Category Archives: STORIES

Andrew B. Kim: An Extraordinary Life

Andrew B. Kim led no ordinary life. As a child, his family had lived through the Korean War in Seoul of South Korea, when Japanese occupation had forced the Kims into brutal suffering. Though waves of hardship hit his family time and time again, Andrew’s parents pushed him and his older sister to strive for opportunity in better places. “There ... Read More »

Rafa: An Ordinary Tale By No Standards

I’ll come to you in six more years and instead of a bike, I will have a car. Instead of a room, I will have a house, and instead of having to do odd jobs, I will speak English well enough to be a manager of some place. “My story is just like anyone else’s who came to this country ... Read More »

Ragnild Syversdatter and Kittel Groth

Another young woman who courageously made possible a “better life” for the family in America was Ragnild Syversdatter Groth. When her parents agreed to the request that their seventeen-year-old daughter marry Kittel Groth, who was fifteen years older, she had no idea that five years later her husband would succumb to the “America fever.” He sold the family farm in ... Read More »

Guri Syversdatter Sundbreen & Lars Paulson Troo

  In the steerage the family slept on a straw-covered plank bunk with barely enough room for four – let alone five. After much seasickness all of Guri’s children suffered from measles and her youngest son died. The greatest bravery was shown by Guri Syversdatter Sundbreen,a little woman in physical stature but a giant in faith. In May 1857 this thirty-eight ... Read More »

Vincenzo Cortese

The apricot trees in Santa Clara Valley have been planted and watered to flourish into a fruitful county. The nutrients of the soil in which these trees were rooted remain plentiful in the legacy of Vincenzo Cortese. In the year 1911,  thirteen-year-old Vincenzo Cortese followed his father and older brother to Chicago alongside his mother and sister. The journey from ... Read More »

Alice Lung

Alice Lung was born in Taiwan. She moved to the United States in 1979 when she was 15 years old, because her parents wanted her and her two sisters to have a better education. Once their family arrived in America, they settled in Hayward, CA. Though she had learned some English at school in Taiwan, she found the transition difficult ... Read More »

Maja Greta Andersdotter

My great grandmother Maja Greta Andersdotter may have immigrated from Sweden to the US twice. She was born in Grevbak, Skaraborg, Sweden on Dec. 13, 1847, to Anders Johansson and Maria Svensdotter. She was the eldest of what eventually were six children in the family, including one who died in infancy. In the early 1850s the family was influenced by ... Read More »

Isobel MacGillivray and Arthur Cobb

My mother, Isobel, was born in 1891 in Inverness, Scotland and immigrated to Utica, NY in 1920. My father, Arthur Cobb, was born in Brechin, Scotland, in 1890, and in 1920 he came to Utica, NY. His mother had already immigrated to Clinton, New York, where she worked as a housekeeper. Isobel and Arthur met through the Scottish club in ... Read More »

Julia Scocimara

Julia Scocimara was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1967. She moved to Canada when she was two years old. She moved with her family because her parents had lived in Germany during World War II and wanted a fresh start in someplace other than Germany. Her father was offered a job in Canada and decided it was the perfect opportunity ... Read More »

Henry Drekmeier, Mathilde and Augusta Wagner

Grandpa Henry Drekmeier spent happy hours skating on the frozen estuaries of the Rhein near Bremerhaven where he was born. I suspect this may have been in the late 1860’s since he fathered the first of his five children in 1896. In order to avoid the Bismarckian military conscription he joined the German merchant marine and spent several years sailing ... Read More »

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