We Are All Immigrants Here
Who Is Your Immigrant Ancestor?
Do you know how many generations ago your ancestors came to the U.S.? Was it in the colonial times or was it during the large emigrations of the 1800s? Were they WWII refugees or holocaust survivors trying to reassemble their lives after great trauma? Maybe they were more recent immigrants.
Before you say anything negative about immigrants or say that you support our president blocking certain religions or ethnicities from coming to this country, I suggest you look at your family history. Think about the immigrants in your family and why they came here.
Unless You Are 100% Native American, Your Ancestors Were Immigrants
You Can Get a DNA Test If You Want to Know Where Your Ancestors Came From
When Did Your Family Arrive in America?
Sometimes when I'm debating hot topics on social media, my opponent gets angry. Then they say, "well, if you don't like it here, why don't you just get out of the country?" I delight in telling them that my ancestors came to this country in 1637. They came in a wooden ship like the photo shown below.
Then I add that they came to escape a government that dictated what religion you should belong to. This usually ends the suggestions that I should leave the country and also gets them to stop and think about what "religious freedom means." It doesn't mean the government will pass laws favorable to only one religion. It means the people of this country can belong to any religion they choose or none if they don't want to be religious.
Although I take pride in my Pilgrim ancestors, you don't have to have been here almost 400 years to be a good American. Perhaps you immigrated here a few years ago, maybe your parents came here after WWII, or maybe your great-great-grandparents came to the U.S. in the late 1800s. The U.S. is a nation of immigrants.
We bring different cultural contributions and can take pride in our ancestors. That doesn't make us less American. I take pride in my English and Irish ancestors and made a trip to England to see where my family came from. I love Irish music. We can celebrate our heritage while still being good citizens.
Some of Our Immigrant Ancestors Came Hundreds of Years Ago
My Friends Take Pride in Their Immigrant Ancestors
My friend MaryAnn Colaluca-Routh wrote about her immigrant ancestors:
"I am the PROUD great-grand-daughter of Carmella Ferrandi and Antonio Colaluca, who immigrated to America from Italy in the late 1890’s. At that point in history, Italy could easily have been called a “shit-hole”.
I am very proud of my Italian heritage, of the courage of my great-grandparents, and I am disgusted and ashamed of the cretin who currently inhabits the Oval Office."
The French Canadian Immigrants
My husband's parents came to the U.S. as children in the 1920s when his grandparents came from Canada to work in the woolen mills of Maine. There are many Franco-Americans in the New England states with similar immigrant stories.
When his parents came of age, they became citizens. My mother-in-law always spoke with a slight French accent.
Before they came to the U.S., their ancestors immigrated from France to Canada in the 1600s. We are all immigrants.
The Immigrant Story of the Allain Family
The early Allains had to flee from Nova Scotia when the British drove out the French settlers. Many Acadians went to Louisiana, some went back to France, but my husband's family escaped to New Brunswick, Canada. All their land and businesses in Nova Scotia were lost and they had to start all over again.
Generations later, Benjamin Allain came to the U.S. to work in the mills. After some months, he rejoined his family in Canada with the money he made. Unfortunately, there was not enough work in the small New Brunswick fishing village, so he returned again and again to Maine. Finally, he moved his family there and lived out the rest of his life in the U.S.
His sons and daughters worked in the mills and later the shoe factories when the weaving mills moved south for cheaper labor. Many French speakers from Canada lived in Maine and worked in the mills. Their Catholic church served as the hub for social life and the families helped each other out.
My husband was born after WWII when his dad returned from the U.S. Navy and married. By this time, my husband's parents were both citizens of the U.S. I consider them an American success story. His mother made crepes and raised two children. My father-in-law served in the U.S. military in WWII. Both of them worked hard all their lives. They were good citizens.
Remember, we are all immigrants here.
Some Came in the 1800s and 1900s Through Ellis Island
Video: The Immigrants Who Built America
I'd love to see your family's immigrant story. Please, write it and come back to let me know so I can go read it.
© 2018 Virginia Allain