Coming to America

Our program after the meeting on July 10 was about immigration. Carol Foltz gave a short presentation and tried to answer the following questions:

Why did people come to America?
Many people came in hopes of a better life. For many reasons: religious persecution, economic hardship, famine or war. There were others who were sent as prisoners of war or criminals. My ex’s many-times great-grandfather, William Munro, was captured in the Battle of Worcester and sent to the colonies in 1651. England sent criminals until the Revolutionary War, then sent them to Australia until 1868.

When did people come to America?
There were several main waves of immigration: the colonial period, the mid-19th century, the start of the 20th century, and post-1965.

How did people come to America?
Mainly by boat, until airplanes were available. But the types of boats varied, from wind-driven sailing ships to steamboats that could cross the Atlantic in a few days. In Carol’s family, one of the latest immigrant families came over in February 1912, just two months before the Titanic.

Who came to America?
People who wanted a better life.

Where did people enter America?
We think of Ellis Island first, but it wasn’t the first port or the only port where immigrants landed. In the New York area, Castle Garden preceded Ellis Island. But other ports include Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, as well as ports on the West Coast.

Where did people settle in America?
Many settled in cities, but many pushed West. Some would settle for awhile, then uproot and move further West.

A history of immigration in the USA

The Irish potato famine

Immigration to the United States

Immigration to the United States, 1851-1900

The Immigration History of the United States (Video)

Growth, Cities, and Immigration: Crash Course US History #25 (Video, John Green talks very fast.)

U.S. Immigration Before 1965

10 Myths About Immigration in the United States

Swedish research workshop

There is a research workshop this weekend: Hands On ArkivDigital Workshop with Kathy Meade, the North American representative for ArchivDigital. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday in the computer lab at the Stratford Community School. You may bring your own laptop or use one of the school’s computers. Register at There is no mandatory fee, but they do suggest a donation of $25 per day to the Swedish Immigrant Museum and $10-15 freewill donation for the lunches.

More information available at

Swedish Genealogical Research Workshop May 2015

Annals of Iowa now online

You can access the Annals of Iowa online now. The publication is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of history published by the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Issues published from 1863-1969 and 2006-2013 are online at:

This article was published in the Fort Dodge Republican in September 1863. It was posted in the Annals of Iowa in January 1905.


I did a couple of searches, using the “in this journal” option. You can download a PDF of the whole article, with a cover page and end page. It’s another resource for Iowa history.