Journey by Sea
From the Pale to the Golden Land: How Our Families Came to
America, Main Floor
person who left their country and boarded the ship was called an
emigrant; each person who would successfully arrive at their
eventual destination and was allowed to enter through that port was
called an immigrant. Those who chose to emigrate, to leave their
home town and often their own family, had their own reasons for
doing so. Since most of us have never had such an experience, we can
only wonder what it must have been like to leave the only home we
knew and start all over elsewhere. Most of us who once had family
members who at one time emigrated, no longer have the opportunity to
ask them the question, "What was the experiene like?"
kind of questions might you have asked someone who immigrated to the
United States (or elsewhere) in the late 1800s or early 1900s?
Perhaps you'd like to exercise your imagination and play the role of
a would-be immigrant,
whose family, with careful thought and planning, had made the
decision that the entire family (including yourself) will
leave their home country for America (the United States).
yourself (perhaps you'd like to involve your family members in this
exercise) to participate in this exercise. Each should ask
themselves the following questions. If your family accepts your offer
to participate in this exercise, let them play the roles which they
currently play within your family's structure. You can also make up your
Perhaps you might like to get started by asking
Why did you leave
your hometown and country?
What was it like to
leave your family or friends behind?
Were you the first
one in your family to leave home?
How did you get from
your hometown to the ship?
you have your own small suitcase? If so, what did you take with you?
What were the
conditions like on the ship during your voyage?
Where did you sleep
and what did you eat? Did you get seasick?
Did you travel in first-class or in steerage? If so, what was it like?
How long was the
How did it feel when you finally arrived at your
Did you have anybody
waiting for you when you got off the ship?