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28 November 2013

A Second Voyage?

Did your immigrant ancestor return to the old country later in life--perhaps to temporarily visit relatives or perhaps even to stay?

Over 3/4 of my ancestors were immigrants to the United States after 1845 and of those, one returned to Europe for good twenty years after he immigrated and another returned for a visit thirty years later. The one who returned gave more detailed personal information on the manifest when making the return trip home than he did on his initial immigration to the United States.


  1. Yes, my great-grandfather returned to Sicily for a visit about 30 years after he came here. I didn't get much new info from that trip but we do have a nice family history story about his return through Ellis Island in 1930.

  2. I had a set of 2x great-grandparents with their three daughters (including my great-grandmother) return to their former home in Remilly, Moselle, France, in 1863. They got into a lawsuit with a French neighbor whose wife was from a neighboring commune near Remilly over a April Fools Day prank. The case was tried in a JP court which ruled for my ancestors, but then was appealed to a county civil court that ruled for the neighbor. An arrest warrant was put out for my 2x great-grandfather because it came to be known that he had divested of his farm and other goods and was going back to France. I am not sure that the lawsuit had anything to do with their leaving for France; I suspect the Civil War may have. Also my ancestor's neice had come to America with her brother, a Catholic Priest, and had married another Frenchman (whose brother and family were brutally murdered in their sleep near Vincennes in 1878) and settled in the same area; but they too returned to Remilly to remain (family is still there). In 1864, my 2x great-grandmother signed the parish register there when she became the godmother to a newborn child of the neice. But within a year my ancestors were back in the same area outside Vincennes, Indiana, and had bought a new farm about 2 miles north-northeast of their first one. I find it rather amazing that events such as this occur in one's family history. If they hadn't returned to Vincennes, Indiana, I wouldn't be writing this now. Heck, I wouldn't be.

    I had another great-grandfather who returned to his home in the West Prussian Netzekreis (now Poland) to visit his two sisters in 1926. I wish my aunt, who he had asked to accompany him, had gone and experienced it because the older parish records of their village went missing in WWII.

    Then there was the great-grand aunt who with her husband took a trip through Europe in 1910. They visited the communes in the Belgian province of Luxembourg where her husband was born and where another where my great-grandfather and some other people in Knox county, Indiana, were born. My great-grand aunt's husband made meticulous diary entries for every day they were in Europe. It was also the first attempts made by anyone in my great-grand aunt's family to find the origins in either Paris or Brussels of her father. The trouble was that she did not know that her father, who died in 1873, and even her mother, who died in 1903, had been lying to their children about their father's surname and his origin in Paris. It was 109 years later that I uncovered the truth about his ancestry.