Just look at these unaccompanied immigrant minors. Arriving at Ellis Island. 100 years ago



Don’t, for one moment, think that they were any more accepted by that period’s “nativists”. “Invasions by Papists”, “Destruction of the Republic by plague-rat immigrants” have always been the slogans used by those whose own family history typically included a grandparent with boots wet from a recent boat ride. Same bullshit, different day.


What the hell? Those kids are only a little bit brown. This is totally irrelevant to the existential crisis that now threatens our entire way of life.


They came for the same reasons: poverty, physical threat. It wasn’t any easier for immigrants then. Here’s one story from a 13 y.o. girl in the 1900’s.

Leading into the 1900’s, we already had extreme poverty among immigrants, especially adults who had more trouble learning English and would be forced to work only in communities that reflected the culture they’d left. Surprisingly, teens and children often did better without a parent - because they could assimilate the new culture.

Finally, here’s an article about the ways specific cultures were discriminated against - and why. You could speak the same language, but don’t dare have the wrong accent or religion! We’ve tried to move past this, and the fact that we’re swinging so far back the other direction is truly discouraging. America was supposed to built as a place of acceptance, and unless you are a tribal American, you can’t claim “native” over anyone - just longer residency.

@lloydcogliandro - At Ellis Island, your processing was based on your level of transport ticket. If you came across in a cabin, you came across legally. If you came across in a ship’s hold, it was illegal. Processing at Ellis Island for those crossers was then based on things like both race and religion. (Let’s not forget that one.)


Hey, the white man won this continent fair and square. Through the time-honoured tradition of biological warfare (intentional or not), playing the native tribes off against each other, and breaking any treaties signed with the survivors. I may have been playing too much Civilization.


Whoa, Civ 5 Ghandi got all buffed up!


It would be awesome if someone with the proper resources could take the time to track down what happened to some of these solo children. I can’t imagine many of them had a happy existence, or even a very long one, but I bet the ones that beat the odds generated quite a story.

Probably not much of a paper trail for most of them, but you really only need one or two stories to get people interested.

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Melanin content. (assuming that they are both bloody papists)

(probably about a difference of 20 on Von Luschan’s chromatic scale)


PSA: Please do not feed the trolls :smile:

Troll has been eaten, along with replies to him. burp



Most of these pictures showed clearly “accompanied” children–with their families or mothers. All the others just showed kids without any indication they were unaccompanied at all–except in the case of one stowaway.

Not saying there weren’t unaccompanied minors a hundred years ago–there were evidently thousands–just not seeing this photo essay as in any way reliably documenting it. In fact, the headline–“Touching Images of Unaccompanied Minors”-- seems rather unrelated to the actual pictures shown and kind of misleading.

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Most definitely unaccompanied minors made the trip to America.

It looks like no one else has linked to this article from Mother Jones. It talks about the Immigration Act of 1907, and a book written on the subject. That act dealt specifically with children entering the U.S. as stowaways without adults.

It also discusses Annie Moore, the first person through at Ellis Island, but ages her as 15 when she made it to America. She may have been 17 at the time she reached New York with her two younger brothers in her care. They came to America following their parents who had already emigrated.

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Well, yeah. I read that Mother Jones article too. No argument that there were lots of 'em.

My complaint is just… this photo essay, with the headline “Touching Images of Unaccompanied Minors”…didn’t…show any unaccompanied minors (or at least it showed only one with any attribution, pictures of kids with absolutely no reason to believe were unaccompanied, and most pictures showing obviously “accompanied” children.

Just a peeve of mine I guess. Annoyingly misleading headlines annoy me.


I wasn’t disagreeing with you, and sorry if it sounded that way for some reason. (I’m not a fan of misleading headlines either!) I was just supplying the link to that article because no one else had supplied it here. My earlier info post hadn’t specifically discussed unaccompanied minors - it was more about why immigration was occurring at that time. :slight_smile:

I get your point.

I remember a newspaper article about people who have lung cancer but who have never smoked, and how they face unfair prejudice in their plight. The accompanying picture? A woman with cigarette in hand, exhaling a huge cloud of smoke.

I think it’s the pictures that are misleading.

I thought we handled that pretty well, honestly, but you’re the dragon here.

It was not a critique on anyone’s handling, it was deleting the offending post make the responses null.

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Your link mentioned the orphan trains used at the time. I’ve been working for years to try to help a man whose grandfather appears to have been part of that adoption program. As far as we can tell, Grandpa ran away from his assigned family and walked north over the border from Montana or North Dakota into Saskatchewan, Canada. He was 12 or 13 at the time. When asked his name, he came up with an answer that made sense for the area (Scottish) rather than what his real name would have been (DNA proves he was Ashknenazi Jewish, like the children in the photo at that link).

The more I work in genealogy, especially now with the availability of autosomal DNA testing, the more I’m finding that a large number of grandparents and great-grandparents – those born in the late 1800s to the early 1900s – weren’t who we think they were, and the leading cause seems to be people (often but not always extended family members) taking in orphan children with no legal documentation to trace their origins.


People benefitted from larger families, if they were taking in healthy people. Teens who could work long hours and various jobs would be welcomed in families that could house them - especially if those families had lost their own children or a parent to illness. (Tuberculous was running rampant at that time, and immigrants were already facing extreme poverty.)

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