Immigrant Ancestors did it for You

Some of us can only imagine how bleak things must have been for our ancestors to leave the ‘knowing’ of their homeland and to set their sights on the uncertainty of the New World.

Maybe it was an accumulation of troubles that made them decide to leave: smallpox, suppression, debt, food shortages, religious persecution, plagues ... Posters for their salvation flashed everywhere – “Come and own your own fertile land in North America!

If you write about your family’s immigration local genealogy societies based in an immigrant’s homeland can help you to describe their life there, as well as provide possible reasons as to why they left. This may seem easy to do but because country boundaries are forever changing as a result of conflict and other influences, especially in Europe, this can complicate your research and it may have you checking out several countries to trace your lineage.

Another thing is that alphabets can vary from country to country, and this can affect the spelling of names. Some names were spelled phonetically on forms and the immigrant then signed with an “X”. This “X” does not necessarily mean your ancestors were illiterate.

Speak to as many relatives as possible to pick their brain for information about your ancestors. This is when you may have to draw from a pool of “already written” stories or archival sources that may depict your ancestors’ lives. Immigrating to a new country is a bold step to take. Much can be written here about courage, sacrifice, fear, uncertainty, weather, food, language, work, and nostalgia.

Dig deep in the psyche of your ancestors as you journey with them to the new lands they sought out so you could live and prosper today. Give your ancestors a regal place in your biography so that their faded names, grainy photos and X’s may blossom forever in your family tree.


The Biography Timeliner offers in-depth coaching on how to unravel these fascinating tales of determination, faith, and bravery.