Showing posts with label US. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US. Show all posts

Wednesday

"The Book of Me, Written by You" - Emigration / Migration / Immigration

The prompt for the week is:    
Emigration / Migration / Immigration
The Brief:
  • Have you ever lived overseas from your place of birth?
  • Would you want to?
  • Could you?
  • Did your ancestors or even a more recent generation?
  • Do you feel akin to another Country from that in which you were born?
  • If so have you found any ancestral links in your research that perhaps explains those feelings?
  • As always share (or not) examples, photographs and perhaps events or rationale
This is an interesting topic as when I was elementary school, I was actually asked to write about Immigration old and new. Recently, as I'm starting to scan old documents into the computer for archiving, I found the report. What interesting reading.
A sample of my essay in elementary school

Anyhow, when this topic first came up, I postponed it as I was still looking around for information and it seemed I was getting information from all over the place. It seemed the faster and harder I'd work the more information came up online. Within the last few months in 2014, its finally started to slow down a bit and I can catch my breath and write on this topic.

My Living overseas
In 1995, I met a man that wanted an email pen pal. Since I had a few, or 7, I decided it was ok to add another. Over time the relationship evolved from that into IRL or in real life meet up in late 1995 when he (Brett) came over to the US to visit. Then in 1996, I visited Australia to see where and how they lived. Also, it was a test to see if I could live there. It was fine and we put in paperwork for me to migrate from the US to Australia, which was done in May 1997. We married and now we live in a house we built.

For me, it wasn't hard to adjust and I think that's mainly due to all the moving around I did growing up. For some reason, my mother loved to move from place to place every 3-4 years. Even since I've moved out, she still does this even to this day.

Maternal side living overseas
My Paternal Great Grandfather
From Wikipedia
I have been able to trace our ancestors back to my great grandfather Julius Gauquie who comes from Belgium. From what I've been able to piece together, my great grandfather came to the US in 1888.

Before migrating to the US, he probably lived in the Flanders region of Belgium. I've been able to narrow this down as on the census, he said he spoke Flemish which was common and dominant in this region. Further to prove this theory, was this area was rich in farmers which is what he was in the USA.

I've always tried to take a breath, sit back and go - why leave everything he knew and come to the US where he knew nothing or no one. Then I go to researching the times, country, and do some more searching.

In Belgium in the late 1880's, Catholics were forming a domestic policy in the government's cabinet. This was fine as we are all Roman Catholics. However, by 1878, I found this was succeeded by liberals in the running of the government. The further follow up question I ask - was this enough to force him from his homeland? I don't think so. Then I did more looking and found the following:

King Leopold II was dealing with the Congo and Belgium was doing the most trade with them.

Belgium declared itself as bilingual - Flemish was added to French which made both the official languages. Ah! Success! When I was in high school, I was asked what other electives did I want to take and I didn't know. I heard some of my friends talking about how they were going to be taking the Spanish language and I asked what other languages were there. I was told there were only French and Spanish. I had always wanted to learn French (for some reason), so I took that. After much administrative crap (the administration didn't want me to take it for fear it was too hard for me due to my learning disability even though I had an A average) I was allowed to take the class. Now I know why I wanted to learn the language.

Education was on bilingual footing in its teachings.
There was much labour unrest among the working class. 
There was a limitation on women & children working. 
Belgium was being flooded with American grain when the Catholics were in charge. The Catholics promised the people they would protect agriculture. However I don't think the people believed the Catholics and this was probably one major reason why they were succeeded by the liberals.

If you put all of these things together, I believe the last point (agriculture) was probably the reason why my great grandfather probably left Belgium. I think he was probably thinking if the US had such a great flood of that much grain, why shouldn't he go over there and send back his products this way and actually give the people grains and such from their own country person. However, when he got to New York, he found himself in "upstate" and married within 6 years of arriving. Then he took a job on the land to see how things worked there and ended up owning a huge spread in Blooming Grove, New York. Upon his death, the land was first split up and then sold off bit by bit. As far as I know, some of that land has moved down from generation to generation as current as 1997.

What is ironic is most of his grandchildren and great grandchildren are in real estate. If my searching as proved correct, there is still one of his relatives who farms.

Further, a tiny bit ago, I found out Julius DID know someone in the US - his cousin! - so when he left Belgium, he did so in knowing he did have family in the US and in the area he was settling in. 
Julius and his cousin. Upon Researching I found his cousin was in the US from 1895.

Taken from Wikipedia - The tiny bit of dark green is Denmark
Julius was married to Annie Larson of Denmark. She arrived in the US from Denmark in about 1890 or 1891. Most people in Denmark in the 1880s were farmers. However, as the surname Larson, is like Smith in the US, there are thousands with this name and the spellings are also different. Many people
had the surname Lars which means the son of Lars and its revolving. In other words the surname for a child would be different than of the father as they are the son/daughter of their father. For instance, my great grandmother Annie  was Annie Larson, but her father might have been Jenson which means the father of Jens.

Another interesting fact is in the 1860's a large amount of people converted to Church of Latter Day Saints and then they migrated to the US. When my great grandmother came over, this was during the peak period of people from that part of the world going to the US.

This is where, I think, my mother heard the story of one of my ancestors being in Poland and married to a potato farmer. They had an infant son which ended up sick and dying. Then the husband died and the authorities were threatening to take my grandmother's land. Then the Church of the Latter Day Saints came by and she went with them and ended up in the US.

I think it wasn't my grandmother but maybe my great grandmother and it wasn't from Poland but from Denmark. This would then make sense if my great grandmother had gotten married really young (she was 18 when she came to the US) and then had to leave everything to come to the US. Its a theory I still haven't fully completed figuring out.

Maternal side living overseas
My Maternal Great Grandfather
From Find a Grave

On this side, I have been able to trace my 2 times great grandfather & mother - Stanislaw & Walerja Ostrzycki who both come from Russia Poland. Remember during the 1870's and then in the early 1900's Poland didn't exist - It was made up of Russia, Prussia and Austria. Many times you will see documents which state Russia Poland or Poland Russia or any of the combinations with the other 2 countries which invaded Poland. I was able to find Stanislaw's Declaration of Intention paperwork which states he was born in Lipno, Russia. However, when you take into account all the census he put Poland, I would say its Lipno, Poland Russia (some history) rather than Lipno, Russia. Further evidence shows his daughter - my great grandmother - put down they were from Poland and not Russia in her obituary, it would lock it in it was Lipno Poland rather than Russia. 

Again, I sit back, take a breath, and go - why leave everything he knew and come to the US where he knew nothing or no one. Then I go to researching the times, country, and do some more searching. However, with Poland, its easy to see why they left after so much fighting and getting overrun, so there is not much research to be done once you understand Polish history. 

From Wikipedia
When the arrived in the US, they settled in a small town in Pennsylvania. Why? Well Pennsylvania is one of the places there was a huge Polish community, so they might have known people in the area. If nothing else, it would have felt like a bit of home with places to eat, food and the language they might have heard spoken. 

I grew up eating, and then later, cooking Polish foods. In fact, one of the restaurants we currently go to is a great little Polish place not far from our house. There is even a Catholic, which is what they were, church on the other side of the street from the restaurant. 

Paternal side living overseas
My Paternal Great Grandfather
Taken from Wikipedia
On this side, I don't know much about my grandfather, Matthew Schmitz who was born in Germany. I do know my father's cousin, Helmut, still lives in the house that "has been in the family for Mendig or Niedermendig, Germany. This is exactly where the surname/last name of Schmitz said it originated from - Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. He left Germany between his birth in 1906 and 1930 when he married my grandmother, Jean. I'm sorry to say, I don't have much more information than that.
generations". I believe the house is located around

We always knew our background was German with the last name like Schmitz. However no one ever talks about this side of the family. 

Paternal side living overseas
My Maternal Great Grandfather
Taken from Wikipedia
On this final side, I can trace my ancestor's back to my great grandparents - Adam Wojtkowski and Maryanne or Maryanna Ślepowron both of Poland. Reminder - during the 1870's and then in the early 1900's Poland didn't exist - It was made up of Russia, Prussia and Austria. Many times you will see documents which state Russia Poland or Poland Russia or any of the combinations with the other 2 countries which invaded Poland. I was able to find documents that showed Adam was born at Ciechanowiec Russia Poland. Further, my grandmother and great grandmother's travel to the US state they came from Malkina. Only upon talking to a local of the area, he stated because of my great grandfather's surname/last name he was actually from the town called Wojtkowice Russia Poland. 

Taken from Wikipedia
My great grandmother, Maryanna, I had narrowed down to the same area as Adam. However, I had her surname/last name down wrong as whomever spelled it for my grandmother's obituary spelled it wrong. The Ślepowron surname/last name was actually from Polish nobility which my father was told about growing up, but didn't know anything more than that. Ślepowron is from one of the oldest and most respected names in all of Poland. The surname has a coat of arms for it and its used for almost 1000 last names/surnames.

As my great grandmother's surname spelling was only just pointed out to me, I'm still researching it.






During my research, over the last 5 of the 10 years I've been doing this, I've been jokingly telling my husband, who is also researching HIS side, I wish I had some royalty or something on my side just to make one side a bit easier. Then we found out about the nobility link in Poland. I am now content - the only way to be fully content is to get all these sides of these families talking and linking up again.

The best part about all of this? Is my DNA does back it all up - including the tiny bit I've read about the Korwin part of the Ślepowron surname.
Taken from Jo Ann's FTDNA Origins map

I wonder what else I'll find. If nothing else, you can always keep track of this in my other blog Of My Flesh and Blood where the whole site is dedicated to each ancestor which I'm writing up as fast as I can.

  Check back for the continuation of "The Book of me, Written by You" series.