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 Tracing Immigrant Origins

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The first axiom of every family historian is to begin with home sources, and the same is especially true when researching 20th century immigrants. Immigrants who arrived after about 1890 are still within the memory of many of their living family members. Indeed, many of these immigrants themselves are still alive. Of course, if your immigrant ancestor is still alive, such as this writer's father, you should immediately ask the immigrant for information about his or her town of origin. Nobody knows more about an immigrant's origin than the immigrant himself! However, it's not that simple for most of us. Indeed, if your immigrant is still living, you've already realized that he or she has all (or most of) the answers you seek. The only important advice to add is to contact the immigrant NOW. Don't wait another day before asking questions -- they will be gone all too soon.

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