Thursday, July 29, 2010

COG August--Scrapbooking Your Family History

Thank you to Jasia over at Creative Gene for challenging us with a scrapbooking Carnival. 

     After I read Michelle's wonderful blog over at The Turning of Generations I decided to take the challenge. I love to put together photo albums and have done my share of scrapbooking; however, trying to use the computer photo programs would be a new adventure. I have been somewhat busy with family health issues this month, so I decided to take the easy road and took apart a collage that I had made for my father's 80th birthday back in 2001 and reworked it for this COG.

Coming to America: West Hartlepool, England
to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

     My paternal great grandparents, John George and Elizabeth Olesen Hughes, must have become dissatisfied with life in West Hartlepool, England in the early 1900's and made the decision to move to America. They were the only Hughes family members to leave West Hartlepool. 

     When I visited Hughes family members in Hartlepool in 2003, none had any idea what prompted this decision and why they were the only ones to make the trip. Books on West Hartlepool do not paint a very inviting picture of the area where the Hughes family lived and all the Hughes brothers, of which John George was one, were coal dealers....a dirty job. They went daily to the coal depot, loaded their horse drawn wagons and road up and down the streets of West Hartlepool delivering coal. 

     Like most immigrants, a better life for themselves and their small boy was at the top of the list for John and Elizabeth Hughes. John, Elizabeth and my grandfather, George Henry, age eight, packed up their worldly belongings and took a train to Liverpool, where they boarded the S.S. Caronia on May 8, 1906 for New York City and Ellis Island. 

     The ship manifest lists them as steerage passengers and their names are at the top of the page. It took ten days to cross the pond and the Caronia arrived at the port of New York on May 18, 1906. 

     The Hughes family took a train across Pennsylvania arriving in Pittsburgh at the home of a family friend M. Mathews. To date I have not been able to find this person on census records. I have no idea who he is. 

     My great grandparents lived in the greater Pittsburgh area all their lives. The first stop was the South Side of Pittsburgh, where John worked for J & L Steel. When a new plant opened up in 1913 in Woodlawn, Pennsylvania, Beaver County, on the Ohio River, the Hughes family relocated. 

     John George Hughes signed his Declaration of Intention on June 13, 1906, his Petition For Naturalization on June 30, 1918 and became a citizen of the United States on December 12, 1918. 

     The immigration voyage was not the only crossing.  Elizabeth and little George crossed the ocean to visit family in West Hartlepool in 1907. Elizabeth made a trip back with her brother, Bill Olesen, in 1910 and John and Elizabeth returned in 1920 just a year before John died on May 20, 1921. 

Updated October 2022
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© 2010, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Great scrapbook page! Fabulous story!

  2. Linda, very nice job. You and Michelle aren't afraid to try new things with your blog, and I get the benefit of looking at them. Creative and fun to look at. Thanks.

  3. I love your scrapbook and its components especially the maps and the information about the ship. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Fantastic page and I love how you used the manifest as the background. I'm glad you gave it a try! Well done.

  5. Linda, not only was this page beautifully done, but such a world of information. Kudos!

  6. Very nice Linda. My Grandpa emigrated the same year. Did this ship manifest have a second page. My Grandpa's had a second page and gave a lot of information on that page. It amazes me how little money so many came to the US with. My Grandpa had $5.00.....