Mar 10, 2012

Were Your Ancestors Here?

As part of my research for my novels I watch some YouTube videos. There are lots of historical clips that are fascinating and give you a good feel for life at the turn of the 20th century.

Two historical photographers will appear in my first novel in the series, Grace's Pictures. One is Jacob Riis, the author of How the Other Half Lives. He chronicled life in the tenements where the immigrants lived. Since many Americans have ancestors who came through Ellis Island, many of our ancestors lived in the conditions Riis's photographs illustrate if they stayed in New York after they arrived.

Another interesting aspect of searching YouTube videos is that many students put their history projects up there. This one, I think is very good. What do you think?


  1. I am half-Irish, a fourth Norwegian, and a fourth German. I know my maternal grandmother came from Norway with her parents and siblings through Ellis Island when she was sixteen. All settled in Wisconsin. My paternal Irish clan were farmers and self-accomplished musicians and lived in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, before my time. Believe they originally came from County Clare. My German maternal grandfather died before I was born, and at around 15 made hops for beer/malt, and at the time my father met my mother, her family was affluent, owning their own bakery he began. My father was a musician, piano, to my grandfather's dismay and put him to work as an early morning bread deliveryman.

    1. Thanks for sharing. It's rewarding to find out how their sacrifices enabled the coming generations to succeed.