Question of the Week: Have you found your immigrant ancestors?

+18 votes

imageHave you found your immigrant ancestors? Who are they? Tell us about them with an answer here.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.9m points)
Immigrant ancestors – direct lineages only :

Paternal line : grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, great-great-great-grandparents, 4Xgreat-grandparents.

Maternal line : great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, great-great-grandparents X2, great-great-great-grandmother X2, great-great-great-grandfather
my immediate family are the only immigrants (I still remember getting the boat over in the early 70s). My sister had done some family tracing and had thought our Jones line had come from Wales to England - but with Jones in London in the 1850s we can't really tell. And we're double Jones on one side - so effectively at a dead end.

(I'm an English born Canadian now living in and a citizen of Ireland)
I've identified about 150 maternal and paternal immigrant ancestors, all of which came from England during the PGM, with the exception of one couple that immigrated from France to NY in the 17th century.
Most of my direct line ancestors came to Massachusetts and New Hampshire as part of the Great Migration of the mid 1600's.  Two of my paternal great-grandparents immigrated from Canada in the late 1800's.  I can trace them to several of Les Filles Du Roi and and earliest French settlers of Quebec and Acadia.
My most recently found direct ancestor from England was Thomas Hildreth who was born in England and died in Southampton, New York, British colony. He was my 9x great grandfather.
My mother, she immigrated in 1956 from UK, I see her almost daily!!!

My grandfather was the most recent immigrant and 

is the oldest. With many others with various dates and countries in between.

William Law, born in 1689 in Kemnay, Scotland, has been found in Bristol Parish (Henrio, Dinwiddie, and Prince George counties, VA) records for 1720-1789).  Around 1750 most of his family had relocated to what is now Franklin County, VA.

I can trace, and have also documented all my Mother's direct ancestors dating back to 1634 with my 7X great-great-grandparents in Assernheim Germany, followed by her family's migration as Palatine refugees to Courtmatrix, County Limerick, Ireland during the 1700's, before my great-grandparents finally settled in Canada about 1879.

Though on my Father's side I have only gone to 1867 with my great-grandparents in Aberdeen Scotland, and then to my grandparents who immigrated to Canada between 1910 and 1912....though perhaps I should also add that my great-grandparents in Aberdeen, Scotland were actually immigrants there as well, as he was born in Naples, Italy, and she was born in England...which definitely makes me a product of immigrants from 5 different countries I guess?...but Canadian by birth, and now married to woman from Port of Spain, Trinidad.

My Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Henry D'Alton, born Ireland in 1813, had been imprisoned for a long period of time due to his artent supoort of the great Irish liberator, Daniel O'Connell.   Upon his release in 1848, he packed up his pregnant wife, Julia Kearney D'Alton, and children and sailed for America on the Queen of the West.  He landed in New York in August, 1848.  He left Liverpool with two children, but arrived in America with three children, his wife having given birth to their son, Fred, while at sea.

He eventually settled in Petersburg, Virginia, where he built a large and successful wholesale grocery business that was passed down to his son James T. D'Alton and several generations of his descendents.

60 Answers

+13 votes
All of my USA ancestors descended from immigrants, but the most recent immigrants were my paternal grandparents who came over in 1930. Both of them came from Italy (Montesano sulla Marcellana). If there was a special story to their arrival, I don't know it - and probably never will!
by G. Borrero G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
Ciao, G! =D I hope you find a story about them.
+13 votes
I've found most of my maternal immigrant ancestors as most of them arrived in the US in the late 1800's.  Dad's family is more challenging as they arrived in GA/VA in the 1700's and primary source documentation is scarce.
by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 7 (70.9k points)
+13 votes
At least I found some.

Three siblings of my great grandfather Gustav Lewerenz immigrated to Illinois.

Also a sibling of my wifes great-great grandfather (Hamer) went to America. And funny was that a Lewerenz and a Hamer married in Illionois (Cook county) without knowing each other before. Today I have still contact with a Hamer - a descendant of Friedrich (Frederik) Lewerenz.

A sister of my wifes grandmother (Frieda Kruse) immigrated in 1932 to New York and married there a Swedish immigrant (Thor Swan). Their children and grand children live in San Antonio, California.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
+13 votes
On my Maternal side I have 2x great grandfather, 3x great grandfather from Germany. 2x great grandmother from France.
by Dallace Moore G2G6 Pilot (123k points)
+14 votes
No,  maybe I'll find a Flemish weaver from the 14th C. as an  ancestor of my Linnetts or Castells. Otherwise it's  a long time since  the Anglo-Saxon or Viking invasions!
by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
Another U.S.-centric question is revealed by your reply.  However, it is kind of fun thinking about my Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestors; and the tribe my ancestor was in which wandered around Europe and several thousand years ago mutated into my J1c2c2 haplogroup and/or Richard III's J1c2c3.  Now those people knew how to migrate.
Well, yes, the word "immigrant" calls to mind people getting off the boat at Plymouth Rock or Ellis Island. But i just looked at your profile, and yes, you do have immigrant ancestors.Your grandmother's family ended up in Dorchester after a trip of some 200 miles. Why did they decide to leave home? Did they bring along all their possessions? Their families? How did they travel? The world used to be a much larger place. Perhaps they did not understand the dialect or the local customs. Were they always "the outsiders". "the newcomers' "the immigrants"? Everyone has a story!

Great response, Joyce!  smiley

Well, yes, the word "immigrant" calls to mind people getting off the boat at Plymouth Rock or Ellis Island. But i just looked at your profile, and yes, you do have immigrant ancestors.


Perhaps a better term would be "migrating", or "migratory" - because I have lots of those, too. 

+13 votes
Oh. I did not know they were lost. My great-grandparents, Orville Auger and Melanie Cartier, came from Quebec shortly before they were married in Cohoes, New York, in 1883. I assume that she came on the train with her brothers. The family legend is that he came on a bicycle. Unlikely, but not impossible.
by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (171k points)
+11 votes
My most recent immigrant ancesters were around world war one coming over from what is now slovakia.

My furthest ancester came over with the pilgrims.
by Jennifer Robins G2G6 Pilot (148k points)
+12 votes

For my family no, I am the daughter of the immigrant ancestor.  

For my husband's family, all other family members are descendants of these families.  

1. Earliest immigrant: 5 X Grt-GP William McClellan arrived 1768 Boston from Ireland, arrived Canada 1780

4 X Grt-GP,

2. Mother's line; Joseph Carley and wife Elizabeth Free arrived 1833, Renfrew County, Upper Canada from County Wexford, Ireland

3. Father's line; John Peacock and wife Jane Knight arrived 1834, New York sailed from London, England enroute to Upper Canada

4.  Father's line: John Lennox and wife Margaret Humphrie arrived 1828, Simcoe County, Upper Canada from Londonderry, Ireland

5. Father's line; Alexander (Sandy) Brown snr and his wife Martha arrived from Ireland, prior to 1838, when he bought land in what became Brown's Corner's Ontario

3 X Grt-GP

6. Mother's line; John James Davidson and wife Sarah Grindle arrived 1845/6 in Renfrew County, Canada West from Ballymony, Antrim, Ireland

7. Mother's line; James Dickson (Dixon) and wife Catherine Wardhaugh arrived 1845 in Renfrew County, Canada West from Dumfries, Scotland

8. Mother's line; Isaac Foster and his wife Martha Carley arrived 1833 in Leeds County, Upper Canada from County Wicklow, Ireland

9. Mother's line; John Wark and his wife Ann Bustead arrived 1846/7 in Renfrew County, Canada West from County Donegal, Ireland

10. Father's line; Edward Tyrer and wife Mary Highton arrived 1856 in Simcoe County, Canada West from Lancashire, England

11. Father's line; Robert Sproule arrived 1832 from County Tyrone, Ireland he married Jane Lennox daughter of John Lennox (4.)

12. Father's line; John Standing and his wife Nancy Varley arrived in 1818 in Montreal from Lancashire, England, lived in New York State for 8 years and then moved in 1826 to Chingacousy Township, Upper Canada

13. Father's line; William Dods and his wife Betty Shillinglaw arrived in 1830 from Berwickshire, Scotland, lived in York, Upper Canada and then in 1832 purchased land in Caledon, Upper Canada


14. Mother's line; George Imrie Burns arrived on 14 March 1911, his wife Janet Johnston and children arrived 29 September 1912 from Lanarkshire, Scotland 

Edited typo

by M Ross G2G6 Pilot (362k points)
edited by M Ross
+11 votes

Yes. Yes, I have. 

We start with:

My grandfather, Marco Ferraiolo who came to America in 1929 with his parents, Vincenzo Ferraiolo and Maria Tedesco. My grandmother Olympia's parents, Giuseppe Carrabs and Clementina Forgione came to America in the 1910s. 

That's it for my father's side. My mother's side has been in Canada since the 1600s for the most part. But, the following people came to America in the late 1800s. They were:

My 2X great-grandparents: Eugene HamelCelanise LefebvreJoseph LaplanteAntoine Legault and Lucie Cadran.

Continuing with my mother's side, some of my third and fourth great-grandparents came to America in the mid to late 1800s from Canada. They were:

3x great-grandparents: Jean Baptiste Ross, Philomene GodierMarguerite Metivier, Pierre Cadran and Eulalie Bibeau.

4x great-grandparents: Jean Baptiste Ross, Adele Cyr

The rest of my mothers' lines all have ancestors going back to France in the 1600s. The Felker side goes to colonial New Hampshire and Mass in the 1600s.

Think I found enough? =D

What's interesting is how Vincenzo went back and forth a few times from America to Italy. He came in the 1910s, stayed a while, went back to Italy to get married in 1921 and came back in the mid 1920s. His family came shortly after with a few members of my great-grandmother Maria's family.

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
edited by Chris Ferraiolo
+10 votes
All came to North America from western Europe and at least one from a northwestern Europe county.  All known so far got here between 1608 (Jamestown) and 1774 (North Carolina).  Others lines were already here during that time frame but we just don't know those lines back to an immigrant. A lot of them got here by way of various New England (New Hampshire area) and southern colonies (like Virginia and Maryland) throughout the 16 and early 1700s.  Mostly simple farmers with a few clergymen and a couple of tradesmen, whose various lines worked their way south, then west from Virginia and eventually got here to Texas around 1900.
by Art Black G2G6 Mach 4 (49.1k points)
+10 votes
Apart from my paternal grandmother's father (unknown and probably will remain that way) and his ancestors, I believe I have found all of my immigrant ancestors. My paternal grandfather arrived in Canada as an infant in 1917 and all the rest of my family arrived in Canada before it was a country (1867), ranging from 1829 to 1863.
by David Carlson G2G6 Pilot (191k points)
+10 votes
My most recent immigrant ancestor is my maternal grandfather, Frank B. Taborsky, who arrived in New York City in 1917, just prior to World War II.

Other immigrants in my mom's ancestry are her great great grandparents from Canada in the 1880's.

My colonial ancestors include Andrew Alexander, and his wife, Katherine Stuart Patton Thompson, James Proffitt, and several others.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+9 votes
Most recent immigrant ancestors are my great-great-grandfather David Dillon and my 3rd great-grandfather John McKnee, who were both born in Ireland (County Kerry and County Galway, respectively) and came to America in the late 1840's (John McKnee as a young man of about 20, David Dillon as a child of three with his parents). My only other post-1776 immigrant ancestor is my 4th great-grandfather Adam Douglas Dodds, who came to America with his parents aged about 5 in the year 1800 from Northumberland, England.

Everyone else I have been able to trace arrived in the colonies before 1776 (and most of those arrived before 1700).
by C Handy G2G6 Pilot (188k points)
+9 votes
All of my lines trace back to immigrants, except my 7x grandma who was reputedly a Narraganset. Last ones in were the Jones/Rodericks who immigrated from Wales through Boston in 1841 with 7 kids and her mom, and on to Wisconsin. They are my most recent addition because it took DNA and a fair amount of work to discover they were the birth family of my great grandmother.
by Jennifer Wilson-Pines G2G6 (9.7k points)
+9 votes

In a "Table of Immigrant and End-of-Line Ancestors," I have identified all of my known immigrant ancestors to share with others and highlighted the lines where I still need help:

Corrections and additions are welcome and appreciated!

by Perry Streeter G2G3 (3.1k points)
That is incredible organization! Wow, so impressed.
wow, that is a lot of ancestors! You've done a lot of work. I did not see any of my relatives on your chart, but dates would be helpful.
I'm very interested if the Page family from New Haven CT connects to my Page family from the Haverhill, MA area, like Page-203. It would be amazing to see them connected.

Thank you for your reply Jennie. There is no known connection between our respective Page immigrant ancestors.

Thank you for your reply Joyce. Most of these immigrants were of "The Great Migration" era in New England and the same time-frame in New Netherland.
Well, fancy that. Thanks to the wonders of computers, I have just found us a common Colonial Ancestor who is not on your chart but is in Family Search. Captain John Galen Holley, 1619-1681, Family Search ID LTJ9-884. Hello, there, cousin!

Joyce: Thank you for diving deeper but--to my knowledge--I do not have a line of descent from John and Mary (Waitstill) Holly.

That is impressive, now if only I knew how to create one!  Is it a table, or is it Excel?

Thanks for the kind words. It is simply an Excel Worksheet that I "Save As" to HTML format as the last step. If you would like a copy, please send an email to

+9 votes
My paternal 4th great-grandfather, Christian Landes, arrived at Philadelphia in September 1736 on the ship "Harle."  He was a 26-year-old Mennonite who left his home in Zuzenhausen, Germany, near Sinsheim now Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

My maternal  4th great-grandfather, Joseph Byerly, arrived in Philadelphia in 1752 from Germany.  He migrated to Taneytown in Colonial Maryland.

The descendants of both these immigrants migrated to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in the late 18th Century.   These two families lived in Rockingham and Augusta Counties in VA.  My ancestors moved north to Ohio at the start of the Civil War. Thru WikiTree and other sources I was surprised to learn that my Grandfathers were second cousins.  Their great-grandparent ancestors-in-common were Daniel Weidner Leedy married to Eve Eichenberg Brower.  Daniel and Eve's eldest daughter was the maternal grandmother of my maternal grandfather.  Daniel and Eve's youngest son was the maternal grandfather of my paternal grandfather.  Thus my parents were third cousins.
by James Landes G2G3 (3.0k points)
+9 votes
Except or one grandmother who was born here all of my ancestors were immigrants They came from Ireland, Scotland England, Canada, and France
by Kathy Woodard G2G4 (4.2k points)
Except or one grandmother who was born here all of my ancestors were immigrants They came from Ireland, Scotland England, Canada, and France

by Kathy Woodard


Where is "here"?  (Your "here" may be totally different from my "here", and my "here" might be different  from someone else's "here".) 

My here is the United States
+9 votes
Both my maternal grandparents are immigrants. One was born in Northern Ireland and the other was born in Uganda. Both live in England now.
by T. Dowding G2G6 Mach 3 (31.5k points)
+8 votes

PATERNAL LINE: great-grandfather Charles Carlsson Fratt--Carlson (b. 31 Jul 1889 Vasa, Finland--d. 11 Nov. 1945 Gogebic Co., MI, USA) immigrated via Boston 1907 by way of Hull and Liverpool aboard the SS Ivernia.

2x great-grandfather John Wilhelm Anderson (b. 27 Mar 1875 Vasa, Finland--d. 14 Jul 1908 Vasa, Finland)--worked in PA as a coal miner in 1893, likely arriving in NYC aboard the SS Aurania, married a woman from Vasa, Finland, had children, then returned to Finland with his family in 1904.

2x great grandmother (b. 27 Apr 1878 Vasa, Finland--d. 31 Mar 1911) came to the US by way of Sweden and Southampton in 1897 aboard the SS Paris. She married John Wilhelm Anderson in the United States, returned with family to Finland in 1904.

great-grandmother Esther Anderson/ Carlson (b. 19 Nov 1898 Bitumen, PA--d. 22 Nov 1967 Kankakee Co., IL, USA) returned to Finland in 1904, came back to the USA in 1914  at age 16 via New York aboard the SS Baltic after the loss of her parents. Stayed with a paternal Aunt in Eveleth, St.Louis Co., MN, married Charles Carlson in Ironwood, MI in 1917.

6x great-grandfather (b. 18 Feb 1736 Leeds, UK--d. 2 Feb 1802 Muskingum, OH, USA)

7x great-grandfather James Brown ( 1700 Ulster--d. 18 May 1768 Lancaster, PA)

5x great-grandfather (b. 8 Aug 1767 Ireland--d. 18 Nov 1852 Morgan Co. OH, USA) 

9x great-grandfather Richard Pearce IV (b. ca. 1615 England--d.22 Apr 1677 Rhode Island); his wife, 9x great-grandmother Susanna Wright (b. 5 Aug 1627 Waltham, England--d. 23 Apr 1678 Rhode Island)

9x great-grandfather Claude de la Maitre/ Delameter (b. ca. 1620 Richebourg, France--d. ca. 1683 Westchester Co. NY) and his wife, 9x great-grandmother Hester du Bois (b. 1 Oct 1625 Kent, England--d. Feb 1710 New Amsterdam, New York)

9x great-grandfather Resolveert/ Resolved Waldron (b. 10 May 1610 Amsterdam--d. 17 May 1690 Haarlem, NY), his Groningen-born wife Tanneke Nagel, 9x great-grandmother (b. 1624-d.1680)

7x great-grandfather Jeremiah Farquar Jack/Jacques (b. 2 Jan. 1689 Edinburgh, Scotland--d. 16 Aug 1785 James, VA).

6x great-grandfather David Allen (b. ca. 1720 Ulster--d. ca. 1796 Fayette, PA)

9x great-grandfather John WHite Sr. (b. ca. 1620 Nottinghamshire, England--d. 15 Apr 1691 Norfolk, MA)

7x great-grandmother Hannah Dallas (b. 1727 Ireland--d. 8 Oct 1760 Dauphin, PA); her husband, Glasgow-born Hugh Stewart (b. 11 Jun 1719--8 Oct 1760)

6x great-grandfather (b. 1720 Derry-Ulster--d. 1790 Fayette, PA): his wife Hester George.

6x great-grandfather Johan Caspar Brach/Prough (b. 14 Sep 1704 Rheinland-Pfalz--d. 1785 Berks Co., PA): his Palatinate-born wife Maria Louisa Seibel (d. 1748 PA and remarried Anna Sophia Margaretha Gruebel from Oberdiebach in PA) he arrived aboard the Paliena and Margaret captained by John Govan from Rotterdam in late 1748

6x great-grandfather Johann Gottlieb Breuninger (b. Ludwigsburg, Baden-Wuerttemberg--d. 4 Mar 1768 Berks Co., PA);  his wife Maria Elisabetha was from Heilbron. He arrived at Philadelphia in 1738.

 9x great-grandfather, the Somerset-born teacher John Carew/Cary (b. 1610-d. 1681 Plymouth, MA) who arrived in New England in 1634, where he married English-born Elizabeth Godfrey (d. Nov. 1680 Plymouth, MA)

10x great-grandfather Captain Myles Standish (b. 13 Jul 1584 England--d. 3 Oct. 1656 in Plimoth, MA) arrived 1620 aboard the Mayflower and married Surrey-born Barbara Mullins who arrived aboard the Anne in 1623. His father in law was also aboard Mayflower. 


great-grandfather and his father 2xgreat-grandfather--Oscar Johnson b. 2 Aug 1891 in Vaesterbotten Sweden--d. 3 Jul 1938 Clatsop Co., OR), his father Anders/Andrew Jonsson (b. 26 Jan. 1865 from Vaesterbotten--d. 25 Dec 1921 in Clackamas, OR) and Oscar's step-mother Clara Johanna Olofsdotter Wigren (b.1875-d. 1923), siblings and half-siblings all arrived in 1903--the single largest year of Swedish immigration--aboard RMS Oceanic.

grandmother Helen Reddie Penman (b. 24 Jul. 1921 in East Wemyss, Fife, Scotland--d. 13 Mar 2005 Snohomish Co., WA) married Roger E. Johnson during WWII in Aug. 1944--he was in the US Navy, she was in the British Army. She arrived on a special charter for war brides in 1946 aboard the MS John Ericsson / ex-Kungsholm. She became a US citizen in 1976.

10x great-grandfather Henry Elkins Sr., a tailor from Gloucestershire, England born in 1613 (d. 19 Nov 1668 in Rockingham, NH) arrived in 1634 or 1634 in Boston. He married English-born Mary Sleeper (b.161700d. 17 Mar 1659 Rockingham, NH).

9x great-grandfather Alexander Gordon (b. Aug. 1635 Aberdeen, Scotland--d. 15 Aug 1697) fought at Dunbar in 1650 and was made prisoner by the New Model Army under Cromwell.  Deported to the New World, he was an indentured servant in New England, and later settled in New Hampshire. His wife Mary Lysson/Lissen (b. 1639-d. 15 Aug 1697 Rockingham, NH) was also from Scotland. 

8x great-grandfather Reverend Elkanah Talley (b. 1707 Kent, England--d. 1802 Virginia, USA).


by Dave Carlson G2G2 (2.1k points)
+8 votes
All 4 of my grandparents immigrated from Germany. My father's parents came from Insel Fohr, part of the Fresian Islands in the North Sea. My mother's family came from a small farming town between Vegesack and Blumenthal.
by Margaret Erath G2G Crew (970 points)

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