Life in the Real World

Real life experiences after college

A bit of family history August 26, 2008

Filed under: Family,Food,Random — jenncollins @ 9:40 am

I don’t know a ton about my ancestors but I do know that my great grandmother arrived at Ellis Island at 14 years old. She didn’t know any English and was put in a kindergarten class. She met my great grandfather later, who had also arrived at Ellis Island from Sweden (not sure of dates).

On another side of the family, my great grandfather came to the U.S. from Sicily (hence my maiden name, Rizzo) and met my great grandmother later who had come over from Lithouania.

Other family members came from England, France and there’s even some Cherokee Indian in me somewhere. Most of my family either settled in Chicago, Miami and Alabama. I’m a melting pot in and of myself.

All of these wonderful people were in the U.S. at the time of the Great Depression. I’ve heard many stories about the way they lived. They were all broke. It’s funny to see now how their kids (my grandparents) are still affected by the Depression. For the most part, they are very conservative. They wash plastic plates and utensils. No food goes to waste; even if it’s one piece of bread left over. Food never gets thrown away. They had to be creative. It’s admirable.

I almost feel like I could be like them sometimes with the economy the way it is. I often wonder if history will repeat itself in our generation or the next.

What do you know about your great grandparents? I love hearing family histories and how people survived the Depression. Share it in a comment!


2 Responses to “A bit of family history”

  1. Didi Says:

    Hey girl,
    I’ve been doing research on my family history for a few months now on It’s a wonder what you can find. Through Ancestry and obituaries in the town my family is from (Hartford, CT), I found out my great great grandfather was a farmer in CT who swindled his sisters out of the family inheritance. He was a descendent of one of the first settlers in the area from around 1630-something. My family is also from Sicily and we may be related. My great great grandmother was Katerina Rizzo. She met my great great grandfather, Francesco Russotto, in a store she was working in in Sicily. He was training to become a priest because he was the first son in the family. Well, it was love at first sight. Because his family didn’t approve, he came to America, and that’s how we got here. Sorry it’s so much info … but I think I’m addicted.

  2. Karla Says:

    I love reading your blog. Funny you should ask about family history….I have been researching for a year along with a cousin who started looking 15 years ago. Our Hungarian ancestors came into Ellis Island also. On Sept. 12 I am going with my cousin and my 86 year old dad to Hungary to visit the towns of our ancestors! My dad will celebrate his 87th birthday in Budapest!
    Our family settled in Pennsylvania…coal mining. My grandfather was about 10 years old. His father died in Hungary and his mother remarried and immigrated with her new husband. Our family name was changed. My maiden name should have been Karla Koteles!!!
    Talk to the family members who are still with you and get them to tell you stories their parents told them. You can make a family history book for your sweet baby daughter. If you want hints on how to research I’ll be glad to tell you what I have learned!
    We will visit Ellis Island on our way home!!

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