52 Ancestors In 52 Weeks: Out Of Place

Arriving In New York, 1854

The trio of girls had several things in common: they came by ship from Europe; they entered this country through New York City; they were children at the time of their immigrations. One was 10 years old, another 12 years old, one 14 years old. One of the girl’s father was a house painter, another’s a peasant farmer, one had an unknown occupation. One child spoke French and German, another English, one Polish. Two were being trained in the arts of needlework and dressmaking while one learned how to be a charwoman. When the girls first came to New York City did they feel out of place? The one girl from London must have felt somewhat at home in Manhattan…bustling, energetic, noisy. The one from France must have felt homesick for the castles nestled along the river of her hometown. The one from Poland must have been mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the huge city. How do children really adjust when they are out of place?

One of the girls had come to America with her mother and her siblings. Her father had died three years before. One of the girls had come to America with other young girls from her town as their parents had all passed away…they were orphans. The remaining girl left behind no records of her New York arrival and parentage. How do children really adjust when they are growing up without a parent/parents…out of place in this world?

The girl from France arrived in New York in about 1840. No records can be found to name her parents. When she was 15 years old, she married a private in the U. S. Army who was ten years her senior. Her name was Maria Magdalen Kramer. In time, she and her husband would settle on a farm in Osborne County, Kansas. She was my second great grandmother. At times, she must have felt out of place in this new country. Eventually, she would feel at home.

The girl from England arrived in New York in 1854. She lived with her mother and siblings. In time, she would marry a Civil War veteran who would also take up farming in Osborne County, Kansas. Her name was Isabella Anna Couchman. She was my second great grandmother. At times, she must have felt out of place in this new country. Eventually, she would feel at home.

The girl from Poland arrived in New York in 1906. Her brother met her at Ellis Island so he could escort her to her job as a housemaid in Connecticut. In time, she would relocate to Philadelphia where she was also a domestic. She married a fellow Polish immigrant and remained in that city. Her name was Anna Mroz. She was my paternal grandmother. At times, she must have felt out of place in this new country. Eventually, she would feel at home.

Ellis Island, 1906

Two of the girls would meet one another: Maria and Isabella. Their children would marry each other. As for Anna, her son would marry Maria’s and Isabella’s great granddaughter. A golden thread ties and binds their families forever, no longer out of place…eventually at home.

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