“The absolute nerve of these people, coming into our country, they don’t speak English, and they don’t understand our money. Yep, the lowest riff-raff of society is moving in on us! I imagine they are a bunch of beggars and thieves. What is this country coming to? They are allowing so many ignorant people to come in to take over our jobs. It won’t be long and the economy will be spiraling so deep, we’ll never get out of the hole the president put us! It may be their dream, coming to America, but it’s our nightmare.”
These words probably spoken in the mid-1800s, about our great-grand parents and our second great-grand parents, yet I hear them again today. It makes you want to think a little bit—doesn’t it? The terrible Irish—now we all want to be Irish, at least one day a year. Those nasty Italians—what would we do without our pasta and pizza? You get my drift, don’t you? So many of us would not be living here, had it not been for the guts and dreams of our ancestors.
Doing some of my research has made me cry. I read death records, trying to find out what happened to my great-grandfather. He became a widower after making that trip with great-grandma and part of his children. (I still need to go more in depth on this; I sincerely hope I am wrong.) What I have figured out is this—he had five children, ages 5 to 10. He died of liver disease at 73, but not until he raised his brood. I notice that many children died from meningitis, typhoid, and one from croup. It was heart breaking to see a young man had died, after coming all this way from Wales—to be crushed to death in a mine accident.
I have figured out that census takers probably had their hands full. The people almost always had a thick accent. I seriously think that Chicobena was Jacobena, a popular name at the time. Say Chicobena with a thick German accent—see? I have been trailing my line, more by address than by actual spelling. Entries were all made by hand and a ...dau could look like a ...dan or a ...dow, or even a simple ...d!