Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Ilegal Alien Relatives

Am I proud that some of my relatives are illegal aliens? Does it bother me when I learned they never became citizens? I guess it happens to us at one time or another; at least to some of us. They came here, settled, nobody asked any questions and kept to themselves. It was an accepted thing in 1639.

At what point, I wonder, did they become “legal”? Well, not the first ones, of course, since there was no USA in those days. But 137 years later, the country finally came unto itself and you either moved to Canada or stayed with the States United. It’s those 137 years I wonder about.

They missed the Mayflower and the Speedwell, those of the Vail family, but I don’t know how they got here. My brother has the book compiled in 1908, or something, that shows how Jeremiah the first begot Jeremiah the second, who begot Jeremiah the third. At that point, they decided three generations with the same name was enough.

They settled in Orient (“east”), out on the north fork of Long Island. The very tip of the north fork, within feet of the Atlantic Ocean. No further east could one venture.

Was there a point at which one was officially “American,” a citizen of the US of A? Maybe a census established this? Am I the twelfth generation of illegals and, therefore, illegal myself? I do have a passport, so that establishes some sort of citizenship. But do they know my ancestors never went through Ellis Island?