Pretty much one topic has been on everyone’s mind here in the US for the past month: the government shut-down and President Trump’s insistence on building on a wall. Whatever your feelings are on this situation, history shows that physical barriers, whether they be an ocean, a wall, a barren desert, or a tall mountain range, will not stop the flow of immigration.
My ancestors were no exception. A few years ago I discovered an absolutely wonderful genealogy research tool: ship logs. They opened my eyes to how much effort it took for my family to finally settle in the United States.
My great-grandparents, Edith and Alfred Eykelbosch, first immigrated to Australia from England with their four sons in 1910. Then, for reasons unknown, Edith and Alfred, and the two youngest boys took a ship back to England in 1913. The following year my great grandpa took a ship to Canada from Liverpool. My great-grandma and the two younger boys did not arrive until 1917. In the meantime, my grandpa Harold Eykelbosch and his brother Frank had immigrated to Canada. The family then moved to Portland, Oregon around 1918 (with the exception of Frank, who fought and died in Belgium in WWI while serving for Canada.)
While I had known that my great-grandparents, grandparents (including my grandmother Marjorie, who grew up on the same street as my grandfather back in England), as well as my great uncles, had immigrated to the United States by way of Canada, I did not realize that the six (not including Marjorie) had actually lived in Australia first. Imagine sailing back and forth across the oceans on less-than-luxurious steam ships like they did!
I never had a chance to meet my grandparents or great-grandparents. But knowing their stories as dug up from ship logs made me realize how many obstacles they had to overcome to make it here. Likewise, when I think of the people wanting to immigrate to the US from Mexico and Central America, I realize that even the threat of a wall will not stop them. When the desire is there, people will figure a way out.
This has been my post for week 2 of Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors challenge. The prompt this week was “challenge.”