Monday, October 6, 2014

Immigration: Leaving Children Behind

We've all heard the stories where a father went to America and left his wife and children behind until he could start a new life and save money for them to join him. But I'm not sure how common it was for both parents to come to the U.S. without their children.

Fifteen-year-old Annie Moore, the first person to enter through Ellis Island when it opened in 1892, traveled with her younger brothers to join her parents who had come to America three years earlier. So it definitely happened. As a mother myself, it's hard to imagine leaving my son and not knowing when, or if, I'd ever see him again. It had to be a difficult decision for both parents to leave behind a child.

In 1864, my 2nd great-grandparents, Ignace and Caroline Huber, were married in Paris, France, and worked as a tailor and dressmaker. Their first son, Alphonse, was born that same year. I'm not sure when the couple left France but, by 1868, city directories show they were in Allegheny City, which is now part of Pittsburgh, PA. The 1870 census shows that Alphonse--6 years old by this time--wasn't with them. He didn't see his parents again until 1871 when he arrived in the U.S. with his uncle, Emil Wey. Alphonse was separated from his parents for at least 3 years.

During your research, have you found a similar immigration story of both parents leaving their children to come to America?

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