The Gamble

Anne here, and today I'm thinking about the kind of story we tend to think of as "historical" — women traveling long distances, often alone, to make a new life. ComingSouth
In romance fiction it's the classic "mail-order-bride" story (which I admit I'm a sucker for), usually a Western historical, but one we assume is more or less in the past. 

But it's not, and I was reminded of that recently when I attended the funeral of a friend's mother and was thinking about her story. But first, a little about the painting above. It's called Coming South, and it was painted in 1886 by Tom Roberts, one of Australia's early beloved painters. He painted many paintings that explored the themes of those times, and this one is no exception.

Coming South is about migrating to Australia, 'Terra Australis Incognita' as it was known on the earliest maps, the great unknown south land on the other side of the world. And truly, the people coming here had little idea of what their life would be like. (I blogged some time ago about the courage of migration.)

JewishMailOrderBrides

But the painting could just as easily be about sailing in to New York Harbour, or traveling to Canada or New Zealand — or, with a change of transport, traveling in a wagon across to the west of America.  Migration is an act of bravery — or desperation. And for women, who in the past (and perhaps even now) were more vulnerable, and had fewer legal rights, it was an even greater challenge. (The picture above right refers to Jewish mail order brides in the American west)

The trip to Australia took months by ship, and was crowded and uncomfortable — the passengers you see here are not the poorest ones. It was also dangerous — so many ships were lost at sea, many wrecked within sight of the shore. So it was a very final journey — people were well aware of the unlikelihood that they'd ever be able to return to the land of their birth — apart from the risk, it was too far, too expensive, and took too long —who could afford to take a year for a round trip? And they had only the haziest idea of what they would find in the new land.

My friend's mother was born in Ireland, the twelfth child of a mother who died giving birth to number thirteen, who also died. Her father died a couple of years later and the children were parceled out among relatives. Annie, being the baby, went to her grandparents. 

But by the time she was eighteen those grandparents had died, and Annie was put on a ship to Australia to meet an older brother who she didn't even remember. He'd migrated to Australia years before. The ship took more than a month to arrive, and young Annie cried herself to sleep every night.

429.1997mOf course, her story ended happily. Annie was a hard worker and a bright and lively soul. She married and had four children. She loved people, had a great sense of humor and was beloved of her friends and neighbors. In her middle years she traveled the world and met every one of her siblings, in Ireland, in Canada, in the USA, in Wales and in England. 

Annie's story got me thinking. My friend Fay's mother had come on a ship from from Greece, to meet the husband she'd married a short time before he'd migrated. She hadn't seen him for seven years, and was bringing the young daughter that he'd never met. 

Many of the Greek and Italian ladies I taught to read and write in English had done the same trip, long weeks on a crowded ship  coming to meet and marry men they didn't know. It was an arrangement made by others. They carried a photo, with which they hoped to recognize their future husband.

Coming alone, to a land where you don't speak the language. Where you'll be wholly dependent on a man you don't know. That's courage.

I thought about the Vietnamese lady I taught, whose relatives had put her on a plane to Australia with her young child, to be reunited with the husband she hadn't seen for five years. Nobody met them. She was very frightened, spoke not a word of English and had no idea what to do. Thank goodness for social services who found her a place to stay and traced her husband. He didn't want her. He had another woman now. 

PicturebridesAngelIsland

I thought about my own grandmother, coming out from Northern Ireland on a ship, to marry the Australian soldier she'd met when he went on leave with a mate who was visiting his Irish relatives. She spent every penny she had on the journey, trusting that all would be well (which it was.) But she'd only known him for a few weeks, several years before. (This image is of the "Picture Brides" brides whose marriages were arranged long distance, using pictures to match up bride and groom)

And if you browse through the internet, there are hundreds of women from all over the world still doing the same thing, looking for a new life, taking a gamble for the sake of a better future. Risking their all. Alone.

Courage. Desperation. Hope.

Mail order brides don't just travel on wagons across the prairie; women are still risking themselves, traveling long distances—often alone—coming to foreign lands and an uncertain future, gambling all on the prospect of making a better life, if not for themselves, for their children, and to help out their families back home. Gambling on the hope that the man they'll marry will turn out to be a good one. And that it will all work out.

It's not simply a fun trope in historical romance, it's an enduring theme in women's history. 

So what about you? Did you, or any of your female relatives or ancestors take this kind of gamble on future happiness? How did it turn out?

 

 

170 thoughts on “The Gamble”

  1. I haven’t traced my ancestry back very far but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that my genes originated from Viking stock! I do remember an old school colleague who migrated to Australia to work as an accountant. Out of curiosity I googled and found an impressive website carrying his name and open for business. I guess he made good down under.
    I like the mail order bride and related tropes in American Western romance fiction. I recall that Rosanne Bittner … a fav author of mine … has an excellent ‘Brides’ trilogy. The concept of a vulnerable woman struggling to survive in harsh male dominated environments somehow resonates with the protective male instincts. Though usually the women are a lot tougher than we might expect!
    Western Europe is currently being overwhelmed with migrants and refugees seeking respite from wars and poverty. Almost daily there are stories of people drowning while crossing the Mediterranean sea in overcrowded flimsy boats, including women and children traveling alone. Maybe there is material here for a new type of romance?

    Reply
  2. I haven’t traced my ancestry back very far but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that my genes originated from Viking stock! I do remember an old school colleague who migrated to Australia to work as an accountant. Out of curiosity I googled and found an impressive website carrying his name and open for business. I guess he made good down under.
    I like the mail order bride and related tropes in American Western romance fiction. I recall that Rosanne Bittner … a fav author of mine … has an excellent ‘Brides’ trilogy. The concept of a vulnerable woman struggling to survive in harsh male dominated environments somehow resonates with the protective male instincts. Though usually the women are a lot tougher than we might expect!
    Western Europe is currently being overwhelmed with migrants and refugees seeking respite from wars and poverty. Almost daily there are stories of people drowning while crossing the Mediterranean sea in overcrowded flimsy boats, including women and children traveling alone. Maybe there is material here for a new type of romance?

    Reply
  3. I haven’t traced my ancestry back very far but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that my genes originated from Viking stock! I do remember an old school colleague who migrated to Australia to work as an accountant. Out of curiosity I googled and found an impressive website carrying his name and open for business. I guess he made good down under.
    I like the mail order bride and related tropes in American Western romance fiction. I recall that Rosanne Bittner … a fav author of mine … has an excellent ‘Brides’ trilogy. The concept of a vulnerable woman struggling to survive in harsh male dominated environments somehow resonates with the protective male instincts. Though usually the women are a lot tougher than we might expect!
    Western Europe is currently being overwhelmed with migrants and refugees seeking respite from wars and poverty. Almost daily there are stories of people drowning while crossing the Mediterranean sea in overcrowded flimsy boats, including women and children traveling alone. Maybe there is material here for a new type of romance?

    Reply
  4. I haven’t traced my ancestry back very far but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that my genes originated from Viking stock! I do remember an old school colleague who migrated to Australia to work as an accountant. Out of curiosity I googled and found an impressive website carrying his name and open for business. I guess he made good down under.
    I like the mail order bride and related tropes in American Western romance fiction. I recall that Rosanne Bittner … a fav author of mine … has an excellent ‘Brides’ trilogy. The concept of a vulnerable woman struggling to survive in harsh male dominated environments somehow resonates with the protective male instincts. Though usually the women are a lot tougher than we might expect!
    Western Europe is currently being overwhelmed with migrants and refugees seeking respite from wars and poverty. Almost daily there are stories of people drowning while crossing the Mediterranean sea in overcrowded flimsy boats, including women and children traveling alone. Maybe there is material here for a new type of romance?

    Reply
  5. I haven’t traced my ancestry back very far but wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that my genes originated from Viking stock! I do remember an old school colleague who migrated to Australia to work as an accountant. Out of curiosity I googled and found an impressive website carrying his name and open for business. I guess he made good down under.
    I like the mail order bride and related tropes in American Western romance fiction. I recall that Rosanne Bittner … a fav author of mine … has an excellent ‘Brides’ trilogy. The concept of a vulnerable woman struggling to survive in harsh male dominated environments somehow resonates with the protective male instincts. Though usually the women are a lot tougher than we might expect!
    Western Europe is currently being overwhelmed with migrants and refugees seeking respite from wars and poverty. Almost daily there are stories of people drowning while crossing the Mediterranean sea in overcrowded flimsy boats, including women and children traveling alone. Maybe there is material here for a new type of romance?

    Reply
  6. Anne, such a great blog and an important subject. My grandparents and great-gps came to NY from Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy, and when I was a child, my great-grandmother would tell me about her trip over from France – she traveled as a teenager with her older brother. In the lines at Ellis Island, she met a young man just arrived from Italy; he became my great-grandfather. She had great stories about her adventures on the ship, some funny, some scary. She had to fend for herself, was even chased by a crew member who tried to assault her … later her brother found and decked the guy. 🙂 I still have her steamer trunk from that trip. Immigration has never been easy, especially for women. Their strength comes through.

    Reply
  7. Anne, such a great blog and an important subject. My grandparents and great-gps came to NY from Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy, and when I was a child, my great-grandmother would tell me about her trip over from France – she traveled as a teenager with her older brother. In the lines at Ellis Island, she met a young man just arrived from Italy; he became my great-grandfather. She had great stories about her adventures on the ship, some funny, some scary. She had to fend for herself, was even chased by a crew member who tried to assault her … later her brother found and decked the guy. 🙂 I still have her steamer trunk from that trip. Immigration has never been easy, especially for women. Their strength comes through.

    Reply
  8. Anne, such a great blog and an important subject. My grandparents and great-gps came to NY from Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy, and when I was a child, my great-grandmother would tell me about her trip over from France – she traveled as a teenager with her older brother. In the lines at Ellis Island, she met a young man just arrived from Italy; he became my great-grandfather. She had great stories about her adventures on the ship, some funny, some scary. She had to fend for herself, was even chased by a crew member who tried to assault her … later her brother found and decked the guy. 🙂 I still have her steamer trunk from that trip. Immigration has never been easy, especially for women. Their strength comes through.

    Reply
  9. Anne, such a great blog and an important subject. My grandparents and great-gps came to NY from Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy, and when I was a child, my great-grandmother would tell me about her trip over from France – she traveled as a teenager with her older brother. In the lines at Ellis Island, she met a young man just arrived from Italy; he became my great-grandfather. She had great stories about her adventures on the ship, some funny, some scary. She had to fend for herself, was even chased by a crew member who tried to assault her … later her brother found and decked the guy. 🙂 I still have her steamer trunk from that trip. Immigration has never been easy, especially for women. Their strength comes through.

    Reply
  10. Anne, such a great blog and an important subject. My grandparents and great-gps came to NY from Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy, and when I was a child, my great-grandmother would tell me about her trip over from France – she traveled as a teenager with her older brother. In the lines at Ellis Island, she met a young man just arrived from Italy; he became my great-grandfather. She had great stories about her adventures on the ship, some funny, some scary. She had to fend for herself, was even chased by a crew member who tried to assault her … later her brother found and decked the guy. 🙂 I still have her steamer trunk from that trip. Immigration has never been easy, especially for women. Their strength comes through.

    Reply
  11. That Vietnamese woman’s story is heartbreaking, and I’m in awe of her willingness to start a new life in a new land all by herself in those days. Immigration in our grandparents’ time in order to marry strangers must’ve taken such courage and such belief in the innate goodness of mankind that it will all work out. I’m currently reading a mail-order bride as a western and that indomitable spirit is inspiring.

    Reply
  12. That Vietnamese woman’s story is heartbreaking, and I’m in awe of her willingness to start a new life in a new land all by herself in those days. Immigration in our grandparents’ time in order to marry strangers must’ve taken such courage and such belief in the innate goodness of mankind that it will all work out. I’m currently reading a mail-order bride as a western and that indomitable spirit is inspiring.

    Reply
  13. That Vietnamese woman’s story is heartbreaking, and I’m in awe of her willingness to start a new life in a new land all by herself in those days. Immigration in our grandparents’ time in order to marry strangers must’ve taken such courage and such belief in the innate goodness of mankind that it will all work out. I’m currently reading a mail-order bride as a western and that indomitable spirit is inspiring.

    Reply
  14. That Vietnamese woman’s story is heartbreaking, and I’m in awe of her willingness to start a new life in a new land all by herself in those days. Immigration in our grandparents’ time in order to marry strangers must’ve taken such courage and such belief in the innate goodness of mankind that it will all work out. I’m currently reading a mail-order bride as a western and that indomitable spirit is inspiring.

    Reply
  15. That Vietnamese woman’s story is heartbreaking, and I’m in awe of her willingness to start a new life in a new land all by herself in those days. Immigration in our grandparents’ time in order to marry strangers must’ve taken such courage and such belief in the innate goodness of mankind that it will all work out. I’m currently reading a mail-order bride as a western and that indomitable spirit is inspiring.

    Reply
  16. Courage, desperation, hope. I don’t know why some of my ancestors came to this country. There may have been an adventurer or two in the lot, but I think most of them desperate and hopeful. So they courageously got on the boat. Most of them came from Ireland, but there were some from England, Scotland and Holland also.
    We (in the US) should all remember those who came here and made a good life for us. I feel for the immigrants all over the world. I cannot fault people for wanting a better life. It breaks my heart when I see families torn apart because of our immigration laws. I cannot know what my ancestors experience was like exactly, but I’ve read enough history to know what life was like for the Irish immigrants in the 1800s.
    OK, I’ll get off my soap box.

    Reply
  17. Courage, desperation, hope. I don’t know why some of my ancestors came to this country. There may have been an adventurer or two in the lot, but I think most of them desperate and hopeful. So they courageously got on the boat. Most of them came from Ireland, but there were some from England, Scotland and Holland also.
    We (in the US) should all remember those who came here and made a good life for us. I feel for the immigrants all over the world. I cannot fault people for wanting a better life. It breaks my heart when I see families torn apart because of our immigration laws. I cannot know what my ancestors experience was like exactly, but I’ve read enough history to know what life was like for the Irish immigrants in the 1800s.
    OK, I’ll get off my soap box.

    Reply
  18. Courage, desperation, hope. I don’t know why some of my ancestors came to this country. There may have been an adventurer or two in the lot, but I think most of them desperate and hopeful. So they courageously got on the boat. Most of them came from Ireland, but there were some from England, Scotland and Holland also.
    We (in the US) should all remember those who came here and made a good life for us. I feel for the immigrants all over the world. I cannot fault people for wanting a better life. It breaks my heart when I see families torn apart because of our immigration laws. I cannot know what my ancestors experience was like exactly, but I’ve read enough history to know what life was like for the Irish immigrants in the 1800s.
    OK, I’ll get off my soap box.

    Reply
  19. Courage, desperation, hope. I don’t know why some of my ancestors came to this country. There may have been an adventurer or two in the lot, but I think most of them desperate and hopeful. So they courageously got on the boat. Most of them came from Ireland, but there were some from England, Scotland and Holland also.
    We (in the US) should all remember those who came here and made a good life for us. I feel for the immigrants all over the world. I cannot fault people for wanting a better life. It breaks my heart when I see families torn apart because of our immigration laws. I cannot know what my ancestors experience was like exactly, but I’ve read enough history to know what life was like for the Irish immigrants in the 1800s.
    OK, I’ll get off my soap box.

    Reply
  20. Courage, desperation, hope. I don’t know why some of my ancestors came to this country. There may have been an adventurer or two in the lot, but I think most of them desperate and hopeful. So they courageously got on the boat. Most of them came from Ireland, but there were some from England, Scotland and Holland also.
    We (in the US) should all remember those who came here and made a good life for us. I feel for the immigrants all over the world. I cannot fault people for wanting a better life. It breaks my heart when I see families torn apart because of our immigration laws. I cannot know what my ancestors experience was like exactly, but I’ve read enough history to know what life was like for the Irish immigrants in the 1800s.
    OK, I’ll get off my soap box.

    Reply
  21. Thanks, Quantum — it’s a similar situation Downunder, less with western European “mail order brides” as with Asian and Philippine women risking their all. I think it’s very much an ongoing condition for women, to take that gamble and hope it works out. And the tragedy of people fleeing ghastly situations and travelling in flimsy boats is a real issue here, too. Heartbreaking.
    As for whether it’ll lead to a new kind of romance, I doubt it. I think those stories, which are pretty gritty and confronting at base, need a few generations or handed down story-telling coated with the rosy haze of nostalgia before they can be looked back on as romantic.

    Reply
  22. Thanks, Quantum — it’s a similar situation Downunder, less with western European “mail order brides” as with Asian and Philippine women risking their all. I think it’s very much an ongoing condition for women, to take that gamble and hope it works out. And the tragedy of people fleeing ghastly situations and travelling in flimsy boats is a real issue here, too. Heartbreaking.
    As for whether it’ll lead to a new kind of romance, I doubt it. I think those stories, which are pretty gritty and confronting at base, need a few generations or handed down story-telling coated with the rosy haze of nostalgia before they can be looked back on as romantic.

    Reply
  23. Thanks, Quantum — it’s a similar situation Downunder, less with western European “mail order brides” as with Asian and Philippine women risking their all. I think it’s very much an ongoing condition for women, to take that gamble and hope it works out. And the tragedy of people fleeing ghastly situations and travelling in flimsy boats is a real issue here, too. Heartbreaking.
    As for whether it’ll lead to a new kind of romance, I doubt it. I think those stories, which are pretty gritty and confronting at base, need a few generations or handed down story-telling coated with the rosy haze of nostalgia before they can be looked back on as romantic.

    Reply
  24. Thanks, Quantum — it’s a similar situation Downunder, less with western European “mail order brides” as with Asian and Philippine women risking their all. I think it’s very much an ongoing condition for women, to take that gamble and hope it works out. And the tragedy of people fleeing ghastly situations and travelling in flimsy boats is a real issue here, too. Heartbreaking.
    As for whether it’ll lead to a new kind of romance, I doubt it. I think those stories, which are pretty gritty and confronting at base, need a few generations or handed down story-telling coated with the rosy haze of nostalgia before they can be looked back on as romantic.

    Reply
  25. Thanks, Quantum — it’s a similar situation Downunder, less with western European “mail order brides” as with Asian and Philippine women risking their all. I think it’s very much an ongoing condition for women, to take that gamble and hope it works out. And the tragedy of people fleeing ghastly situations and travelling in flimsy boats is a real issue here, too. Heartbreaking.
    As for whether it’ll lead to a new kind of romance, I doubt it. I think those stories, which are pretty gritty and confronting at base, need a few generations or handed down story-telling coated with the rosy haze of nostalgia before they can be looked back on as romantic.

    Reply
  26. Thanks, Susan — yes, it must have been a challenge. And how amazing that she met her future husband in the lines at Ellis Island. Sounds like a lovely romance.
    Some of my Greek ladies met up with others on the ship, and formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I bet as new “arranged” brides, with no family to turn to if difficulties arose, that friendship would have been crucial.

    Reply
  27. Thanks, Susan — yes, it must have been a challenge. And how amazing that she met her future husband in the lines at Ellis Island. Sounds like a lovely romance.
    Some of my Greek ladies met up with others on the ship, and formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I bet as new “arranged” brides, with no family to turn to if difficulties arose, that friendship would have been crucial.

    Reply
  28. Thanks, Susan — yes, it must have been a challenge. And how amazing that she met her future husband in the lines at Ellis Island. Sounds like a lovely romance.
    Some of my Greek ladies met up with others on the ship, and formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I bet as new “arranged” brides, with no family to turn to if difficulties arose, that friendship would have been crucial.

    Reply
  29. Thanks, Susan — yes, it must have been a challenge. And how amazing that she met her future husband in the lines at Ellis Island. Sounds like a lovely romance.
    Some of my Greek ladies met up with others on the ship, and formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I bet as new “arranged” brides, with no family to turn to if difficulties arose, that friendship would have been crucial.

    Reply
  30. Thanks, Susan — yes, it must have been a challenge. And how amazing that she met her future husband in the lines at Ellis Island. Sounds like a lovely romance.
    Some of my Greek ladies met up with others on the ship, and formed friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I bet as new “arranged” brides, with no family to turn to if difficulties arose, that friendship would have been crucial.

    Reply
  31. Thanks, Keira — it wasn’t so much willingness to start a new life, but complete lack of choice. She couldn’t go back — no money to pay the fare — and could only go forward. So she did. I think people often find unexpected strength in themselves when they have no other choice.

    Reply
  32. Thanks, Keira — it wasn’t so much willingness to start a new life, but complete lack of choice. She couldn’t go back — no money to pay the fare — and could only go forward. So she did. I think people often find unexpected strength in themselves when they have no other choice.

    Reply
  33. Thanks, Keira — it wasn’t so much willingness to start a new life, but complete lack of choice. She couldn’t go back — no money to pay the fare — and could only go forward. So she did. I think people often find unexpected strength in themselves when they have no other choice.

    Reply
  34. Thanks, Keira — it wasn’t so much willingness to start a new life, but complete lack of choice. She couldn’t go back — no money to pay the fare — and could only go forward. So she did. I think people often find unexpected strength in themselves when they have no other choice.

    Reply
  35. Thanks, Keira — it wasn’t so much willingness to start a new life, but complete lack of choice. She couldn’t go back — no money to pay the fare — and could only go forward. So she did. I think people often find unexpected strength in themselves when they have no other choice.

    Reply
  36. What a fascinating post! Thank you, Anne. I don’t know of any family members who traveled to meet a spouse; however, my mother left the Netherlands in the mid 1950s to travel to New Zealand. That country was paying the fare for young people to come there and settle given the sparse population at the time. My mother and her older sister who had also traveled there a year earlier saved up money to pay for their mother to join them. My mother ultimately married my father who had been purser aboard the ship on which she traveled. She’d initially wanted nothing to do with him as he’d been quite the ladies man.

    Reply
  37. What a fascinating post! Thank you, Anne. I don’t know of any family members who traveled to meet a spouse; however, my mother left the Netherlands in the mid 1950s to travel to New Zealand. That country was paying the fare for young people to come there and settle given the sparse population at the time. My mother and her older sister who had also traveled there a year earlier saved up money to pay for their mother to join them. My mother ultimately married my father who had been purser aboard the ship on which she traveled. She’d initially wanted nothing to do with him as he’d been quite the ladies man.

    Reply
  38. What a fascinating post! Thank you, Anne. I don’t know of any family members who traveled to meet a spouse; however, my mother left the Netherlands in the mid 1950s to travel to New Zealand. That country was paying the fare for young people to come there and settle given the sparse population at the time. My mother and her older sister who had also traveled there a year earlier saved up money to pay for their mother to join them. My mother ultimately married my father who had been purser aboard the ship on which she traveled. She’d initially wanted nothing to do with him as he’d been quite the ladies man.

    Reply
  39. What a fascinating post! Thank you, Anne. I don’t know of any family members who traveled to meet a spouse; however, my mother left the Netherlands in the mid 1950s to travel to New Zealand. That country was paying the fare for young people to come there and settle given the sparse population at the time. My mother and her older sister who had also traveled there a year earlier saved up money to pay for their mother to join them. My mother ultimately married my father who had been purser aboard the ship on which she traveled. She’d initially wanted nothing to do with him as he’d been quite the ladies man.

    Reply
  40. What a fascinating post! Thank you, Anne. I don’t know of any family members who traveled to meet a spouse; however, my mother left the Netherlands in the mid 1950s to travel to New Zealand. That country was paying the fare for young people to come there and settle given the sparse population at the time. My mother and her older sister who had also traveled there a year earlier saved up money to pay for their mother to join them. My mother ultimately married my father who had been purser aboard the ship on which she traveled. She’d initially wanted nothing to do with him as he’d been quite the ladies man.

    Reply
  41. Mary, I agree. I suspect that if more people knew their ancestors’ stories, and understood the forces that drove them to leave everything they knew to try for a better life, if not for them, for any children they might have, they (the people today) would be more sympathetic to the immigrants and refugees of today.

    Reply
  42. Mary, I agree. I suspect that if more people knew their ancestors’ stories, and understood the forces that drove them to leave everything they knew to try for a better life, if not for them, for any children they might have, they (the people today) would be more sympathetic to the immigrants and refugees of today.

    Reply
  43. Mary, I agree. I suspect that if more people knew their ancestors’ stories, and understood the forces that drove them to leave everything they knew to try for a better life, if not for them, for any children they might have, they (the people today) would be more sympathetic to the immigrants and refugees of today.

    Reply
  44. Mary, I agree. I suspect that if more people knew their ancestors’ stories, and understood the forces that drove them to leave everything they knew to try for a better life, if not for them, for any children they might have, they (the people today) would be more sympathetic to the immigrants and refugees of today.

    Reply
  45. Mary, I agree. I suspect that if more people knew their ancestors’ stories, and understood the forces that drove them to leave everything they knew to try for a better life, if not for them, for any children they might have, they (the people today) would be more sympathetic to the immigrants and refugees of today.

    Reply
  46. Kareni, what a story! What an adventure, two young women travelling to the other side of the world to find a future. I love that your mother made your father work for it.
    And yes, governments have always tried to encourage particular kinds of immigrants. Very early in the piece in Australia (19th Century) the government of the day sponsored young single women to come here, because there was a shortage of women. And in my parents’ day, there was a scheme where English migrants were sponsored to come to Australia, and only had to pay 10 pounds for the journey — a month on a ship. They were nick-named “ten pound poms.”

    Reply
  47. Kareni, what a story! What an adventure, two young women travelling to the other side of the world to find a future. I love that your mother made your father work for it.
    And yes, governments have always tried to encourage particular kinds of immigrants. Very early in the piece in Australia (19th Century) the government of the day sponsored young single women to come here, because there was a shortage of women. And in my parents’ day, there was a scheme where English migrants were sponsored to come to Australia, and only had to pay 10 pounds for the journey — a month on a ship. They were nick-named “ten pound poms.”

    Reply
  48. Kareni, what a story! What an adventure, two young women travelling to the other side of the world to find a future. I love that your mother made your father work for it.
    And yes, governments have always tried to encourage particular kinds of immigrants. Very early in the piece in Australia (19th Century) the government of the day sponsored young single women to come here, because there was a shortage of women. And in my parents’ day, there was a scheme where English migrants were sponsored to come to Australia, and only had to pay 10 pounds for the journey — a month on a ship. They were nick-named “ten pound poms.”

    Reply
  49. Kareni, what a story! What an adventure, two young women travelling to the other side of the world to find a future. I love that your mother made your father work for it.
    And yes, governments have always tried to encourage particular kinds of immigrants. Very early in the piece in Australia (19th Century) the government of the day sponsored young single women to come here, because there was a shortage of women. And in my parents’ day, there was a scheme where English migrants were sponsored to come to Australia, and only had to pay 10 pounds for the journey — a month on a ship. They were nick-named “ten pound poms.”

    Reply
  50. Kareni, what a story! What an adventure, two young women travelling to the other side of the world to find a future. I love that your mother made your father work for it.
    And yes, governments have always tried to encourage particular kinds of immigrants. Very early in the piece in Australia (19th Century) the government of the day sponsored young single women to come here, because there was a shortage of women. And in my parents’ day, there was a scheme where English migrants were sponsored to come to Australia, and only had to pay 10 pounds for the journey — a month on a ship. They were nick-named “ten pound poms.”

    Reply
  51. Because Churchill and his cronies gifted Stalin with the west of Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, my family was stateless in the 1940s. They were deporting ethnic Ukrainians to Siberia, or shooting them at the Soviet border, so my family waited in limbo in a displacement camp in Germany for years (they been taken by the Nazis for slave labour at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa).
    Britain wouldn’t take families – only single men – and you could only go to America if you had someone there to sponsor you.
    Eventually they received an offer: Australia. They had never heard of it, and not only didn’t speak English, but used the Cyrillic alphabet. The Australian Government gave them a little “learn English” book written entirely in the Roman alphabet!
    They got on a ship with a bunch of other stateless Ukrainians and then when they arrived in Australia all the men were sent to another state to work on the Snowy Hydro Project and all the women and children were housed in cattle sheds in Victoria. (The Snowy Hydro memorials still don’t acknowledge all the Ukrainians who worked on it, and classify them as Polish).
    Eventually they had permission for the families to reunite, and they settled near Canberra. My mother’s first home was on Capital Hill, where Australian Parliament stands now.

    Reply
  52. Because Churchill and his cronies gifted Stalin with the west of Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, my family was stateless in the 1940s. They were deporting ethnic Ukrainians to Siberia, or shooting them at the Soviet border, so my family waited in limbo in a displacement camp in Germany for years (they been taken by the Nazis for slave labour at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa).
    Britain wouldn’t take families – only single men – and you could only go to America if you had someone there to sponsor you.
    Eventually they received an offer: Australia. They had never heard of it, and not only didn’t speak English, but used the Cyrillic alphabet. The Australian Government gave them a little “learn English” book written entirely in the Roman alphabet!
    They got on a ship with a bunch of other stateless Ukrainians and then when they arrived in Australia all the men were sent to another state to work on the Snowy Hydro Project and all the women and children were housed in cattle sheds in Victoria. (The Snowy Hydro memorials still don’t acknowledge all the Ukrainians who worked on it, and classify them as Polish).
    Eventually they had permission for the families to reunite, and they settled near Canberra. My mother’s first home was on Capital Hill, where Australian Parliament stands now.

    Reply
  53. Because Churchill and his cronies gifted Stalin with the west of Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, my family was stateless in the 1940s. They were deporting ethnic Ukrainians to Siberia, or shooting them at the Soviet border, so my family waited in limbo in a displacement camp in Germany for years (they been taken by the Nazis for slave labour at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa).
    Britain wouldn’t take families – only single men – and you could only go to America if you had someone there to sponsor you.
    Eventually they received an offer: Australia. They had never heard of it, and not only didn’t speak English, but used the Cyrillic alphabet. The Australian Government gave them a little “learn English” book written entirely in the Roman alphabet!
    They got on a ship with a bunch of other stateless Ukrainians and then when they arrived in Australia all the men were sent to another state to work on the Snowy Hydro Project and all the women and children were housed in cattle sheds in Victoria. (The Snowy Hydro memorials still don’t acknowledge all the Ukrainians who worked on it, and classify them as Polish).
    Eventually they had permission for the families to reunite, and they settled near Canberra. My mother’s first home was on Capital Hill, where Australian Parliament stands now.

    Reply
  54. Because Churchill and his cronies gifted Stalin with the west of Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, my family was stateless in the 1940s. They were deporting ethnic Ukrainians to Siberia, or shooting them at the Soviet border, so my family waited in limbo in a displacement camp in Germany for years (they been taken by the Nazis for slave labour at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa).
    Britain wouldn’t take families – only single men – and you could only go to America if you had someone there to sponsor you.
    Eventually they received an offer: Australia. They had never heard of it, and not only didn’t speak English, but used the Cyrillic alphabet. The Australian Government gave them a little “learn English” book written entirely in the Roman alphabet!
    They got on a ship with a bunch of other stateless Ukrainians and then when they arrived in Australia all the men were sent to another state to work on the Snowy Hydro Project and all the women and children were housed in cattle sheds in Victoria. (The Snowy Hydro memorials still don’t acknowledge all the Ukrainians who worked on it, and classify them as Polish).
    Eventually they had permission for the families to reunite, and they settled near Canberra. My mother’s first home was on Capital Hill, where Australian Parliament stands now.

    Reply
  55. Because Churchill and his cronies gifted Stalin with the west of Ukraine at the end of the Second World War, my family was stateless in the 1940s. They were deporting ethnic Ukrainians to Siberia, or shooting them at the Soviet border, so my family waited in limbo in a displacement camp in Germany for years (they been taken by the Nazis for slave labour at the beginning of Operation Barbarossa).
    Britain wouldn’t take families – only single men – and you could only go to America if you had someone there to sponsor you.
    Eventually they received an offer: Australia. They had never heard of it, and not only didn’t speak English, but used the Cyrillic alphabet. The Australian Government gave them a little “learn English” book written entirely in the Roman alphabet!
    They got on a ship with a bunch of other stateless Ukrainians and then when they arrived in Australia all the men were sent to another state to work on the Snowy Hydro Project and all the women and children were housed in cattle sheds in Victoria. (The Snowy Hydro memorials still don’t acknowledge all the Ukrainians who worked on it, and classify them as Polish).
    Eventually they had permission for the families to reunite, and they settled near Canberra. My mother’s first home was on Capital Hill, where Australian Parliament stands now.

    Reply
  56. I know, Sonia. The way the Aussie government handled immigration back then was pretty ignorant and short-sighted, but they did mean well, I believe. Your family didn’t know anything about Australia, and the government people didn’t know much about the many different languages and alphabets of the people coming here after the war. And the skilled and educated men put to breaking rocks on the Snowy River scheme — so short-sighted and such a waste of talent and skill. As for acknowledging the Ukranians and correcting the “Polish” error — maybe that’s something for a current generation to organize, don’t you think? Better than leaving the mistake in place.
    But it’s easy to look back from a place of security and comfort and judge the past. Australia then wasn’t the rich and comfortable place it is now. They’d also just come out of a war.
    But the women and children weren’t housed in cattle sheds — they were Nissan huts, formerly used for housing soldiers. Made of galvanized iron, so to people coming from brick and stone housing in Europe, it must have seemed weird. But it wasn’t meant as an insult — it was an attempt to provide housing (and food and jobs) for large numbers of people at short notice. Mistakes were made, to be sure, but it was better than letting people who arrived with nothing fend for themselves.

    Reply
  57. I know, Sonia. The way the Aussie government handled immigration back then was pretty ignorant and short-sighted, but they did mean well, I believe. Your family didn’t know anything about Australia, and the government people didn’t know much about the many different languages and alphabets of the people coming here after the war. And the skilled and educated men put to breaking rocks on the Snowy River scheme — so short-sighted and such a waste of talent and skill. As for acknowledging the Ukranians and correcting the “Polish” error — maybe that’s something for a current generation to organize, don’t you think? Better than leaving the mistake in place.
    But it’s easy to look back from a place of security and comfort and judge the past. Australia then wasn’t the rich and comfortable place it is now. They’d also just come out of a war.
    But the women and children weren’t housed in cattle sheds — they were Nissan huts, formerly used for housing soldiers. Made of galvanized iron, so to people coming from brick and stone housing in Europe, it must have seemed weird. But it wasn’t meant as an insult — it was an attempt to provide housing (and food and jobs) for large numbers of people at short notice. Mistakes were made, to be sure, but it was better than letting people who arrived with nothing fend for themselves.

    Reply
  58. I know, Sonia. The way the Aussie government handled immigration back then was pretty ignorant and short-sighted, but they did mean well, I believe. Your family didn’t know anything about Australia, and the government people didn’t know much about the many different languages and alphabets of the people coming here after the war. And the skilled and educated men put to breaking rocks on the Snowy River scheme — so short-sighted and such a waste of talent and skill. As for acknowledging the Ukranians and correcting the “Polish” error — maybe that’s something for a current generation to organize, don’t you think? Better than leaving the mistake in place.
    But it’s easy to look back from a place of security and comfort and judge the past. Australia then wasn’t the rich and comfortable place it is now. They’d also just come out of a war.
    But the women and children weren’t housed in cattle sheds — they were Nissan huts, formerly used for housing soldiers. Made of galvanized iron, so to people coming from brick and stone housing in Europe, it must have seemed weird. But it wasn’t meant as an insult — it was an attempt to provide housing (and food and jobs) for large numbers of people at short notice. Mistakes were made, to be sure, but it was better than letting people who arrived with nothing fend for themselves.

    Reply
  59. I know, Sonia. The way the Aussie government handled immigration back then was pretty ignorant and short-sighted, but they did mean well, I believe. Your family didn’t know anything about Australia, and the government people didn’t know much about the many different languages and alphabets of the people coming here after the war. And the skilled and educated men put to breaking rocks on the Snowy River scheme — so short-sighted and such a waste of talent and skill. As for acknowledging the Ukranians and correcting the “Polish” error — maybe that’s something for a current generation to organize, don’t you think? Better than leaving the mistake in place.
    But it’s easy to look back from a place of security and comfort and judge the past. Australia then wasn’t the rich and comfortable place it is now. They’d also just come out of a war.
    But the women and children weren’t housed in cattle sheds — they were Nissan huts, formerly used for housing soldiers. Made of galvanized iron, so to people coming from brick and stone housing in Europe, it must have seemed weird. But it wasn’t meant as an insult — it was an attempt to provide housing (and food and jobs) for large numbers of people at short notice. Mistakes were made, to be sure, but it was better than letting people who arrived with nothing fend for themselves.

    Reply
  60. I know, Sonia. The way the Aussie government handled immigration back then was pretty ignorant and short-sighted, but they did mean well, I believe. Your family didn’t know anything about Australia, and the government people didn’t know much about the many different languages and alphabets of the people coming here after the war. And the skilled and educated men put to breaking rocks on the Snowy River scheme — so short-sighted and such a waste of talent and skill. As for acknowledging the Ukranians and correcting the “Polish” error — maybe that’s something for a current generation to organize, don’t you think? Better than leaving the mistake in place.
    But it’s easy to look back from a place of security and comfort and judge the past. Australia then wasn’t the rich and comfortable place it is now. They’d also just come out of a war.
    But the women and children weren’t housed in cattle sheds — they were Nissan huts, formerly used for housing soldiers. Made of galvanized iron, so to people coming from brick and stone housing in Europe, it must have seemed weird. But it wasn’t meant as an insult — it was an attempt to provide housing (and food and jobs) for large numbers of people at short notice. Mistakes were made, to be sure, but it was better than letting people who arrived with nothing fend for themselves.

    Reply
  61. My grandmother and most of her siblings emigrated from Scotland to various countries around the world. Her older sister went out to Canada to marry, but she knew her future husband very well as they were cousins who had known each other from childhood! They were married for more than fifty years and had two daughters. My grandparents had been married six years when they decided to come to the US. My grandpa came only a few months ahead of granny and my mother and aunt, so no big separation was necessary. Last year I “found” a second cousin in Australia, the grandson of my grandma’s brother. I have other cousins in Canada and probably New Zealand, but have yet to be in contact with them.
    Meanwhile, in another branch of my family I have a young man whom the Privy Council of Scotland banished in1685 for being a Covenanter and sent to New Jersey. After a voyage during which half the passengers died, my ancestor worked as an indentured servant for four years, was granted land, married, had children, and helped found one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in America. He lived past ninety. He must have been a strong character!

    Reply
  62. My grandmother and most of her siblings emigrated from Scotland to various countries around the world. Her older sister went out to Canada to marry, but she knew her future husband very well as they were cousins who had known each other from childhood! They were married for more than fifty years and had two daughters. My grandparents had been married six years when they decided to come to the US. My grandpa came only a few months ahead of granny and my mother and aunt, so no big separation was necessary. Last year I “found” a second cousin in Australia, the grandson of my grandma’s brother. I have other cousins in Canada and probably New Zealand, but have yet to be in contact with them.
    Meanwhile, in another branch of my family I have a young man whom the Privy Council of Scotland banished in1685 for being a Covenanter and sent to New Jersey. After a voyage during which half the passengers died, my ancestor worked as an indentured servant for four years, was granted land, married, had children, and helped found one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in America. He lived past ninety. He must have been a strong character!

    Reply
  63. My grandmother and most of her siblings emigrated from Scotland to various countries around the world. Her older sister went out to Canada to marry, but she knew her future husband very well as they were cousins who had known each other from childhood! They were married for more than fifty years and had two daughters. My grandparents had been married six years when they decided to come to the US. My grandpa came only a few months ahead of granny and my mother and aunt, so no big separation was necessary. Last year I “found” a second cousin in Australia, the grandson of my grandma’s brother. I have other cousins in Canada and probably New Zealand, but have yet to be in contact with them.
    Meanwhile, in another branch of my family I have a young man whom the Privy Council of Scotland banished in1685 for being a Covenanter and sent to New Jersey. After a voyage during which half the passengers died, my ancestor worked as an indentured servant for four years, was granted land, married, had children, and helped found one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in America. He lived past ninety. He must have been a strong character!

    Reply
  64. My grandmother and most of her siblings emigrated from Scotland to various countries around the world. Her older sister went out to Canada to marry, but she knew her future husband very well as they were cousins who had known each other from childhood! They were married for more than fifty years and had two daughters. My grandparents had been married six years when they decided to come to the US. My grandpa came only a few months ahead of granny and my mother and aunt, so no big separation was necessary. Last year I “found” a second cousin in Australia, the grandson of my grandma’s brother. I have other cousins in Canada and probably New Zealand, but have yet to be in contact with them.
    Meanwhile, in another branch of my family I have a young man whom the Privy Council of Scotland banished in1685 for being a Covenanter and sent to New Jersey. After a voyage during which half the passengers died, my ancestor worked as an indentured servant for four years, was granted land, married, had children, and helped found one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in America. He lived past ninety. He must have been a strong character!

    Reply
  65. My grandmother and most of her siblings emigrated from Scotland to various countries around the world. Her older sister went out to Canada to marry, but she knew her future husband very well as they were cousins who had known each other from childhood! They were married for more than fifty years and had two daughters. My grandparents had been married six years when they decided to come to the US. My grandpa came only a few months ahead of granny and my mother and aunt, so no big separation was necessary. Last year I “found” a second cousin in Australia, the grandson of my grandma’s brother. I have other cousins in Canada and probably New Zealand, but have yet to be in contact with them.
    Meanwhile, in another branch of my family I have a young man whom the Privy Council of Scotland banished in1685 for being a Covenanter and sent to New Jersey. After a voyage during which half the passengers died, my ancestor worked as an indentured servant for four years, was granted land, married, had children, and helped found one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in America. He lived past ninety. He must have been a strong character!

    Reply
  66. To my knowledge, I do not have any ancestor who took her life in her hands to travel and marry a stranger.
    But, immigration, oh yeah. They came to the States from Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, France and England. They came at different times. Some before we were a country, some through Ellis Island, and some in between.
    I have a theory about the migration from East to West in the States. In a way, to me it was more frightening, to go in a wagon train to the unknown, because it was not all unknown. They knew about the no water, the long trek over deserts, the mountains they had to climb and the attacks from people who did not want them there.
    Along the wagon train trails there were valuables thrown out all across the west. The things they thought were priceless turned out to be dead weight and were cast aside.
    Since I believe women are generally the keepers of the memories, I can’t imagine the courage to leave your life and travel into a new life and then be forced by circumstances to abandon what you thought would provide a connection to your past.
    And let’s salute those who did not speak the language of their new homes. People are resilient, brave, powerful and generally wonderful, aren’t they?

    Reply
  67. To my knowledge, I do not have any ancestor who took her life in her hands to travel and marry a stranger.
    But, immigration, oh yeah. They came to the States from Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, France and England. They came at different times. Some before we were a country, some through Ellis Island, and some in between.
    I have a theory about the migration from East to West in the States. In a way, to me it was more frightening, to go in a wagon train to the unknown, because it was not all unknown. They knew about the no water, the long trek over deserts, the mountains they had to climb and the attacks from people who did not want them there.
    Along the wagon train trails there were valuables thrown out all across the west. The things they thought were priceless turned out to be dead weight and were cast aside.
    Since I believe women are generally the keepers of the memories, I can’t imagine the courage to leave your life and travel into a new life and then be forced by circumstances to abandon what you thought would provide a connection to your past.
    And let’s salute those who did not speak the language of their new homes. People are resilient, brave, powerful and generally wonderful, aren’t they?

    Reply
  68. To my knowledge, I do not have any ancestor who took her life in her hands to travel and marry a stranger.
    But, immigration, oh yeah. They came to the States from Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, France and England. They came at different times. Some before we were a country, some through Ellis Island, and some in between.
    I have a theory about the migration from East to West in the States. In a way, to me it was more frightening, to go in a wagon train to the unknown, because it was not all unknown. They knew about the no water, the long trek over deserts, the mountains they had to climb and the attacks from people who did not want them there.
    Along the wagon train trails there were valuables thrown out all across the west. The things they thought were priceless turned out to be dead weight and were cast aside.
    Since I believe women are generally the keepers of the memories, I can’t imagine the courage to leave your life and travel into a new life and then be forced by circumstances to abandon what you thought would provide a connection to your past.
    And let’s salute those who did not speak the language of their new homes. People are resilient, brave, powerful and generally wonderful, aren’t they?

    Reply
  69. To my knowledge, I do not have any ancestor who took her life in her hands to travel and marry a stranger.
    But, immigration, oh yeah. They came to the States from Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, France and England. They came at different times. Some before we were a country, some through Ellis Island, and some in between.
    I have a theory about the migration from East to West in the States. In a way, to me it was more frightening, to go in a wagon train to the unknown, because it was not all unknown. They knew about the no water, the long trek over deserts, the mountains they had to climb and the attacks from people who did not want them there.
    Along the wagon train trails there were valuables thrown out all across the west. The things they thought were priceless turned out to be dead weight and were cast aside.
    Since I believe women are generally the keepers of the memories, I can’t imagine the courage to leave your life and travel into a new life and then be forced by circumstances to abandon what you thought would provide a connection to your past.
    And let’s salute those who did not speak the language of their new homes. People are resilient, brave, powerful and generally wonderful, aren’t they?

    Reply
  70. To my knowledge, I do not have any ancestor who took her life in her hands to travel and marry a stranger.
    But, immigration, oh yeah. They came to the States from Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, France and England. They came at different times. Some before we were a country, some through Ellis Island, and some in between.
    I have a theory about the migration from East to West in the States. In a way, to me it was more frightening, to go in a wagon train to the unknown, because it was not all unknown. They knew about the no water, the long trek over deserts, the mountains they had to climb and the attacks from people who did not want them there.
    Along the wagon train trails there were valuables thrown out all across the west. The things they thought were priceless turned out to be dead weight and were cast aside.
    Since I believe women are generally the keepers of the memories, I can’t imagine the courage to leave your life and travel into a new life and then be forced by circumstances to abandon what you thought would provide a connection to your past.
    And let’s salute those who did not speak the language of their new homes. People are resilient, brave, powerful and generally wonderful, aren’t they?

    Reply
  71. I don’t much about my ancestors that emigrated. Lots of them did I know from stories my mother has told me. They all went to America. However, I know from a cousin, that we had a relation that was sent to Australia on a convicts ship. I love hearing about my past family and someday I will get round to following them up and make some kind of family tree. I have quite a few interesting relatives who were involved in world events in one way or another.

    Reply
  72. I don’t much about my ancestors that emigrated. Lots of them did I know from stories my mother has told me. They all went to America. However, I know from a cousin, that we had a relation that was sent to Australia on a convicts ship. I love hearing about my past family and someday I will get round to following them up and make some kind of family tree. I have quite a few interesting relatives who were involved in world events in one way or another.

    Reply
  73. I don’t much about my ancestors that emigrated. Lots of them did I know from stories my mother has told me. They all went to America. However, I know from a cousin, that we had a relation that was sent to Australia on a convicts ship. I love hearing about my past family and someday I will get round to following them up and make some kind of family tree. I have quite a few interesting relatives who were involved in world events in one way or another.

    Reply
  74. I don’t much about my ancestors that emigrated. Lots of them did I know from stories my mother has told me. They all went to America. However, I know from a cousin, that we had a relation that was sent to Australia on a convicts ship. I love hearing about my past family and someday I will get round to following them up and make some kind of family tree. I have quite a few interesting relatives who were involved in world events in one way or another.

    Reply
  75. I don’t much about my ancestors that emigrated. Lots of them did I know from stories my mother has told me. They all went to America. However, I know from a cousin, that we had a relation that was sent to Australia on a convicts ship. I love hearing about my past family and someday I will get round to following them up and make some kind of family tree. I have quite a few interesting relatives who were involved in world events in one way or another.

    Reply
  76. This is such a wonderful post, and I am amazed and awed by everyone’s family stories in the comments. I see several great stories that would make a great plot for a romance. Especially meeting on a ship, or in the line at Ellis Island!
    I don’t know much about my family history, so I can’t say if there were any mail-order brides. But I have nothing but sympathy for today’s refugees and displaced people, since my own parents were refugees.
    My mother and her younger brother traveled without their parents, from Vienna to England, on the Kindertransport in 1938, with thousands of other Jewish children. The children were then parcelled out to foster families, but my uncle says that initially when they arrived, the British government put them up in a summer holiday camp in huts in Dovercourt, near Harwich. These huts had bunk beds, no heating, a sink with cold running water, and being winter and near the sea it was extremely cold. His foster family turned out to be very kind and lovely people, but when he arrived, he didn’t speak a word of English, and they knew no German, so it was difficult to say the least.

    Reply
  77. This is such a wonderful post, and I am amazed and awed by everyone’s family stories in the comments. I see several great stories that would make a great plot for a romance. Especially meeting on a ship, or in the line at Ellis Island!
    I don’t know much about my family history, so I can’t say if there were any mail-order brides. But I have nothing but sympathy for today’s refugees and displaced people, since my own parents were refugees.
    My mother and her younger brother traveled without their parents, from Vienna to England, on the Kindertransport in 1938, with thousands of other Jewish children. The children were then parcelled out to foster families, but my uncle says that initially when they arrived, the British government put them up in a summer holiday camp in huts in Dovercourt, near Harwich. These huts had bunk beds, no heating, a sink with cold running water, and being winter and near the sea it was extremely cold. His foster family turned out to be very kind and lovely people, but when he arrived, he didn’t speak a word of English, and they knew no German, so it was difficult to say the least.

    Reply
  78. This is such a wonderful post, and I am amazed and awed by everyone’s family stories in the comments. I see several great stories that would make a great plot for a romance. Especially meeting on a ship, or in the line at Ellis Island!
    I don’t know much about my family history, so I can’t say if there were any mail-order brides. But I have nothing but sympathy for today’s refugees and displaced people, since my own parents were refugees.
    My mother and her younger brother traveled without their parents, from Vienna to England, on the Kindertransport in 1938, with thousands of other Jewish children. The children were then parcelled out to foster families, but my uncle says that initially when they arrived, the British government put them up in a summer holiday camp in huts in Dovercourt, near Harwich. These huts had bunk beds, no heating, a sink with cold running water, and being winter and near the sea it was extremely cold. His foster family turned out to be very kind and lovely people, but when he arrived, he didn’t speak a word of English, and they knew no German, so it was difficult to say the least.

    Reply
  79. This is such a wonderful post, and I am amazed and awed by everyone’s family stories in the comments. I see several great stories that would make a great plot for a romance. Especially meeting on a ship, or in the line at Ellis Island!
    I don’t know much about my family history, so I can’t say if there were any mail-order brides. But I have nothing but sympathy for today’s refugees and displaced people, since my own parents were refugees.
    My mother and her younger brother traveled without their parents, from Vienna to England, on the Kindertransport in 1938, with thousands of other Jewish children. The children were then parcelled out to foster families, but my uncle says that initially when they arrived, the British government put them up in a summer holiday camp in huts in Dovercourt, near Harwich. These huts had bunk beds, no heating, a sink with cold running water, and being winter and near the sea it was extremely cold. His foster family turned out to be very kind and lovely people, but when he arrived, he didn’t speak a word of English, and they knew no German, so it was difficult to say the least.

    Reply
  80. This is such a wonderful post, and I am amazed and awed by everyone’s family stories in the comments. I see several great stories that would make a great plot for a romance. Especially meeting on a ship, or in the line at Ellis Island!
    I don’t know much about my family history, so I can’t say if there were any mail-order brides. But I have nothing but sympathy for today’s refugees and displaced people, since my own parents were refugees.
    My mother and her younger brother traveled without their parents, from Vienna to England, on the Kindertransport in 1938, with thousands of other Jewish children. The children were then parcelled out to foster families, but my uncle says that initially when they arrived, the British government put them up in a summer holiday camp in huts in Dovercourt, near Harwich. These huts had bunk beds, no heating, a sink with cold running water, and being winter and near the sea it was extremely cold. His foster family turned out to be very kind and lovely people, but when he arrived, he didn’t speak a word of English, and they knew no German, so it was difficult to say the least.

    Reply
  81. My great great grandmother followed her husband to South Africa from England with their young son, a toddler. It wasn’t a choice. As a working man, he had high political ideals but in the course of of pursuing the rights of working men alongside figures like Carl Marx, he neglected his business and eventually had to flee England and his creditors. She was left living on the charity of friends after every single piece of furniture had been sold. When he sent her the fare, off they went. I think it took about 2 years. Sadly he didn’t learn from his mistakes and eventually committed suicide after going bankrupt a second time. Somehow she and her eldest son turned thing around and kept the family farm. I have a copy of a letter she wrote to the governor of the day complaining about the cost of getting fresh food to market. She was a midwife by trade and also acted as nurse to all the local people in their small rural community. I admire her tremendously and wish I knew more about her daily life but history is better at keeping records on men than women – especially if they were into politics and business, , no matter how badly the results turned out.

    Reply
  82. My great great grandmother followed her husband to South Africa from England with their young son, a toddler. It wasn’t a choice. As a working man, he had high political ideals but in the course of of pursuing the rights of working men alongside figures like Carl Marx, he neglected his business and eventually had to flee England and his creditors. She was left living on the charity of friends after every single piece of furniture had been sold. When he sent her the fare, off they went. I think it took about 2 years. Sadly he didn’t learn from his mistakes and eventually committed suicide after going bankrupt a second time. Somehow she and her eldest son turned thing around and kept the family farm. I have a copy of a letter she wrote to the governor of the day complaining about the cost of getting fresh food to market. She was a midwife by trade and also acted as nurse to all the local people in their small rural community. I admire her tremendously and wish I knew more about her daily life but history is better at keeping records on men than women – especially if they were into politics and business, , no matter how badly the results turned out.

    Reply
  83. My great great grandmother followed her husband to South Africa from England with their young son, a toddler. It wasn’t a choice. As a working man, he had high political ideals but in the course of of pursuing the rights of working men alongside figures like Carl Marx, he neglected his business and eventually had to flee England and his creditors. She was left living on the charity of friends after every single piece of furniture had been sold. When he sent her the fare, off they went. I think it took about 2 years. Sadly he didn’t learn from his mistakes and eventually committed suicide after going bankrupt a second time. Somehow she and her eldest son turned thing around and kept the family farm. I have a copy of a letter she wrote to the governor of the day complaining about the cost of getting fresh food to market. She was a midwife by trade and also acted as nurse to all the local people in their small rural community. I admire her tremendously and wish I knew more about her daily life but history is better at keeping records on men than women – especially if they were into politics and business, , no matter how badly the results turned out.

    Reply
  84. My great great grandmother followed her husband to South Africa from England with their young son, a toddler. It wasn’t a choice. As a working man, he had high political ideals but in the course of of pursuing the rights of working men alongside figures like Carl Marx, he neglected his business and eventually had to flee England and his creditors. She was left living on the charity of friends after every single piece of furniture had been sold. When he sent her the fare, off they went. I think it took about 2 years. Sadly he didn’t learn from his mistakes and eventually committed suicide after going bankrupt a second time. Somehow she and her eldest son turned thing around and kept the family farm. I have a copy of a letter she wrote to the governor of the day complaining about the cost of getting fresh food to market. She was a midwife by trade and also acted as nurse to all the local people in their small rural community. I admire her tremendously and wish I knew more about her daily life but history is better at keeping records on men than women – especially if they were into politics and business, , no matter how badly the results turned out.

    Reply
  85. My great great grandmother followed her husband to South Africa from England with their young son, a toddler. It wasn’t a choice. As a working man, he had high political ideals but in the course of of pursuing the rights of working men alongside figures like Carl Marx, he neglected his business and eventually had to flee England and his creditors. She was left living on the charity of friends after every single piece of furniture had been sold. When he sent her the fare, off they went. I think it took about 2 years. Sadly he didn’t learn from his mistakes and eventually committed suicide after going bankrupt a second time. Somehow she and her eldest son turned thing around and kept the family farm. I have a copy of a letter she wrote to the governor of the day complaining about the cost of getting fresh food to market. She was a midwife by trade and also acted as nurse to all the local people in their small rural community. I admire her tremendously and wish I knew more about her daily life but history is better at keeping records on men than women – especially if they were into politics and business, , no matter how badly the results turned out.

    Reply
  86. Three of my great grandmothers came to the U. S. in the late 1840s. The one from Germany and the one from the Netherlands came with their families. I don’t know much about the German one as yet except that my seldom used first name, Carolyn, is in her honor. The Netherlands one told stories to my mother and her sisters. And I learned from a genealogy correspondant that they left “for religious reasons.”
    But the unknown, “anonymous” third who came from Ireland. I do know her name to some extent. One statement calls her “Mary,” a census record calls her “Bridget” and her last name is Murphy! Family tradition says she came alone (or with a friend, or found the friend during the travel) and that she/they came from County Cork. And that they landed in New Orleans.
    You can hardly be more anonymous than that. She married my mother’s grandfather after she got here and they moved to Missouri together. They died when my grandfather was 11 or so. He then lived with his “god-parents” and the wife may have been the travel companion.
    So far, I haven’t found much else for either of them. BUT, because of the purported time of travel she may have been escaping the potato famine. I think she probably fits your description of courage, desperation, and hope.

    Reply
  87. Three of my great grandmothers came to the U. S. in the late 1840s. The one from Germany and the one from the Netherlands came with their families. I don’t know much about the German one as yet except that my seldom used first name, Carolyn, is in her honor. The Netherlands one told stories to my mother and her sisters. And I learned from a genealogy correspondant that they left “for religious reasons.”
    But the unknown, “anonymous” third who came from Ireland. I do know her name to some extent. One statement calls her “Mary,” a census record calls her “Bridget” and her last name is Murphy! Family tradition says she came alone (or with a friend, or found the friend during the travel) and that she/they came from County Cork. And that they landed in New Orleans.
    You can hardly be more anonymous than that. She married my mother’s grandfather after she got here and they moved to Missouri together. They died when my grandfather was 11 or so. He then lived with his “god-parents” and the wife may have been the travel companion.
    So far, I haven’t found much else for either of them. BUT, because of the purported time of travel she may have been escaping the potato famine. I think she probably fits your description of courage, desperation, and hope.

    Reply
  88. Three of my great grandmothers came to the U. S. in the late 1840s. The one from Germany and the one from the Netherlands came with their families. I don’t know much about the German one as yet except that my seldom used first name, Carolyn, is in her honor. The Netherlands one told stories to my mother and her sisters. And I learned from a genealogy correspondant that they left “for religious reasons.”
    But the unknown, “anonymous” third who came from Ireland. I do know her name to some extent. One statement calls her “Mary,” a census record calls her “Bridget” and her last name is Murphy! Family tradition says she came alone (or with a friend, or found the friend during the travel) and that she/they came from County Cork. And that they landed in New Orleans.
    You can hardly be more anonymous than that. She married my mother’s grandfather after she got here and they moved to Missouri together. They died when my grandfather was 11 or so. He then lived with his “god-parents” and the wife may have been the travel companion.
    So far, I haven’t found much else for either of them. BUT, because of the purported time of travel she may have been escaping the potato famine. I think she probably fits your description of courage, desperation, and hope.

    Reply
  89. Three of my great grandmothers came to the U. S. in the late 1840s. The one from Germany and the one from the Netherlands came with their families. I don’t know much about the German one as yet except that my seldom used first name, Carolyn, is in her honor. The Netherlands one told stories to my mother and her sisters. And I learned from a genealogy correspondant that they left “for religious reasons.”
    But the unknown, “anonymous” third who came from Ireland. I do know her name to some extent. One statement calls her “Mary,” a census record calls her “Bridget” and her last name is Murphy! Family tradition says she came alone (or with a friend, or found the friend during the travel) and that she/they came from County Cork. And that they landed in New Orleans.
    You can hardly be more anonymous than that. She married my mother’s grandfather after she got here and they moved to Missouri together. They died when my grandfather was 11 or so. He then lived with his “god-parents” and the wife may have been the travel companion.
    So far, I haven’t found much else for either of them. BUT, because of the purported time of travel she may have been escaping the potato famine. I think she probably fits your description of courage, desperation, and hope.

    Reply
  90. Three of my great grandmothers came to the U. S. in the late 1840s. The one from Germany and the one from the Netherlands came with their families. I don’t know much about the German one as yet except that my seldom used first name, Carolyn, is in her honor. The Netherlands one told stories to my mother and her sisters. And I learned from a genealogy correspondant that they left “for religious reasons.”
    But the unknown, “anonymous” third who came from Ireland. I do know her name to some extent. One statement calls her “Mary,” a census record calls her “Bridget” and her last name is Murphy! Family tradition says she came alone (or with a friend, or found the friend during the travel) and that she/they came from County Cork. And that they landed in New Orleans.
    You can hardly be more anonymous than that. She married my mother’s grandfather after she got here and they moved to Missouri together. They died when my grandfather was 11 or so. He then lived with his “god-parents” and the wife may have been the travel companion.
    So far, I haven’t found much else for either of them. BUT, because of the purported time of travel she may have been escaping the potato famine. I think she probably fits your description of courage, desperation, and hope.

    Reply
  91. Wow, Linda, isn’t it amazing when you find out about your family history? It’s sobering, thinking about the hardships and privations of our ancestors’ lives — and yes, your ancestor who died at ninety must have been a tough cookie. A lot of the so-called “convicts” sent to Australia were there for political reasons, too.
    As for the families scattered across the globe — I, too have that, with Mum’s cousins in Canada and the US, as well as those back in Ireland — not to mention those here, scattered across this big continent.

    Reply
  92. Wow, Linda, isn’t it amazing when you find out about your family history? It’s sobering, thinking about the hardships and privations of our ancestors’ lives — and yes, your ancestor who died at ninety must have been a tough cookie. A lot of the so-called “convicts” sent to Australia were there for political reasons, too.
    As for the families scattered across the globe — I, too have that, with Mum’s cousins in Canada and the US, as well as those back in Ireland — not to mention those here, scattered across this big continent.

    Reply
  93. Wow, Linda, isn’t it amazing when you find out about your family history? It’s sobering, thinking about the hardships and privations of our ancestors’ lives — and yes, your ancestor who died at ninety must have been a tough cookie. A lot of the so-called “convicts” sent to Australia were there for political reasons, too.
    As for the families scattered across the globe — I, too have that, with Mum’s cousins in Canada and the US, as well as those back in Ireland — not to mention those here, scattered across this big continent.

    Reply
  94. Wow, Linda, isn’t it amazing when you find out about your family history? It’s sobering, thinking about the hardships and privations of our ancestors’ lives — and yes, your ancestor who died at ninety must have been a tough cookie. A lot of the so-called “convicts” sent to Australia were there for political reasons, too.
    As for the families scattered across the globe — I, too have that, with Mum’s cousins in Canada and the US, as well as those back in Ireland — not to mention those here, scattered across this big continent.

    Reply
  95. Wow, Linda, isn’t it amazing when you find out about your family history? It’s sobering, thinking about the hardships and privations of our ancestors’ lives — and yes, your ancestor who died at ninety must have been a tough cookie. A lot of the so-called “convicts” sent to Australia were there for political reasons, too.
    As for the families scattered across the globe — I, too have that, with Mum’s cousins in Canada and the US, as well as those back in Ireland — not to mention those here, scattered across this big continent.

    Reply
  96. They sure are, Annette. And I’m not sure whether I agree that the wagon train journey was more frightening — I think migration to the west of America and boarding a ship that crossed the ocean carried different risks, but could be equally frightening. The ships were crowded, often dirty, and the food was meagre and of low quality. Disease was rife, and seasickness and probably dysentery was rife, with little done to cope with it. As well, storms could blow them off course for days and weeks.
    Near where I was born in Australia, there is a very long stretch called “The ShipWreck Coast” because hundreds of ships were wrecked there, and most of the passengers drowned, tragically within sight of the land they’d travelled months to reach.
    These days people still board flimsy, ill-equipped boats to try to reach Australia in hope of a better life. If they make it through the dangers of the sea, survive attacks by pirates (still rife in those areas) and land on a part of the coast that isn’t desert, they’re arrested. Weird that we honor our ancestors for doing it, and arrest people today for the same act of desperation and courage.

    Reply
  97. They sure are, Annette. And I’m not sure whether I agree that the wagon train journey was more frightening — I think migration to the west of America and boarding a ship that crossed the ocean carried different risks, but could be equally frightening. The ships were crowded, often dirty, and the food was meagre and of low quality. Disease was rife, and seasickness and probably dysentery was rife, with little done to cope with it. As well, storms could blow them off course for days and weeks.
    Near where I was born in Australia, there is a very long stretch called “The ShipWreck Coast” because hundreds of ships were wrecked there, and most of the passengers drowned, tragically within sight of the land they’d travelled months to reach.
    These days people still board flimsy, ill-equipped boats to try to reach Australia in hope of a better life. If they make it through the dangers of the sea, survive attacks by pirates (still rife in those areas) and land on a part of the coast that isn’t desert, they’re arrested. Weird that we honor our ancestors for doing it, and arrest people today for the same act of desperation and courage.

    Reply
  98. They sure are, Annette. And I’m not sure whether I agree that the wagon train journey was more frightening — I think migration to the west of America and boarding a ship that crossed the ocean carried different risks, but could be equally frightening. The ships were crowded, often dirty, and the food was meagre and of low quality. Disease was rife, and seasickness and probably dysentery was rife, with little done to cope with it. As well, storms could blow them off course for days and weeks.
    Near where I was born in Australia, there is a very long stretch called “The ShipWreck Coast” because hundreds of ships were wrecked there, and most of the passengers drowned, tragically within sight of the land they’d travelled months to reach.
    These days people still board flimsy, ill-equipped boats to try to reach Australia in hope of a better life. If they make it through the dangers of the sea, survive attacks by pirates (still rife in those areas) and land on a part of the coast that isn’t desert, they’re arrested. Weird that we honor our ancestors for doing it, and arrest people today for the same act of desperation and courage.

    Reply
  99. They sure are, Annette. And I’m not sure whether I agree that the wagon train journey was more frightening — I think migration to the west of America and boarding a ship that crossed the ocean carried different risks, but could be equally frightening. The ships were crowded, often dirty, and the food was meagre and of low quality. Disease was rife, and seasickness and probably dysentery was rife, with little done to cope with it. As well, storms could blow them off course for days and weeks.
    Near where I was born in Australia, there is a very long stretch called “The ShipWreck Coast” because hundreds of ships were wrecked there, and most of the passengers drowned, tragically within sight of the land they’d travelled months to reach.
    These days people still board flimsy, ill-equipped boats to try to reach Australia in hope of a better life. If they make it through the dangers of the sea, survive attacks by pirates (still rife in those areas) and land on a part of the coast that isn’t desert, they’re arrested. Weird that we honor our ancestors for doing it, and arrest people today for the same act of desperation and courage.

    Reply
  100. They sure are, Annette. And I’m not sure whether I agree that the wagon train journey was more frightening — I think migration to the west of America and boarding a ship that crossed the ocean carried different risks, but could be equally frightening. The ships were crowded, often dirty, and the food was meagre and of low quality. Disease was rife, and seasickness and probably dysentery was rife, with little done to cope with it. As well, storms could blow them off course for days and weeks.
    Near where I was born in Australia, there is a very long stretch called “The ShipWreck Coast” because hundreds of ships were wrecked there, and most of the passengers drowned, tragically within sight of the land they’d travelled months to reach.
    These days people still board flimsy, ill-equipped boats to try to reach Australia in hope of a better life. If they make it through the dangers of the sea, survive attacks by pirates (still rife in those areas) and land on a part of the coast that isn’t desert, they’re arrested. Weird that we honor our ancestors for doing it, and arrest people today for the same act of desperation and courage.

    Reply
  101. How interesting, Teresa. A lot of the “convicts” sent to Australia were sentenced for acts that today we would hardly count as serious. Stealing food, clothing, and many were sentenced to 7 years transportation for their political beliefs. Some were children as young as 7 or 8. One convict a friend of mine found was a 70 year old woman who’d stolen a 5 pound round of cheese. There certainly were plenty of baddies, but they hanged the serious criminals back in England. Certainly the life of a convict hardened many—they were very harshly treated— and some fairly harmless types soon became criminals. But many who came as convicts went on to make good and useful lives, and helped build the new society. It’ll be interesting to discover whether your relative was an actual crook or an unfortunate victim of the society of the day.

    Reply
  102. How interesting, Teresa. A lot of the “convicts” sent to Australia were sentenced for acts that today we would hardly count as serious. Stealing food, clothing, and many were sentenced to 7 years transportation for their political beliefs. Some were children as young as 7 or 8. One convict a friend of mine found was a 70 year old woman who’d stolen a 5 pound round of cheese. There certainly were plenty of baddies, but they hanged the serious criminals back in England. Certainly the life of a convict hardened many—they were very harshly treated— and some fairly harmless types soon became criminals. But many who came as convicts went on to make good and useful lives, and helped build the new society. It’ll be interesting to discover whether your relative was an actual crook or an unfortunate victim of the society of the day.

    Reply
  103. How interesting, Teresa. A lot of the “convicts” sent to Australia were sentenced for acts that today we would hardly count as serious. Stealing food, clothing, and many were sentenced to 7 years transportation for their political beliefs. Some were children as young as 7 or 8. One convict a friend of mine found was a 70 year old woman who’d stolen a 5 pound round of cheese. There certainly were plenty of baddies, but they hanged the serious criminals back in England. Certainly the life of a convict hardened many—they were very harshly treated— and some fairly harmless types soon became criminals. But many who came as convicts went on to make good and useful lives, and helped build the new society. It’ll be interesting to discover whether your relative was an actual crook or an unfortunate victim of the society of the day.

    Reply
  104. How interesting, Teresa. A lot of the “convicts” sent to Australia were sentenced for acts that today we would hardly count as serious. Stealing food, clothing, and many were sentenced to 7 years transportation for their political beliefs. Some were children as young as 7 or 8. One convict a friend of mine found was a 70 year old woman who’d stolen a 5 pound round of cheese. There certainly were plenty of baddies, but they hanged the serious criminals back in England. Certainly the life of a convict hardened many—they were very harshly treated— and some fairly harmless types soon became criminals. But many who came as convicts went on to make good and useful lives, and helped build the new society. It’ll be interesting to discover whether your relative was an actual crook or an unfortunate victim of the society of the day.

    Reply
  105. How interesting, Teresa. A lot of the “convicts” sent to Australia were sentenced for acts that today we would hardly count as serious. Stealing food, clothing, and many were sentenced to 7 years transportation for their political beliefs. Some were children as young as 7 or 8. One convict a friend of mine found was a 70 year old woman who’d stolen a 5 pound round of cheese. There certainly were plenty of baddies, but they hanged the serious criminals back in England. Certainly the life of a convict hardened many—they were very harshly treated— and some fairly harmless types soon became criminals. But many who came as convicts went on to make good and useful lives, and helped build the new society. It’ll be interesting to discover whether your relative was an actual crook or an unfortunate victim of the society of the day.

    Reply
  106. Oh, Karin — such hardship and suffering by so many. How frightening it must have been for your mother and her brother — and of course they remember the cold and barrenness of that “holiday camp” — just like Sonia’s people thought they were in cattle huts. Emergency measures, trying to cope with a flood of traumatized refugees. Terrible times.

    Reply
  107. Oh, Karin — such hardship and suffering by so many. How frightening it must have been for your mother and her brother — and of course they remember the cold and barrenness of that “holiday camp” — just like Sonia’s people thought they were in cattle huts. Emergency measures, trying to cope with a flood of traumatized refugees. Terrible times.

    Reply
  108. Oh, Karin — such hardship and suffering by so many. How frightening it must have been for your mother and her brother — and of course they remember the cold and barrenness of that “holiday camp” — just like Sonia’s people thought they were in cattle huts. Emergency measures, trying to cope with a flood of traumatized refugees. Terrible times.

    Reply
  109. Oh, Karin — such hardship and suffering by so many. How frightening it must have been for your mother and her brother — and of course they remember the cold and barrenness of that “holiday camp” — just like Sonia’s people thought they were in cattle huts. Emergency measures, trying to cope with a flood of traumatized refugees. Terrible times.

    Reply
  110. Oh, Karin — such hardship and suffering by so many. How frightening it must have been for your mother and her brother — and of course they remember the cold and barrenness of that “holiday camp” — just like Sonia’s people thought they were in cattle huts. Emergency measures, trying to cope with a flood of traumatized refugees. Terrible times.

    Reply
  111. Wow Laura, what an amazing story — she must have been a wonderful woman. And reading between the lines of your story, there must have been enormous stress and hardship and struggle. Isn’t it incredible what the so called “weaker sex” is capable of? I think you’re going to have to write that story, don’t you?

    Reply
  112. Wow Laura, what an amazing story — she must have been a wonderful woman. And reading between the lines of your story, there must have been enormous stress and hardship and struggle. Isn’t it incredible what the so called “weaker sex” is capable of? I think you’re going to have to write that story, don’t you?

    Reply
  113. Wow Laura, what an amazing story — she must have been a wonderful woman. And reading between the lines of your story, there must have been enormous stress and hardship and struggle. Isn’t it incredible what the so called “weaker sex” is capable of? I think you’re going to have to write that story, don’t you?

    Reply
  114. Wow Laura, what an amazing story — she must have been a wonderful woman. And reading between the lines of your story, there must have been enormous stress and hardship and struggle. Isn’t it incredible what the so called “weaker sex” is capable of? I think you’re going to have to write that story, don’t you?

    Reply
  115. Wow Laura, what an amazing story — she must have been a wonderful woman. And reading between the lines of your story, there must have been enormous stress and hardship and struggle. Isn’t it incredible what the so called “weaker sex” is capable of? I think you’re going to have to write that story, don’t you?

    Reply
  116. I think so, too, Sue — the timing is right. And every time I think of the Irish Potato Famine my blood boils because at the same time agriculture in Ireland was booming — bumper wheat crops for instance — the virus or whatever it was only affected potatoes, which happened to be the single crop that the majority of Irish lived on. So a bumper wheat crop — but did they use it to feed the people? No. They let them die.
    The German side of things, leaving for Religious reasons — that happened here. South Australia (Adelaide) was largely settled by people seeking religious freedom. No convicts there — Adelaide is known as “the city of churches.” And there are whole towns and regions in South Australia that are still very German — you never know, you might have some long lost relatives there.

    Reply
  117. I think so, too, Sue — the timing is right. And every time I think of the Irish Potato Famine my blood boils because at the same time agriculture in Ireland was booming — bumper wheat crops for instance — the virus or whatever it was only affected potatoes, which happened to be the single crop that the majority of Irish lived on. So a bumper wheat crop — but did they use it to feed the people? No. They let them die.
    The German side of things, leaving for Religious reasons — that happened here. South Australia (Adelaide) was largely settled by people seeking religious freedom. No convicts there — Adelaide is known as “the city of churches.” And there are whole towns and regions in South Australia that are still very German — you never know, you might have some long lost relatives there.

    Reply
  118. I think so, too, Sue — the timing is right. And every time I think of the Irish Potato Famine my blood boils because at the same time agriculture in Ireland was booming — bumper wheat crops for instance — the virus or whatever it was only affected potatoes, which happened to be the single crop that the majority of Irish lived on. So a bumper wheat crop — but did they use it to feed the people? No. They let them die.
    The German side of things, leaving for Religious reasons — that happened here. South Australia (Adelaide) was largely settled by people seeking religious freedom. No convicts there — Adelaide is known as “the city of churches.” And there are whole towns and regions in South Australia that are still very German — you never know, you might have some long lost relatives there.

    Reply
  119. I think so, too, Sue — the timing is right. And every time I think of the Irish Potato Famine my blood boils because at the same time agriculture in Ireland was booming — bumper wheat crops for instance — the virus or whatever it was only affected potatoes, which happened to be the single crop that the majority of Irish lived on. So a bumper wheat crop — but did they use it to feed the people? No. They let them die.
    The German side of things, leaving for Religious reasons — that happened here. South Australia (Adelaide) was largely settled by people seeking religious freedom. No convicts there — Adelaide is known as “the city of churches.” And there are whole towns and regions in South Australia that are still very German — you never know, you might have some long lost relatives there.

    Reply
  120. I think so, too, Sue — the timing is right. And every time I think of the Irish Potato Famine my blood boils because at the same time agriculture in Ireland was booming — bumper wheat crops for instance — the virus or whatever it was only affected potatoes, which happened to be the single crop that the majority of Irish lived on. So a bumper wheat crop — but did they use it to feed the people? No. They let them die.
    The German side of things, leaving for Religious reasons — that happened here. South Australia (Adelaide) was largely settled by people seeking religious freedom. No convicts there — Adelaide is known as “the city of churches.” And there are whole towns and regions in South Australia that are still very German — you never know, you might have some long lost relatives there.

    Reply
  121. Yours is my first blog post from the Word Wenches that I’ve read. Lovely and thoughtful. It strikes me that a contemporary parallel to “mail order bride” is creating a profile on an internet dating site. Certainly you get to see, write and talk with whomever shows an interest. But it’s still a chancey thing — fueled mostly by hope.

    Reply
  122. Yours is my first blog post from the Word Wenches that I’ve read. Lovely and thoughtful. It strikes me that a contemporary parallel to “mail order bride” is creating a profile on an internet dating site. Certainly you get to see, write and talk with whomever shows an interest. But it’s still a chancey thing — fueled mostly by hope.

    Reply
  123. Yours is my first blog post from the Word Wenches that I’ve read. Lovely and thoughtful. It strikes me that a contemporary parallel to “mail order bride” is creating a profile on an internet dating site. Certainly you get to see, write and talk with whomever shows an interest. But it’s still a chancey thing — fueled mostly by hope.

    Reply
  124. Yours is my first blog post from the Word Wenches that I’ve read. Lovely and thoughtful. It strikes me that a contemporary parallel to “mail order bride” is creating a profile on an internet dating site. Certainly you get to see, write and talk with whomever shows an interest. But it’s still a chancey thing — fueled mostly by hope.

    Reply
  125. Yours is my first blog post from the Word Wenches that I’ve read. Lovely and thoughtful. It strikes me that a contemporary parallel to “mail order bride” is creating a profile on an internet dating site. Certainly you get to see, write and talk with whomever shows an interest. But it’s still a chancey thing — fueled mostly by hope.

    Reply
  126. Very interesting article but I have to admit all the stories in the comments are just as fascinating! My Mum’s youngest sister left England with her young husband to emigrate to Canada. When my mother and father decided to emigrate too, we had a choice of Canada or Australia. Australia had my mother’s Great-Uncle Leslie’s family, but Canada had her baby sister. So off to Canada we went. Auntie Pauline traveled by ship and we flew (Mum, Dad, and four children!) then took the train from Montreal across Canada to Vancouver then across the Ferry to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. That was 4 days on the train. Just after Easter and we pigged out on Easter Candy and were all sicker than dogs on the train. My poor mother still shudders!
    My husband and I met on Vancouver Island and just as we both needed work, his parents bought a restaurant in Northern BC. We were invited to move up there and work. He went 3 months before me and I took a 26 hour bus trip to meet him.
    I shared some of those emotions of the women who moved so far from their families as I only knew my husband, and his younger brother. I’d met his parents once over a weekend. but it was only supposed to be for six months. We stayed up there for 3 years before they sold the restaurant and we moved back down to the Island.
    I called it my baptism of fire. If we could survive that, we could survive anything. Thirty-four years later it still seems to be working.
    It was very hard to be so far from my family – my sister especially but it was ‘paying my dues’ so I just buckled down and made a place for myself. Made friends and discovered just how much I could learn to love another set of parents. I still miss his parents dreadfully but now I treasure that time up in the frozen north for just getting to spend so much time out of my comfort zone and learning that with the right person at your side, you can face pretty much anything!
    But I’m very happy to be back on Vancouver Island and not in the frozen north! 😀
    Hubby now says when someone asks why he doesn’t move north, “It’s not worth my marriage!” Smart man! 😀

    Reply
  127. Very interesting article but I have to admit all the stories in the comments are just as fascinating! My Mum’s youngest sister left England with her young husband to emigrate to Canada. When my mother and father decided to emigrate too, we had a choice of Canada or Australia. Australia had my mother’s Great-Uncle Leslie’s family, but Canada had her baby sister. So off to Canada we went. Auntie Pauline traveled by ship and we flew (Mum, Dad, and four children!) then took the train from Montreal across Canada to Vancouver then across the Ferry to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. That was 4 days on the train. Just after Easter and we pigged out on Easter Candy and were all sicker than dogs on the train. My poor mother still shudders!
    My husband and I met on Vancouver Island and just as we both needed work, his parents bought a restaurant in Northern BC. We were invited to move up there and work. He went 3 months before me and I took a 26 hour bus trip to meet him.
    I shared some of those emotions of the women who moved so far from their families as I only knew my husband, and his younger brother. I’d met his parents once over a weekend. but it was only supposed to be for six months. We stayed up there for 3 years before they sold the restaurant and we moved back down to the Island.
    I called it my baptism of fire. If we could survive that, we could survive anything. Thirty-four years later it still seems to be working.
    It was very hard to be so far from my family – my sister especially but it was ‘paying my dues’ so I just buckled down and made a place for myself. Made friends and discovered just how much I could learn to love another set of parents. I still miss his parents dreadfully but now I treasure that time up in the frozen north for just getting to spend so much time out of my comfort zone and learning that with the right person at your side, you can face pretty much anything!
    But I’m very happy to be back on Vancouver Island and not in the frozen north! 😀
    Hubby now says when someone asks why he doesn’t move north, “It’s not worth my marriage!” Smart man! 😀

    Reply
  128. Very interesting article but I have to admit all the stories in the comments are just as fascinating! My Mum’s youngest sister left England with her young husband to emigrate to Canada. When my mother and father decided to emigrate too, we had a choice of Canada or Australia. Australia had my mother’s Great-Uncle Leslie’s family, but Canada had her baby sister. So off to Canada we went. Auntie Pauline traveled by ship and we flew (Mum, Dad, and four children!) then took the train from Montreal across Canada to Vancouver then across the Ferry to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. That was 4 days on the train. Just after Easter and we pigged out on Easter Candy and were all sicker than dogs on the train. My poor mother still shudders!
    My husband and I met on Vancouver Island and just as we both needed work, his parents bought a restaurant in Northern BC. We were invited to move up there and work. He went 3 months before me and I took a 26 hour bus trip to meet him.
    I shared some of those emotions of the women who moved so far from their families as I only knew my husband, and his younger brother. I’d met his parents once over a weekend. but it was only supposed to be for six months. We stayed up there for 3 years before they sold the restaurant and we moved back down to the Island.
    I called it my baptism of fire. If we could survive that, we could survive anything. Thirty-four years later it still seems to be working.
    It was very hard to be so far from my family – my sister especially but it was ‘paying my dues’ so I just buckled down and made a place for myself. Made friends and discovered just how much I could learn to love another set of parents. I still miss his parents dreadfully but now I treasure that time up in the frozen north for just getting to spend so much time out of my comfort zone and learning that with the right person at your side, you can face pretty much anything!
    But I’m very happy to be back on Vancouver Island and not in the frozen north! 😀
    Hubby now says when someone asks why he doesn’t move north, “It’s not worth my marriage!” Smart man! 😀

    Reply
  129. Very interesting article but I have to admit all the stories in the comments are just as fascinating! My Mum’s youngest sister left England with her young husband to emigrate to Canada. When my mother and father decided to emigrate too, we had a choice of Canada or Australia. Australia had my mother’s Great-Uncle Leslie’s family, but Canada had her baby sister. So off to Canada we went. Auntie Pauline traveled by ship and we flew (Mum, Dad, and four children!) then took the train from Montreal across Canada to Vancouver then across the Ferry to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. That was 4 days on the train. Just after Easter and we pigged out on Easter Candy and were all sicker than dogs on the train. My poor mother still shudders!
    My husband and I met on Vancouver Island and just as we both needed work, his parents bought a restaurant in Northern BC. We were invited to move up there and work. He went 3 months before me and I took a 26 hour bus trip to meet him.
    I shared some of those emotions of the women who moved so far from their families as I only knew my husband, and his younger brother. I’d met his parents once over a weekend. but it was only supposed to be for six months. We stayed up there for 3 years before they sold the restaurant and we moved back down to the Island.
    I called it my baptism of fire. If we could survive that, we could survive anything. Thirty-four years later it still seems to be working.
    It was very hard to be so far from my family – my sister especially but it was ‘paying my dues’ so I just buckled down and made a place for myself. Made friends and discovered just how much I could learn to love another set of parents. I still miss his parents dreadfully but now I treasure that time up in the frozen north for just getting to spend so much time out of my comfort zone and learning that with the right person at your side, you can face pretty much anything!
    But I’m very happy to be back on Vancouver Island and not in the frozen north! 😀
    Hubby now says when someone asks why he doesn’t move north, “It’s not worth my marriage!” Smart man! 😀

    Reply
  130. Very interesting article but I have to admit all the stories in the comments are just as fascinating! My Mum’s youngest sister left England with her young husband to emigrate to Canada. When my mother and father decided to emigrate too, we had a choice of Canada or Australia. Australia had my mother’s Great-Uncle Leslie’s family, but Canada had her baby sister. So off to Canada we went. Auntie Pauline traveled by ship and we flew (Mum, Dad, and four children!) then took the train from Montreal across Canada to Vancouver then across the Ferry to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. That was 4 days on the train. Just after Easter and we pigged out on Easter Candy and were all sicker than dogs on the train. My poor mother still shudders!
    My husband and I met on Vancouver Island and just as we both needed work, his parents bought a restaurant in Northern BC. We were invited to move up there and work. He went 3 months before me and I took a 26 hour bus trip to meet him.
    I shared some of those emotions of the women who moved so far from their families as I only knew my husband, and his younger brother. I’d met his parents once over a weekend. but it was only supposed to be for six months. We stayed up there for 3 years before they sold the restaurant and we moved back down to the Island.
    I called it my baptism of fire. If we could survive that, we could survive anything. Thirty-four years later it still seems to be working.
    It was very hard to be so far from my family – my sister especially but it was ‘paying my dues’ so I just buckled down and made a place for myself. Made friends and discovered just how much I could learn to love another set of parents. I still miss his parents dreadfully but now I treasure that time up in the frozen north for just getting to spend so much time out of my comfort zone and learning that with the right person at your side, you can face pretty much anything!
    But I’m very happy to be back on Vancouver Island and not in the frozen north! 😀
    Hubby now says when someone asks why he doesn’t move north, “It’s not worth my marriage!” Smart man! 😀

    Reply
  131. Hi Anne
    My cousin was a ten pound Pom he went to Australia in the mid 60
    and still after living there for all these years his neighbors still call him
    “A ten pound Pom” it’s the standard joke when they arrive at a get together.
    As he is very popular no one minds just laugh.
    Lynne

    Reply
  132. Hi Anne
    My cousin was a ten pound Pom he went to Australia in the mid 60
    and still after living there for all these years his neighbors still call him
    “A ten pound Pom” it’s the standard joke when they arrive at a get together.
    As he is very popular no one minds just laugh.
    Lynne

    Reply
  133. Hi Anne
    My cousin was a ten pound Pom he went to Australia in the mid 60
    and still after living there for all these years his neighbors still call him
    “A ten pound Pom” it’s the standard joke when they arrive at a get together.
    As he is very popular no one minds just laugh.
    Lynne

    Reply
  134. Hi Anne
    My cousin was a ten pound Pom he went to Australia in the mid 60
    and still after living there for all these years his neighbors still call him
    “A ten pound Pom” it’s the standard joke when they arrive at a get together.
    As he is very popular no one minds just laugh.
    Lynne

    Reply
  135. Hi Anne
    My cousin was a ten pound Pom he went to Australia in the mid 60
    and still after living there for all these years his neighbors still call him
    “A ten pound Pom” it’s the standard joke when they arrive at a get together.
    As he is very popular no one minds just laugh.
    Lynne

    Reply
  136. Lynne, gosh, I haven’t heard that term actually used for years. If I were your cousin, I’d be getting a bit sick of hearing it. But I bet half the people there don’t even know what it means.

    Reply
  137. Lynne, gosh, I haven’t heard that term actually used for years. If I were your cousin, I’d be getting a bit sick of hearing it. But I bet half the people there don’t even know what it means.

    Reply
  138. Lynne, gosh, I haven’t heard that term actually used for years. If I were your cousin, I’d be getting a bit sick of hearing it. But I bet half the people there don’t even know what it means.

    Reply
  139. Lynne, gosh, I haven’t heard that term actually used for years. If I were your cousin, I’d be getting a bit sick of hearing it. But I bet half the people there don’t even know what it means.

    Reply
  140. Lynne, gosh, I haven’t heard that term actually used for years. If I were your cousin, I’d be getting a bit sick of hearing it. But I bet half the people there don’t even know what it means.

    Reply
  141. Hi Suzie, welcome to Wenchland. I hope you keep visiting. There’s a bit of a parallel between mail-order brides and internet dating, but the second one is a little less risky, I think, in that you can take it in steps. Several friends of mine have found their life partners through internet dating, and in both cases, they started out meeting for a coffee. Those mail order brides pretty much had to commit blind. Scary thought — and a happy ending is indeed the triumph of hope, which is what makes those stories so irresistible to me.

    Reply
  142. Hi Suzie, welcome to Wenchland. I hope you keep visiting. There’s a bit of a parallel between mail-order brides and internet dating, but the second one is a little less risky, I think, in that you can take it in steps. Several friends of mine have found their life partners through internet dating, and in both cases, they started out meeting for a coffee. Those mail order brides pretty much had to commit blind. Scary thought — and a happy ending is indeed the triumph of hope, which is what makes those stories so irresistible to me.

    Reply
  143. Hi Suzie, welcome to Wenchland. I hope you keep visiting. There’s a bit of a parallel between mail-order brides and internet dating, but the second one is a little less risky, I think, in that you can take it in steps. Several friends of mine have found their life partners through internet dating, and in both cases, they started out meeting for a coffee. Those mail order brides pretty much had to commit blind. Scary thought — and a happy ending is indeed the triumph of hope, which is what makes those stories so irresistible to me.

    Reply
  144. Hi Suzie, welcome to Wenchland. I hope you keep visiting. There’s a bit of a parallel between mail-order brides and internet dating, but the second one is a little less risky, I think, in that you can take it in steps. Several friends of mine have found their life partners through internet dating, and in both cases, they started out meeting for a coffee. Those mail order brides pretty much had to commit blind. Scary thought — and a happy ending is indeed the triumph of hope, which is what makes those stories so irresistible to me.

    Reply
  145. Hi Suzie, welcome to Wenchland. I hope you keep visiting. There’s a bit of a parallel between mail-order brides and internet dating, but the second one is a little less risky, I think, in that you can take it in steps. Several friends of mine have found their life partners through internet dating, and in both cases, they started out meeting for a coffee. Those mail order brides pretty much had to commit blind. Scary thought — and a happy ending is indeed the triumph of hope, which is what makes those stories so irresistible to me.

    Reply
  146. Karen, one of the features of our wench blog is that the comment stream is always interesting. It’s what attracted me to reading the blog long before I became a wench. And yes, the personal stories that people are sharing here are wonderful. And yours is no exception — I’ve been to northern BC, as far as Prince Rupert, admittedly in the summer, and wow, it must have been an adventure to live and work there, especially through those long, cold winters. Glad you’re back on Vancouver Island — it’s so pretty.
    Your comment made me think of my friend’s mum, who many years after migration, went back to their village in Greece for a holiday. Her dad loved every minute of it — for him it was all drinking coffee and playing cards and going hunting in the mountains with old friends. For my friend’s mum it was all housework with no mod-cons, lugging water in from outside, cooking over a wood stove. Three months and she was, “I’m going home now, Nick. Coming?” And of course, he came.

    Reply
  147. Karen, one of the features of our wench blog is that the comment stream is always interesting. It’s what attracted me to reading the blog long before I became a wench. And yes, the personal stories that people are sharing here are wonderful. And yours is no exception — I’ve been to northern BC, as far as Prince Rupert, admittedly in the summer, and wow, it must have been an adventure to live and work there, especially through those long, cold winters. Glad you’re back on Vancouver Island — it’s so pretty.
    Your comment made me think of my friend’s mum, who many years after migration, went back to their village in Greece for a holiday. Her dad loved every minute of it — for him it was all drinking coffee and playing cards and going hunting in the mountains with old friends. For my friend’s mum it was all housework with no mod-cons, lugging water in from outside, cooking over a wood stove. Three months and she was, “I’m going home now, Nick. Coming?” And of course, he came.

    Reply
  148. Karen, one of the features of our wench blog is that the comment stream is always interesting. It’s what attracted me to reading the blog long before I became a wench. And yes, the personal stories that people are sharing here are wonderful. And yours is no exception — I’ve been to northern BC, as far as Prince Rupert, admittedly in the summer, and wow, it must have been an adventure to live and work there, especially through those long, cold winters. Glad you’re back on Vancouver Island — it’s so pretty.
    Your comment made me think of my friend’s mum, who many years after migration, went back to their village in Greece for a holiday. Her dad loved every minute of it — for him it was all drinking coffee and playing cards and going hunting in the mountains with old friends. For my friend’s mum it was all housework with no mod-cons, lugging water in from outside, cooking over a wood stove. Three months and she was, “I’m going home now, Nick. Coming?” And of course, he came.

    Reply
  149. Karen, one of the features of our wench blog is that the comment stream is always interesting. It’s what attracted me to reading the blog long before I became a wench. And yes, the personal stories that people are sharing here are wonderful. And yours is no exception — I’ve been to northern BC, as far as Prince Rupert, admittedly in the summer, and wow, it must have been an adventure to live and work there, especially through those long, cold winters. Glad you’re back on Vancouver Island — it’s so pretty.
    Your comment made me think of my friend’s mum, who many years after migration, went back to their village in Greece for a holiday. Her dad loved every minute of it — for him it was all drinking coffee and playing cards and going hunting in the mountains with old friends. For my friend’s mum it was all housework with no mod-cons, lugging water in from outside, cooking over a wood stove. Three months and she was, “I’m going home now, Nick. Coming?” And of course, he came.

    Reply
  150. Karen, one of the features of our wench blog is that the comment stream is always interesting. It’s what attracted me to reading the blog long before I became a wench. And yes, the personal stories that people are sharing here are wonderful. And yours is no exception — I’ve been to northern BC, as far as Prince Rupert, admittedly in the summer, and wow, it must have been an adventure to live and work there, especially through those long, cold winters. Glad you’re back on Vancouver Island — it’s so pretty.
    Your comment made me think of my friend’s mum, who many years after migration, went back to their village in Greece for a holiday. Her dad loved every minute of it — for him it was all drinking coffee and playing cards and going hunting in the mountains with old friends. For my friend’s mum it was all housework with no mod-cons, lugging water in from outside, cooking over a wood stove. Three months and she was, “I’m going home now, Nick. Coming?” And of course, he came.

    Reply

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