Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Polish Immigrant

This picture shows a Polish Immigrant arriving in the US. The picture was taken in 1907. I find it fascinating that he man is carrying everything he owns in the trunk. Most of us could not fit all of our stuff in a trunk today.

11 comments:

  1. We saw a wonderful documentary film narrated by Gene Hackman when we got to Ellis, and in it they said that most people only took what they could carry in one suitcase or trunk.

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  2. A friend of mine in college told me that her great grandparents came to this country to escape the pogroms in Russia. And like the fellow in today's photo, all they had was in one trunk. They were on deck with the trunk as their ship sailed into New York harbor. Everyone rushed to one side of the ship to see the Statue of Liberty. Naturally the ship listed, and as it did, their trunk slid across the deck and into the harbor. They landed on Ellis Island with only the clothes on their backs. But they survived and thrived.

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  3. Thanks to PMJ & everyone in 'comment land' for the stories & info. I went to the Ellis Island site just for fun & almost cried when my grandparents popped up. Unfortunately when I enlarged the original manifest their names weren't on "line 13 & 14". I went several pages forward & backward, but no luck.

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  4. I imagine travelling with lots of goods was also expensive back then. It was economical to travel lightly. Besides, one might have sold or pawned many belongings to help travel expenses to a new country. One would have taken only the most essential or beloved items.
    Also while the man in the picture looks like he does only have that one trunk. Keep in mind some people shown with suitcase in hand may have had a trunk in the hold.

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  5. Marie:

    what a great story!!

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  6. My GGGGGrrandmother came over from Ireland in the 1700's. Because she didn't have enough money to pay her passage, she came as an indentured servant. The man who paid her fare was a coal miner. She was the cook for his crew. She later married his son. She didn't want to change her name, so he took her last name, thus losing out on his inheritance.

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  7. Heck, for years, everything I owned fit inside a 1960 Ford Falcon. Mattress, 2 Danish collapsible chairs, cinder blocks and 1X10s, phonograph and records, 2 paintings, TV trays, kitchen utensils, clothes and clothes rack, etc. etc. etc.

    Then I decided there was room for a girl and it's never been the same since.

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  8. Why, no. My wife doesn't look at this blog. Why do you ask?

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  9. He sure looks tired! My great grandparents were Polish immigrants in the late 1800s.

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  10. It is not quite the same but I moved to Australia just over 5 years ago now.
    Luckily for me I was not escaping poverty or a hard regime but it was still really difficult.
    I only had one suitcase as at the time I was not well off so had all my stuff in that. There was not alot to be packed in a 20kg case and that is with todays modern materials and clothes.
    Imagine this person packing woollen items into a trunk. It does not leave a lot to pack.

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  11. especially love the Polish immigrant, he might have been one of my ancesotrs though he appears to be wealthier than they were having a trunk and all, mine came steerage, I think.

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