Sunday.

Clinton-Macomb Public Library (January 5-30, 2015)
40900 Romeo Plank Road
Clinton Township, Michigan
During regular library hours

This is a guest post by Ceil Wendt Jensen, MA, author, educator, and researcher. She is founder and co-director of the Polonica Americana Research Institute, the Polish Mission’s genealogy center in Orchard Lake, Michigan. She has conducted research throughout the United States and in Poland at libraries, civil archives, diocesan archives, and local parishes. She is a nationally known presenter, and has authored four books: Detroit’s Polonia, Detroit’s Mount Elliott Cemetery, Detroit’s Mount Olivet Cemetery; and Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy, and collaborated on Portrait Studios of Detroit’s Polonia: The Face of Polish Immigration, The History of the Polish Panorama and the DVD Our Polish Story. Ceil can be reached at and

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Family History 101: Tips for Interviewing Your Living Relatives Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:42:21 +0000 Jessica Murray Read more]]> Sharing your family’s legacy is so important for strengthening family bonds and reliving traditions that will make memories for every generation. This Family History Month, take the time to sit down with your living relatives to record important family history and maybe you’ll make some new family history research discoveries.

To start, download our handy PDF here with interview questions you can use in your interviews.

Here are a few tips to make the interview experience easier.

1. Start with the Oldest Family Members (and Friends)

Our oldest generations have stories that you may have never heard and are the most likely to be lost if not captured now. Don’t wait on sharing some one-on-one time with your older relatives as you may not have many more opportunities to do so in the future.

Also, if your family is anything like mine, you have “grandmas” and “aunts” who you’re not actually related to, but they’re considered family. Don’t rule them out when capturing family history. They were often involved in stories or may share a different perspective that might bring more color to your family history.

2. Use Photos to Trigger Memories

Especially with your aging relatives, they may not recall the exact day, month or year so warm them up by sharing old family photographs and asking them to describe who they see, what memories they have of that person and what their life was like in those days. This approach is much softer than reading off a list of questions which may have them jumping around to different time periods in their lives and create frustration.

3. Go Off Topic

Don’t be afraid to let them go off topic. It’s these moments you might learn something new or hear their perspective which may be different from what you knew. And for that matter, if there are questions in the prompt that aren’t relevant to your family, disregard them and use the interview questions as a guide.

4. Get It on Video

Ask your relative if they mind you recording the interview. Some will feel put on the spot and others won’t mind at all. I recorded a few videos of my great Jessica and Bruce uncle Bruce [pictured on the right at his WWII Veteran's Reunion in 2009], just a year before his passing and now watching the videos are part of our family reunion tradition. Although they were short videos — 3-5 minutes each — hearing the story from him and seeing him smile makes it so much more meaningful to our family.

There’s something really special when you have your family member sharing family stories first-hand vs. having it recorded on notepads. The later isn’t bad, but if we could go back and record each one of our ancestors to understand their perspective, who would say no?

If you don’t live close to relatives, use the upcoming holidays as an opportunity to sit down with them. For those who can’t see them this holiday season, there are easy to download mobile apps that allow you to record telephone conversations or even third-party software that allow you to record Skype videos. Another alternative is using Google+ Hangouts, which are free. You can make them private and select the “On Air” feature so it will automatically record and publish to “private” on your personal YouTube page.

Do you have tips for conducting family interviews? If so, share them with us!

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Creative Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Family History Month – Part Two Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:29:06 +0000 Jessica Murray Read more]]> If you didn’t catch our blog last week, we’re hosting a weekly series in October in honor of Family History Month with creative ideas on getting the kids and young adults in your family excited about family history. Today we continue with three new activities you can do with little ones.

1. Little Detectives

Before she was a professional genealogist, Juliana Szucs helped her mother find family surnames on their microfilm reader in the basement. (This was before the days of census indexing and going page-by-page was the only way to find people.) Each family surname she and her sisters found and recorded on an index card earned them $.25. It was then Juliana discovered her passion for family history because of the rush in finding people she was related to, the financial reward was just icing on the cake.

But you don’t have a microfilm reader in your basement? You’re not alone.

Reward your kiddos with money, points or a present when they find a certain source or a family surname in offline documents. For older kids, navigating online might be easier to search across the more than 14 billion records in Ancestry’s database. Having them help in your research and piece together clues as a team will make the story of your family that much more exciting to them.

If your little ones are savvy on smartphones or tablet devices (what kid isn’t?!) check out the newest Ancestry iOS 6.0 update which was released in September and has exciting features which you can learn more about here.

2. Family Cookbooks

My Mix of Six Family Cookbook

My Mix of Six Family Cookbook

Every three years, my family gathers our favorite recipes and, of course, traditional recipes passed down and compiles a cookbook that is given out at our family reunion.

My great-grandfather’s chipped beef gravy recipe is hands down the family favorite, but it’s not the food on its own but the stories around how this recipe came to be that makes it so special. My great-grandfather was an enlisted man in the Navy with a wife and eight children to support. My great-grandparents resorted to the cheapest of ingredients when cooking for their family, so chipped beef gravy became a staple. My other family favorite is oyster stew on Christmas morning. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I realized not every family ate oyster stew on Christmas mornings. Many people think it’s an odd tradition to have in the first place, but it’s ours and sure enough, I look forward to oyster stew every holiday season.

In this example, blogger Shauna Thompson on My Mix of Six photocopied the original recipe cards her grandmother had handed down to make their family cookbook even more sentimental. I especially love that she included original photos of her grandmother’s kitchen. Check out the photos here.

3. Flash Cards Meets “Peek-A-Boo”

Memory meets peek-a-boo in this DIY spin off. For your visual learners, use existing photographs around the house to help teach little ones how they’re related to different family members.

In this example, No Time For Flash Cards repurposes the tops of diaper wipe containers to make small frames on the wall which open and close so her daughter can identify the family member. Visit this link for how-to instructions on making your own game of peek-a-boo.

Another way to improvise, if you don’t want to tape anything to your walls is to put construction paper over existing family picture frames in your house. The front would have your child’s relationship to the person in the photograph and when they move the construction paper, it reveals who the person is. This would make an easy game that they can revisit over hours or days and they’ll get familiar with who is in the photographs they see throughout your house.

Have more ideas on getting kids excited about family history? Share with us and your idea may be featured in a future post! 

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Migration in the South: Textile Mills Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:18:28 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell Read more]]> One thing I’ve noticed about my southern ancestors is that many of them in early 1900s started moving. But why? A look at their occupations gives us a clue. They stopped being farmers and began working in mills. Cotton mills, mostly. Why the change?

Before and right after the Civil War, most of the textile mills were in the north. But with the economy still faltering in the South in the late 1800s, textile manufacturers saw an available cheap labor pool and started building mills from Virginia to Alabama.

Wages were low. Just like on the farm, men, women and children worked long hours and the women and children earned less than the men. They usually worked 12 hours a day, six days a way and in the 1880s averaged about 12 cents a day.

In the years before World War I, the workers lived in mill villages which were viewed as a unique working culture – one that created a sense of family mimicking the same culture that rural families had in the south in farming communities.

Kinleygarten, Library of Congress, “…Kinleygarten.. Lynchburg, Virginia,” colored digital file from original negative, Lewis Hines Wicks, 1911.

Kinleygarten, Library of Congress, “…Kinleygarten.. Lynchburg, Virginia,” colored digital file from original negative, Lewis Hines Wicks, 1911.

Young children of the mill towns usually went to school. But the Kinleygarten picture from Lynchburg, Virginia gives us a reminder that children usually went to work when they were old enough:

The “Kinleygarten” (the mill policeman called it) at Lynchburg (Va.) Cotton Mills. The children of the mill settlement, from 6 to 8 years attend. Several older boys (see exterior photo, 2169) were hanging around and joining in when they could. Also a mother and babe. I asked Miss Carrington, in charge, where the children from 8 to 14 go, and she said that few of them at those ages care for education. They are just waiting to become old enough to get into the mill. The only available school for them is a long way off. Lynchburg, Virginia.

Photographer Lewis Wickes Hines when he was photographing the Loray Mill, Gastonia, North Carolina  in 1908 discovered children secretly working at the mill:

Warping Machine, Library of Congress, “Girls running warping machines...Loray Mill Gastonia, N.C.,” colored digital file from original negative, Lewis Hines Wicks, 1908.

Warping Machine, Library of Congress, “Girls running warping machines…Loray Mill Gastonia, N.C.,” colored digital file from original negative, Lewis Hines Wicks, 1908.

Girls running warping machines in Loray mill, Gastonia, N.C. Many boys and girls much younger. Boss carefully avoided them, and when I tried to get a photo which would include a mite of a boy working at a machine, he was quickly swept out of range. ‘He isn’t working here, just came in to help a little.’


Look at any census page in the mill towns and you will see that the mills employed many people in a variety of jobs. Most children are not marked as working in the mills. Around 1910 a child could earn between 60 and 90 cents a day. Photographer Lewis Wickes Hines:

Warping Machine, Library of Congress, “Boy with coat…Loray Mill Gastonia, N.C.,” colored digital file from original negative, Lewis Hines Wicks, 1908.

Warping Machine, Library of Congress, “Boy with coat…Loray Mill Gastonia, N.C.,” colored digital file from original negative, Lewis Hines Wicks, 1908.

Boy with coat in hand is 11 years old. Been there 9 months. Started at 50 cents a day. Now gets 60 cents. Loray Mill. “When I sweeps double space I gets 90 cents a day, but it makes you work.” (Look at the boy.) Two “infants” appeared at the door, and vanished back immediately on seeing me.

During World War I, the mills boomed as many were given large military contracts to support the war effort. But after the war, the sense of community lessened as mill owners became more focused on profits and increasing production.

In March 1929, the workers in the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina conducted a strike that is credited with elevating the labor movement to a national level. Check the 1920 and 1930 census records and see if your ancestors were working in one of the many mills in that area.

When you notice your ancestors start moving or when they start changes occupation, the next question is always: Why?  Some of our ancestors were nomads, but most stayed put until reasons arose that had them pick up and look for something better.

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Do You Have a Search Strategy? Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:04:51 +0000 Juliana Szucs Read more]]> While global searches on Ancestry—whether in a search form, from your tree, or from Family Tree Maker—are great for capturing some censuses, and many other records where lots of detail has been indexed, sometimes you need to dig a little deeper to uncover new records. It’s important to remember that a global search on Ancestry searches 14 billion records, in collections that are very diverse. While it’s an efficient search for many collections, some records just don’t rise to the surface.  If you’re relying strictly on Hints and global searches to find your ancestors, you may be missing out on some exciting discoveries.

Beyond Global Searches

In some cases, it’s better to search on a category level. For example, say you’re looking for your immigrant ancestor’s arrival. If you go to the Search tab and select Immigration & Travel from the box on the right side of the page, you can search from there and you will be restricting your search to immigration, travel and citizenship records. Not only are you ruling out billions of other records that aren’t relevant to what you’re searching for, you’re using a search form that is tailored to the types of information that we find in these types of records. You can narrow your search further by focusing on only passenger lists, by limiting your search to those records in that sub-category. (That said, for the U.S. you may want to check the sub-category of Border Crossings & Passports as well, to see if your ancestor came in via Canada or Mexico. At certain points in time, it was cheaper to travel to Canada first and then go to the U.S.)


You should also consider searching collections directly. This is the most powerful way to search in most cases. You’re searching a much smaller subset of records and you can tailor your search to the fields that have been indexed.

Focusing on What You’re Missing

The first step in forming a search strategy is to determine what you’re missing. Look over your ancestor’s profile in their online tree or at what you have gathered in your files. Are there gaps? Have you found them in every census? What are you trying to learn about them? Once you’ve got a target in mind, it’s time to explore what collections are available that can provide the information you’re seeking. There are two ways to do that on Ancestry.

The first is the Card Catalog. You can search the Card Catalog for a collection by title or keyword. (Title searches look for the terms in the title; keyword searches look for the terms in both the title and collection description.) You can also filter the collections by category, geographic location (country, state, and county levels), and time frame.

Another way to explore what records are available on Ancestry is to Explore by Location. Go to the Search tab and scroll down to the map at the bottom of the page. This map will default to the country your membership is through, but you can browse what’s available for other countries using the tabs above the map.


Searching Directly

So by now, hopefully you’ve found a collection of interest. Before you dive in to search, take a moment to read the collection description. The collection description will give you source information and, often, details that will help you with your search. It will also tell you if there are gaps in the coverage. For example, the Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 has records that span 141 years, but that coverage is not available for every county. There is a table at the bottom of the page that lists what years are available for each county.

There is also something to be said for doing a trial search if you’re not having any luck. See how the records are formatted and what is indexed. There may be some clues there that will help you tweak your search. Try a search for Smith or some other common surname that you think will be in the collection. Here’s an example from the Ancestry collection of Ireland, Select Catholic Birth and Baptism Registers, 1763-1912.


This sampling of Smith baptisms has a mix of English given names, Latin given names, and abbreviations. Knowing this, it might be a good idea to search with just the root of the given name and a wild card (for example, Pat* for Patrick, Patricius, Patricii, or Patricium; Tho* for Thomas, Thos, or Thomam, etc.)

Another takeaway from this collection is that parents’ names are indexed. Searching for variants of the parents’ names and only the surname in the top field, you may find the records of multiple children born to those parents. Just keep in mind that there may be variations in the way the parents’ names are recorded as well.


We’ve compiled a guide to these search strategies that you can download here in our Learning Center. Happy Searching!

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Genealogical Research in Your Italian Ancestral Town Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:27:30 +0000 Read more]]> This is a guest post by Mary M. Tedesco

The catalyst for my pursuit of genealogy as a profession was the influence of my Italian immigrant grandparents. Because they have always been so wonderful and kind to me, I wanted to learn more about them. I wanted to know why being with them made me feel so special and warm, made me feel so Italian. The manner of their influence was something that came from another place and time. It was something that came from where they came from—their ancestral towns in Italy. Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy

I’ve had the opportunity to perform onsite research in my grandfather’s hometown of San Pietro a Maida, Calabria. To see where he was born, where he used to play as a boy, and to walk literally in his footsteps inspired me to want others to have the same experience. I want my fellow Italian-Americans to embrace our shared heritage through Italian genealogical research.  I encourage all Italian-Americans to visit their ancestral towns in Italy.

Every Italian-American family has a unique origin – an Italian ancestral town (or towns) that is the source of family culture, howsoever Americanized. The dialects, customs, gestures, sensibilities and recipes are regional influences that are encoded in us from an early age. We accept them as natural and, often, as a source of pride, especially the recipes.  So finding the family’s ancestral town is the first step toward a deeper understanding of who and what we are.  Genealogical research provides a gateway to that understanding by taking us to the homes of past generations in Italy—our personal integral piece of Italian history. It is my hope that this guest blog will be a jumping off point for those wishing to pursue onsite genealogical research in Italy.  Buona fortuna!

1. Verify Your Family’s Ancestral Town or Towns in Italy.

Before booking your plane ticket to Italy, it is first necessary verify your family’s ancestral town or towns.  (Please see “Getting Started With Italian Genealogy” for some tips about beginning your Italian research and locating your town of origin in Italy.)  Sometimes the awareness of an ancestral town is part of a family’s oral history and the center of family stories.  In other families, knowledge of ancestral towns was not passed down through the generations.  But in those cases, proven genealogical research techniques can provide the means for finding out family origins.

The ancestral towns of our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. can sometimes be found on passenger manifests; naturalization records; vital records (birth, marriage, and death records) of the immigrant, the spouse of the immigrant or even the children of the immigrant; military records; obituaries; newspaper articles; and other sources.  (Many of these resources can be found right here on!)  It should be noted that the process of finding an ancestral town can take a researcher anywhere from a few hours to a few months or years. But whatever the case, it’s important to have a plan and to never give up. The eventual result will be worth the effort.

Once you have initially identified your ancestral town in Italy, it is recommend that you confirm this information by obtaining a birth record (or baptismal record) or marriage record for your ancestor (at minimum) either directly from the town or a scan or photocopy of the record from Family History Library microfilm, if available.  It is always best to obtain a vital record or church record for your ancestor to confirm your Italian ancestral town prior to pursuing any onsite research in Italy.  Here are few sources where you may find vital records for your Italian ancestors:

Once you have exhausted the genealogical resources accessible from your home country and all resources available online or on microfilm, it is time to prepare for your genealogical research trip and to buy your ticket to Italy!

2. Create a Set of Research Goals.

One of the keys to a successful onsite research trip in Italy is careful preparation.  Before departing for Italy create a set of research goals for your trip.  What are the questions about your Italian ancestors that you would love to know?  For example: “What was my great great grandmother’s name?” or “Did my family own land?” or “What were the occupations of the men in my family before they immigrated?”  Be creative, be curious.  These research goals will help give focus to your research.

3. Formulate a Research Plan.

After creating a list of research goals, the next step is to create a research plan that give you a roadmap for accomplishing these goals.  A sound research plan will include where the records are located (i.e. the name of the repository), how the records are accessed, the address and hours of the repository and, if possible, a contact person at the repository.  (For more ideas about creating a genealogical research plan and doing effective research, check out “Five Steps to Doing Genealogy Research Like A Pro.”)

4. Call Ahead!

After you have established your research goals and have put a research plan in place, the next step is to contact (via telephone, email, snail mail, etc.) the archives, offices and churches you’d like to visit while you’re in Italy.  In some cases, an appointment may be necessary to conduct research.  Always be polite when communicating with a repository representative or individual archivist.  In some locations, researchers will not be allowed to access records.  Regardless of the situation, it is important to be professional, thankful, and gracious.

Best Places for Genealogical Research in Italy.

There is no single centralized repository in Italy that contains all the records genealogists will need to research their family histories.  So it is necessary to tackle Italian genealogical research on at the local level.  This requires a trip to your ancestral town to conduct research in the place where your ancestors lived.  Here are some of best places to visit on an Italian research trip:

  1. Italian Municipal Offices: Ufficio dello Stato Civile & Ufficio Anagrafe – Civil Registration Office and Demographics Office are at the town level in Italy.

These offices typically contain birth, marriage, and death records as well as demographics data abut your Italian ancestors.  The years civil records begin at various places in Italy does vary (directly tied to the history of Italy), so do some research on your specific location to find out what’s available.

  1. La Chiesa & L’Archivio Diocesano – The Parish Church and Diocesan Archive typically contain the Church records for you Italian ancestors.

Many Catholic Churches in Italy hold records back to the 1500’s or 1600’s.  On occasion, Church registers go back further.  The Diocesan Archives sometimes contain copies of all the records of parishes contained in the Diocese.  It is often necessary to make an appointment with the parish priest in your ancestral town to access the records.

  1. Archivi di Stato – Provincial Archives in Italy

Your first point of contact here should be the Archivio di Stato in your ancestral province. The Italian Archival System has an Online Card Catalogue.  Check to see if the Civil Registration, Military records, or other record types you need are at the Archive.

  1. Biblioteca – Library

Local, regional, and national libraries in Italy often have excellent resources for exploring the local history and culture of the area.  It is so important to put our ancestors in the historical context in which they lived.  Researching local history in Italy is a great way to do this.

Expect the Unexpected.

No matter how carefully you prepare your research goals or how thoroughly you arrange your research itinerary, inevitably something unexpected will happen—a critical appointment with the priest in charge of church records is rescheduled at the last minute; the archivist takes a sick day; or records access is unilaterally denied.  No matter what happens, remember to maintain a positive outlook and to make the most of your research time in Italy.  Be prepared for the both the joys and challenges of Italian culture.  Each town and city in Italy is unique, and thus research must be adaptable. The idiosyncratic contacts, priests, archivists, librarians, and others will make your experience in your ancestral town all the more special!

The special differences from one Italian town to the next give each Italian-American family its unique Italian heritage, familiar only to fellow Italian-Americans from the same ancestral town. But we all share the uniqueness in our Italian hearts.   I wish you buona fortuna (good fortune) with your Italian genealogical research experience!

This is a guest post written by Mary M. Tedesco, a professional genealogist, speaker, and author. She is a genealogist on the PBS TV series “Genealogy Roadshow” (season 2) as well as the Founder of ORIGINS ITALY, a firm specializing in Italian and Italian-American genealogical and family history research. Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Boston University and a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University’s Center for Professional Education. In addition to her Italian ancestry (Calabria, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Tuscany) on her father’s side, she also has deep American roots (German, Irish, Danish & English) on her mother’s side and is proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mary is a member of a number of local and national genealogical societies and serves on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council. She can be contacted @

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Migration to America in the 1700s Mon, 13 Oct 2014 15:06:06 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell Read more]]> As you work backwards in your tree, do you find that the trail seems to go cold in the 1700s? Lack of census records and passenger lists can leave you scratching your head and wondering how exactly they suddenly appeared in Pennsylvania, New England, and Virginia. The answer may be in some of the major migrations of settlers to the colonies in the 1700s.

Two major groups that arrived during that time were the Germans and the Scots-Irish.

Detail of Palatine Church, early German immigrants. Library of Congress, “FRAMING DETAIL OF ROOF. - Palatine Church, State Route 5, Nelliston, Montgomery County, NY,” digital file from originial negative.

Detail of Palatine Church, early German immigrants. Library of Congress, “FRAMING DETAIL OF ROOF. – Palatine Church, State Route 5, Nelliston, Montgomery County, NY,” digital file from originial negative.

German Immigration to America

Around 1670 the first significant group of Germans came to the colonies, mostly settling in Pennsylvania and New York. In 1709 a group known as the Palatines made the journey from the Palatinate region of Germany. Many died on the way over on crowded ships, but around 2,100 survived and settled in New York.

Soon after that, multiple waves of Germans arrived in the Southeast and settled in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. Another wave came and settled in New England.

Between 1725 and 1775 many Germans arrived and settled in Pennsylvania. By the beginning of the Revolutionary War, about 1/3 of the state was Germans.

Scots-Irish in America

Timber Ridge Church built by early Scots-Irish settlers in Virginia.

Timber Ridge Church built by early Scots-Irish settlers in Virginia. Detail of Palatine Church, early German immigrants. Library of Congress, “Old Stone Church, Timber Ridge, Rockbridge County, Virginia,” digital file from original negative.

In the 1600s, many Scots migrated to the Ulster area of Ireland as they tried to escape war, religious conflict, poverty, drought and conflict with the English.

Between 1710 and 1775, around 200,000 of these Scots-Irish emigrated to what was to become the United States for many of the same reasons that they left Scotland. The majority of these new immigrants ended up first in Pennsylvania. Looking for cheaper land, many then went south down into Virginia and the Carolinas and other southern points; many eventually migrated west to Ohio and Indiana.

Major Settlements, Immigration, and Naturalization in the 1700s

  • 1707: A new era of Scottish migration began as a result of the Act of Union between England and Scotland. Scots settled in colonial seaports. Lowland artisans and laborers left Glasgow to become indentured servants in tobacco colonies and New York.
  • 1709: In the wake of devastation caused by wars of Louis XIV, German Palatines settled in the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania.
  • 1717: The English Parliament legalized transportation to American colonies as punishment; contractors began regular shipments from jails, mostly to Virginia and Maryland.
  • 1718: Discontent with the land system: absentee landlords, high rents, and short leases in the homeland motivated large numbers of Scotch-Irish to emigrate. Most settled first in New England, then in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  • 1730: Germans and Scotch Irish from Pennsylvania colonized Virginia valley and the Carolina back country.
  • 1732: James Oglethorpe settled Georgia as a buffer against Spanish and French attack, as a producer of raw silk, and as a haven for imprisoned debtors.
  • 1740: The English Parliament enacted the Naturalization Act, which conferred British citizenship on alien colonial immigrants in an attempt to encourage Jewish immigration.
  • 1745: Scottish rebels were transported to America after a Jacobite attempt to put Stuarts back on the throne failed.
  • 1755: French Acadians were expelled from Nova Scotia on suspicion of disloyalty. The survivors settled in Louisiana.
  • 1771–73: Severe crop failure and depression in the Ulster linen trade brought a new influx of Scotch-Irish to the American colonies.
  • 1775: The outbreak of hostilities in American colonies caused the British government to suspend emigration.
  • 1783: The revolutionary war ended with the Treaty of Paris. Immigration to America resumed, with especially large numbers of Scotch-Irish.
  • 1789: The outbreak of the French Revolution prompted the emigration of aristocrats and royalist sympathizers.
  • 1790: The first federal activity in an area previously under the control of the individual colonies: An act of 26 March
  • 1790 attempted to establish a uniform rule for naturalization by setting the residence requirement at two years. Children of naturalized citizens were considered to be citizens (1 Stat. 103).
  • 1791: After a slave revolt in Santo Domingo, 10,000 to 20,000 French exiles took refuge in the United States, principally in towns on the Atlantic seaboard.
  • 1793: As a result of the French Revolution, Girondists and Jacobins threatened by guillotine fled to the United States.
  • 1795: Provisions of a naturalization act of 29 January 1795 included the following: free white persons of good moral character; five-year residency with one year in state; declaration of intention had to be filed three years prior to filing of the petition.(1 Stat. 414).
  • 1798: An unsuccessful Irish rebellion sent rebels to the United States. Distressed artisans, yeoman farmers, and agricultural laborers affected by bad harvests and low prices joined the rebels in emigrating. U.S. Alien and Sedition Acts gave the president powers to seize and expel resident aliens suspected of engaging in subversive activities.

This list originally appeared in “Immigration Records” by Loretto Dennis Szucs, FUGA, Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA, and Marian L. Smith in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.

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