I saw several of these charts posted on blogs and Facebook, which come from an original post by J. Paul Hawthorne. So I decided to follow suit and have created birthplace charts for both myself and my husband.
I went to seven generations (including myself and my husband). It was really interesting to me to look at the data in this way because it really confirmed for me some key things…
My family has been in the United States for many generations, pretty consistently across the various branches of the family.
My husband’s family has much more recent immigrant roots on his mother’s side of the family.
I have more research to do to find the roots of my mother’s family.
I have more research to do on my husband’s father’s side of the family – there are a lot of missing information about that branch of the family.
My father’s family is pretty much Irish and German immigrants to the New York area (mostly Brooklyn). Very strong roots in that region.
My mother’s family is primarily from Georgia and Mississippi, with a little migration from Virginia and South Carolina.
My husband’s mother’s family were all Polish immigrants (even though the birthplaces are variously Poland, Prussia and Germany). I find it an intriguing example of how much the history of Poland has been dictated by the political history of Europe as a whole.
My husband’s father’s family moved around a lot and their roots are largely unknown… They were primarily in the midwest (Missouri/Oklahoma), but it looks like if we go back a little farther, there may be more roots in the area of Illinois/Ohio/Pennsylvania. They were definitely the more migratory of all the branches of our families.
The 1850 Federal Census is one of the few places I’ve found a reference to my 4th great-grandmother Elizabeth Ambrose nee Leary. She is married to David Ambrose and they have three young daughters: Mary Ann, Ellen and Catherine. They lived in the Western District of the 1st Ward of New York, which is the tip of Manhattan in the area now part of the Wall Street/Financial District. Elizabeth and David were listed as the same age in 1850: 26 years old, which would put their dates of birth circa 1824. Both of their birthplaces are listed as Ireland, while their daughters’ are all listed as New York, which means they immigrated sometime between 1824 and 1847 when Mary Ann was born. Mary Ann is listed as 3 years old, Ellen as 1 year old, and Catherine as 2 months old. David is listed as working as a laborer.
Right now I’m obsessing over my 3rd great grandfather, Michael J. Reilly. He was born in 1846 in Ireland and probably came to the United States with his parents, John and Ann, when he was about 5 years old. They settled in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. He met and married May Ann Ambrose, a native of New Jersey, who was the love of his life. They had seven children, of whom only four survived to adulthood. As an adult, he worked as a sailmaker. Even after his children were adults, he helped raise his grandchildren – my great grandfather Lawrence Ambrose Reilly, and his brother Arlington and sister Madeline. A couple of this children, David and Elizabeth, remained single and lived at home as adults. He died in 1926 in Brooklyn at the age of 80.