American family stories by audiographer Joe McHugh
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When First Unto this Country
Painting by Paula Blasius McHugh

Hopes, fears, adversities, and tearful partings, the immigrant experience shaped the destinies of so many American families. Here you can listen to just a few of these engaging, and at times, bittersweet tales.

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The Reunion
playing time 5:41

Stan Miller's family immigrated to the United States from Russia in the early part of the Twentieth Century. What's truly remarkable is what happened during their journey to get here.

Lost Horses
playing time 2:56

Many families came to the New World with ambitious schemes for success and happiness. Here Alan Jabbour, former Director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, tells about his grandfather who came to the United States from Syria with a boatload of fine Arabian horses.

The Yearbook
playing time 5:22

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a noted poet and writer. Her mother came to the United States from a small village in Italy. Here Maria shares her mother's feelings about her new home in America.

Johnstown
playing time 4:33

Michael Pritchard's family came from Ireland and settled in Pennsylvania. Here Michael talks about his Uncle Martin and what he witnessed after the tragic Johnstown flood.

The Ill-Fated Hotel
playing time 3:01

It can take years for some stories to get told as Judy Nielsen discovered when she at last heard the truth about the hotel her grandfather and great uncles purchased soon after arriving in America.

The Carved Suitcase
playing time 2:28

David Fattaleh is a photographer for the State of West Virginia. Here he talks about two of his ancestors, two young children, who made the difficult journey from Lebanon to the mountains of West Virginia and the stranger who helped them find their way.