THEY WERE astonishing people, these ancestors of yours and ours, who passed through Ellis Island in the past century on their way to new lives in America.
Courage the immigrants possessed above all else. They left home, family, friends, everything they had known, and cast off aboard crowded ships for a New World where they believed they would find the freedom to go as far as their talents and their determination would allow.
Husbands left wives and children behind, not knowing how long it might be before they could earn enough money to send for them. The wives, when the summons finally came after lonely months and years of waiting, then made the trip with sons and daughters -- often many of them -- in tow. Sometimes small children travelled alone to join parents or other kinfolk. Fear, anxiety and confusion must have been the travelling companions of them all.
And, when you can, take a trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The visit will give you a renewed appreciation of how much the idea of America -- and of being Americans -- meant to your forebears.