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"Modern Journeys: The Irish In Detroit"
As human beings we have an inner drive to take risks; explore new paths that can push and pull us toward unknowns. And though change can ferment growth, a link to familiarity and sameness keep us grounded. Which has been the crux of immigrant communities throughout history; change and newness within the midst of villages of similarity.

Immigrants have come in waves. The British and Dutch explored and developed the colonies in the 1600's; the Germans flocked to the states in mass in the 1800's; the Russians came to America in the early 1900's. They came for various reasons, many of which included poverty and religious persecution. But as they migrated across America they searched out each other.

Immigrants grabbed hold of their bonds and formed communities across America. Dotting the country with little countries within. Irish, German, Italian villages where they could speak to one another in their native language (many Irish spoke Gaelic languages; not English) and hold on to the only cultural traditions they had known. These little immigrant societies provided a sense of security in a world that at times was strange and intolerant.

The immigrant communities have over the centuries, melded together, assimilating into a more homogeneous world. But many still hold tightly onto to their history and traditions; which can be a goldmine for those of us in genealogy.

All across America, descendants of immigrant communities have festivals, maintain historical societies and publish surname books of genealogical importance.

I found my 18th German ancestors listed within the historical publication of German town, Pennsylvania. While searching for an ancestor within another lineage, I discovered a German ancestor living on a street of the German Village of Columbus, Ohio. And the names of my Irish ancestors were embedded within an Irish surname publication from DetroitIrish.org.

It is not hard to discover the remnants of centuries old immigrant communities. In Texas, you may find your German ancestors in the historical publications of GermanTexans.org where German communities such as New Braunfels, Fredricksburg and Weimer still thrive today.

If your ancestors were Polish, they may have lived in New York, Minnesotaor Connecticut. And If Italian, they could have settled in Tontitown, Arkansas where families with Italian surnames such as Bariola, Fiori and Pianalto still live in the rolling Arkansas hills.

So explore the histories of little countries within a country. You may stumble upon your immigrant ancestor's name rooted within their publications.

It's worth the effort.

I think you could be pleasantly surprised.

Keep searching for answers,

Cheryl
 


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