Thursday, February 28, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge Day 28 - Becoming Americans

They came from many countries, speaking many languages.  Leaving family and friends, they traveled to the port cities to board ships that would bring them to the United States.  The ships were crowded with people speaking in foreign languages that they couldn’t understand.  Mostly they traveled in small groups of only two or three.  The trip across the ocean was long and difficult.  Storms tossed the ships around and people were frightened.  Some got sick on the voyage and spent time in the ship’s hospital.  Some died.  They all came for a better life. 

They settled in cities and small towns and rural areas.  They started stores and farms.  They worked in coal mines and ship yards.  They learned to speak English.  They are more alike than their different nationalities would suggest. 

All of my ancestors worked hard to provide for their families.  They taught by example.  Life was precious and to be treated with respect.  They attended church regularly and supported the charities of the time.  They became citizens.  They voted, and served in the military.

All of my ancestors took the oath of citizenship and renounced the foreign country of their birth.    Georg Burbach came to this country from Germany landing in New York in July 1856.  On 7 November 1864 he became a citizen of the United States.  Michael (M J) Connery came to this country in 1880 and filed his papers in 1886. He began voting in Chicago in 1888.  Jan (John) Krbec arrived in the United States in 1887 and was a registered voter in Chicago by 1892.  Adolph Hansen arrived in 1894 as a fourteen year old and became a registered voter before 1918.  Leopold Peterson emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1870 and was granted citizenship by Boston courts in 1884 and voted in Chicago in 1892.  Robert Ferguson came from Scotland to Virginia about 1660 before citizenship was an issue and his grandsons fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War and probably every other war the United States has been part of.  Olof Hanson came from Sweden about 1850 and also served this country in the Civil War. He moved from Indiana to Chicago in 1878 and filed his citizenship papers in Chicago in 1884.   Frederich Sempsrott arrived in 1842 and was a naturalized citizen according to the 1900 census. Gust Gulyban arrived in 1906 from Hungary and enlisted in the army in 1917.  He was rejected as an enemy alien,  He later became a naturalized citizen.

These men and their wives helped to make our country what it is today.  They came here to a foreign country as teenagers and learned a new language, found work, and raised their families. They taught their children well.



  1. Excellent post - I'm sure your family will enjoy all the posts you made in February. Congratulations on such a marvellous job, Donna. Family History, indeed!

    1. Thanks Celia. I hope to expand on these and incorporate them into a book for the family.