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June 2010
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Birds of Passage

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries millions of Eastern and Southern immigrants left their countries for America with the intent of making enough money to return home one day in a better financial position. They worked long hours during the peak seasons and returned home to their families during the winter months. These immigrants were commonly referred to as Birds of Passage. It is not uncommon that some of the children born to these men were conceived during a visit home which is a great hint for looking for additional manifests for your ancestor.
Southern Italians were often discriminated against. Many changed their names to sound more “American” and often lived in very poor and unhealthy environments in the larger cities in New York. Often groups of immigrants from the same towns migrated to the same areas.
My great grandfather and many of his paesani all settled in Colorado to work in the mines there. Once the mining industry died down, some returned home, others moved to places such as Utah and Idaho and some, like my great grandfather chose to remain.

About 75% of all Italian immigrants eventually returned to their homes permanently once they had earned enough money to live a more comfortable life. It is also not uncommon to see the descendants of those same immigrants leaving their homes for the US many, many years later.

One Response to “Birds of Passage”

  • Anonymous:

    [...] Actually they were Italians that never intended to permanently immigrate, and they returned to Italy after earning enough money to live more at ease, so-called "Birds of Passage"… [...]

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