Photo of My Grandmother and Me

My grandmother had an interesting immigration story.   My grandmother was a poor young woman who emigrated from Spain in the years prior to the Spanish Civil War, which was mired in poverty and political strife.  She came to New York City, where she lived in the same neighborhood that the Tenement Museum is located. In the Lower East Side, she lived with her aunt and uncle, who promised her an education, but instead was always working either taking care of children, cleaning homes, or in a factory. The hardworking ethic of my grandmother, and later meeting my grandfather, who also came from Spain, would help them both improve to a more middle class lifestyle and provided a strong family base for my mother and my uncle to grow up in.

After she passed away in 2001, my family was curious to find out her real age which was 93, four years older than she said she was. She also always said her birthday was Christmas Eve, which according to Spanish baptismal records, she was born in March. We also found out that her birth certificate was forged by her uncle stating that her birthplace was Key West, Florida even though baptismal records show that she was born in Bermeo, Spain. 

Place(s): Spain, New York

– Aaron

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant