A Family Bible

We don't have many heirlooms from my great grandparents who emigrated from Germany and Ireland. They left poverty in their home countries, and moved here with very little, a suitcase or two maybe. My mother tells me how her grandfather walked off a ship with only the clothes on his back. I think about how daunting this must have been; how much faith and hope it must have required to make such a dramatic move. Once in America, my family kept moving. The Irish side moved on to Ohio. The German side stayed in New York for a generation, until my grandfather moved the family to Texas to start, of all things, a moving company. My childhood was also punctuated with moves; I lived in 7 houses by the time I graduated high school. As an adult, my husband and I have lived in 5 cities (and 4 countries) in the 12 years we have been married. Each move is an opportunity to pare down and reevaluate what’s really important to us. So, what little we have from my earlier generations of my family shows me what was important to them. One such item is this German Lutheran bible that belonged to my great-great-grandfather. The fact that it remains in our care, across time, an ocean, and several trips across the country, makes it very clear that this was a special possession. I may not be Lutheran (the Irish side won, I was raised Catholic) but I feel a deep connection to my family’s past through this object, which tells a story of faith and hope, the ability to move boldly… and travel light.

– Elisabeth

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more