True Immigrant Tales: “We All Stood There Naked”

[A Czech immigrant woman tells of her journey from Prague to Rotterdam and then in steerage to America in 1920.] “Three days and three nights were spent riding in local trains from Prague to Rotterdam. At Oldenzaal, four stations distant from Rotterdam, all our baggage was taken from without an explanation why this was done. … More True Immigrant Tales: “We All Stood There Naked”

True Immigrant Tales: “There Was Prejudice Everywhere”

[This is another firsthand immigrant story from my oral history collection.] “My story about America begins even before I was born in Calabria in 1920.   When my uncle was eight years old and the oldest among seven brothers and sisters, his parents told him they could no longer take care of him and he would … More True Immigrant Tales: “There Was Prejudice Everywhere”

True Immigrant Tales: “I Knew It Was a Good Country”

[This is another firsthand immigrant account from my oral history collection.] “I was born in Queens County, Ireland, in 1911.  I was one of thirteen children, with six brothers and six sisters.  I attended school until 10th grade, which was the maximum education offered at that time.  On the farm where we lived, I helped … More True Immigrant Tales: “I Knew It Was a Good Country”

True Immigrant Tales: Jordan’s Adventures Continue

[This is a continuation of last week’s blog, which you may want to read first.  Jordan’s story comes from my oral history collection.] “When we were taken to Ellis Island, naturally, there were hundreds of us and we were led, almost like sheep, here and there, and we didn’t know where we were going.  Each … More True Immigrant Tales: Jordan’s Adventures Continue

True Immigrant Tales_8:Hunger in the Ellis Island Cages

[If you didn’t read last week’s post, I suggest you do so first, as this is a continuation of Helen’s immigrant experience. This is a true story, told in her own words. This material comes from my research for my historical novel about Ellis Island in the 1890s, Guardians of the Gate, and its sequel, … More True Immigrant Tales_8:Hunger in the Ellis Island Cages

True Immigrant Stories_7: Scottish Teen in Steerage

[From my immigrant oral histories collection during research for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate, and its sequel, Defenders of Freedom. Helen sailed from Glascow, Scotland, in 1921.  She was 14 and traveled with her mother and three brothers to rejoin her father who had left for America a year earlier.] “It may sound … More True Immigrant Stories_7: Scottish Teen in Steerage

True Immigrant Stories_4: Young Teenager at Ellis Island

[This is another true immigrant story from my oral history collection, gathered as part of my research for the historical novel, Guardians of the Gate, and its sequel, Defenders of Freedom.  In 1925 at age 13, Heinz sailed alone from Bremen to live with his aunt and uncle in the United States. “We arrived on … More True Immigrant Stories_4: Young Teenager at Ellis Island

True Immigrant Stories_5: Her Father and His “Palace”

[This is another true story from my oral histories collection of immigrants who came through Ellis Island drawn from of my research for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate and its sequel, Defenders of Freedom. Elzbieta came from Russia in 1923 at age 15.] The closer we came to the United States, the better we … More True Immigrant Stories_5: Her Father and His “Palace”

True Immigrant Stories_6: A Teenager at Ellis Island

This true story is from my immigrant oral histories collection when I was researching for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate (about Ellis Island in the 1890s), and its sequel,  Defenders of Freedom. Because of the emotional level in his narration—even when he retold his story 65 years later—I’ll let Wilhelm tell the story … More True Immigrant Stories_6: A Teenager at Ellis Island