Friday, April 03, 2015

New York

The last time I was in New York I took the subway down to the south end of Manhattan, to the terminal at the Battery, largely so I could get a better look at the Statue of Liberty.  A gift from our long term friends the French. As a country and society we owe a lot to the French, they helped us in a couple of wars, and sold us the middle of the country for a bargain price (to raise cash to pay for a war,)  Without the Louisiana purchase we would not have a lot of the overland section of the country.  We should forgive them for Alabama, and Mississippi, and a couple of others, how they turned out are not their fault.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the first things my Grandmother and Great Grandmother would have seen when they arrived in the United States. This is true of countless families whose ancestors emigrated from Europe, arriving in New York, seeking new opportunities.  My Grandmother's family arrived in the dark days shortly before World War I.  When I had the chance, it never dawned on me to ask if the impending war was a motivation for moving.  I know the opportunities for work for my Great-Grandfather were  good here in this relatively young and growing country.  It couldn't have been easy, they left behind friends, family and a country they loved.  My Great Grandmother never lost her love for the UK, she was up listening to the Royal wedding when Charles and Diana married - she was very proud and happy to see a continuation of her native land.

My immigrate ancestors didn't forget where they came from, but they also assimilated into the country.  They didn't see assimilation as discrimination, they saw it as becoming a part of the country they had chosen to live in.  I only heard my Great-Grandmother speak Welsh once or twice - doing so was not an American thing to do.  As much as she loved her native land, she wanted to be a part of the country she moved to. When she passed under the torch, she wanted to fit in and be a part of the new country.


  1. The last (and only) time I visited Ellis Island was in 1959n when I won a newspaper boy trip to New York. A return trip is on my bucket list. My maternal great-great grandfather (Thomas Hadfield) emigrated from England (Glossip) to New York with his wife Sarah and his two young children William and Mary in 1852 (I have a copy of the ship's manifest to prove it). My paternal ancestor came much earlier, Jonathan Tipton emigrated from Jamaica to Baltimore Maryland in 1692. My Tipton ancestors were originally from Shropshire, England but took a circuitous route via Jamaica (indentured servitude) to get to America. Family history is fascinating isn't it?

    1. The Godfrey line was professionally researched from my great-great-great grandfather back to England and Ireland (a couple of Mayflower wives in the line.) Then there is a gap from the 1830's to prescient. My paternal grandmother was born in west London, my great-grandmother was born in Swansea, Wales (I have been there, it is nicer then you would expect.) My mother's family is a total mystery. My great grandmother on my mother's side is listed on the marriage license by first name only - no family name - was probably native American - and the family spent a lot of time hiding the ancestry of her. When he was angry (which was common,) my maternal grandfather, would call my grandmother his "squaw" - and then she would be furious. Lots of baggage on that side of the family. Someday I will have tell some of the tales of my Grandfather Godfreys brothers - including the bigamist, the baptist, the gambler, - they were a colorful bunch.

    2. Oh do tell! I love this stuff. I'm no professional but you should give me a crack at finding out what went on during those missing gaps of time....

  2. Family history, always fascinating. Makes you wonder how much history is buried forever, that we will never know.

  3. Cymru am byth!
    ( it means wales forever!)

  4. I've been to the Statue, and to Ellis Island. I want to go back to Ellis Island to do research.
    Such great sites!

    Peace <3

  5. My ancestors came over in the 1600s and had no concept of assimilating.