Inspired by the exhibition They Seek a City: Chicago and the Art of Migration, 1910–1950, the Art Institute of Chicago wants to hear your story of migration.

When you share a story, you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a They Seek a City exhibition catalogue. We’ll be giving away one every week the exhibition is on view!

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" My Culture" (Spain, Taiwan, the Philippines)

My family came mostly from Asia. The countries I know my heritage’s from include: Spain, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and America. My grandparents were from Spain, Taiwan, and the Philippines. I was the first generation of my family who was born in America. I have relatives from all over the world, like in Canada, Philippines,Taiwan, Japan, China and in America.  

My family came to America to start a new life and have more freedom. I know that I have cousins all over the world but I don’t know a lot about them. My family has a tradition of having a family reunion on my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. My family mostly comes from Asia, but I’m European as well because I also come from Spain. I know some countries that I’m from but I don’t know a lot about it. Even though I’m missing some parts of my family tree, I’m still happy to be born in America. 

I have two aunts in the United states and both of them are in Illinois. Both of them came with my grandparents and lived in Chicago since then. My family moved to Berwyn because we wanted to have a better life in a small community. My family visits other countries, but not all the time for me to know everything. I wish I could know more about my family tree but it only goes back a few generations.

My family mostly comes from Asia but I could be from other countries too. For now I’m with my culture and I’m hoping to extend my family tree so that future generations will know were we all came from. 

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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“How we got to where we are now” (Parma, Italy)

“How we got to where we are now” 

By Tyana Ramirez

     My story begins in a little village called Parma located in Italy. People say  Parma, Italy is a beautiful place to live, but not for my grandpa. My grandpa’s life was hard only having his dad he never got any motherly love, and he lived in the places no one ever wanted to live. For a couple of years he got mixed up with the wrong crowd. He got into gangs but then one day something struck him. He said he noticed if he tried his best in school and if he got good grades he could get out Parma and go look for his mother and maybe if he tried hard he could go back and get his father. So by the age of 22 my grandpa got a scholarship to a collage in Penjamo Guanajuato, Mexico. He decided it would probably be the only chance he got to leave Parma so he took it. His father told him his mother might live over there in Guanajuato, so his Father said good luck and sent him on his way.

     Soon about two years after he was doing fairly well at his college, one day he met a beautiful girl named Manuela. They went steady for about two more years until they got married in a court room. After marriage they had seven beautiful children. They had five girls and two boys. They were happy in Mexico and everything was going well. Things changed though when everyone in their family started getting hurt and they didn’t want to be around that bad stuff. They wanted their kids to get good educations and be the best they could be. 

     Now they planned to go to a different place, hopefully in the U.S.A. They thought to themselves Ohio ? No. Iowa? No. Indiana? Yes! So they packed their things and went off to Indiana. When they were crossing the border to go through Texas the soldiers didn’t allow them until they had proper paper work. So instead of leaving that day they left about two years afterwards. Once they were in the United States they went towards Indiana.

     Now unfortunately they got lost on the way and accidentally went to Illinois. They wanted to go back but the funds weren’t there so they just ended up staying. First they were in Cicero until their house burned down. Then they ended up in Melrose Park.  Over the years their children have moved away. My mother went to Berwyn along with my aunt. My Aunt Luz and Uncle Arturo went to Joliet.

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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MY MIGRATION STORY - MEXICO


My dad was born in Mexico. He came to the United States with his brothers and sisters. A few years later his mom came with the rest of his siblings.  His father however, did not come because my grandparents had split up. My father had to take care of his himself and his brothers and sisters because he was the oldest one of the group. The way he came over here was by crossing the border into the United States. He came to the United States to start a better life than he had in Mexico and I think he accomplished that.

When my father was coming over to the United States he had two different troubles getting here because of how he needed to watch for his younger brother and sister without any help from his mom. When his mom came to the United States with the rest of my dad’s siblings they started living in Chicago in a neighborhood called Pilsen. Pilsen is where my dad met my mom and then after a while they started dating.

My father has lived in this country for about 34 years, ever since he was 16 years old.  When he was 17 years old when he got a job in the Water Tower in downtown. His first job was being a janitor, and now he has moved up to the housing area and he fixes anything for the people living there.

 Ever since he started a new life here he says that he would never go back to Mexico again because he says that he does not miss his home country one bit. He says this because of how great his life is here in America. He says he would not like to go back to Mexico because of all the problems and the violence that they have over there. Sometimes I think that he would like to go back because of how he talks about it with me. He has not been there for ten years now.

After my dad lived in Pilsen for most of his life we moved to Berwyn after three years of my life because of the violence that was going on there. So we have been living in Berwyn since I was three years old and he has not thought about going back to Pilsen. 

This really inspired me because of how he started from the bottom now my dad is here working in a special place in downtown. He worked really hard to get to where he is now and that’s is really amazing. He never quit whenever it was to hard for him.

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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"My Grandma’s Migration" - Germany

In the year 1958, when my grandma was 17 or 18 she moved from Germany to the United States. The reason she moved here was because her cousin was homesick and had just lost his parents. When she first moved here to the U.S. she wasn’t able to have a conversation with anybody because she only knew how to speak German. 

However, it wasn’t very difficult for her to adjust. There were a few difficulties though moving to the U.S.  Like she was homesick a lot and she didn’t speak English very well. She also came on a plane all by herself. When she moved to the U.S. she lived in a few different places before she moved to her current location. She first lived in Chicago because there was a German society/people there, than she moved to Oak Park than River Forest and than Forest Park. A few years after she moved her sister also moved to the U.S. Nowadays she no longer misses Germany because she has gotten so use to living here.

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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From Ecuador, To United States

 

The story of my family was basically my parents meeting and me being born in the United States. My dad was raised and grew up in Ecuador. From what my parents know, the whole family grew up in Ecuador. My dad was the first to want to go to the United States. My dad took a plane to Mexico. He stayed for one day at Mexico City. My dad went with my uncle to see how the United States was as well. Then they crossed the border illegally into San Antonio, Texas.

Then they went to Chicago on a bus. My dad knew that right away he needed his citizenship. Thankfully, he was helped by a friend, also known to be my Godfather. After getting his citizenship, he went to visit his family back at Ecuador. While there, he met my mother. While in Ecuador, my mom had already had her citizenship. Then after getting married, my dad brought my mom to the United States on April 17, 1999. The day before my mother’s birthday.

When my parents arrived, my mom was pregnant with me for one month. Both my parents lived with my uncle, aunt, and three cousins. After being born, my parents and I stayed there for a while until I turned one, then we moved to Berwyn in 2002. While moving my mother was pregnant with my sister. Then on June 28, 2002 my sister was born. After a couple of years, my whole dad’s side came to America whereas my mom’s side only has three family members  living in America.

Then one day, on February 5th, 2004 my little brother was born. My brother was born passed away for one reason. My mom didn’t know she was pregnant until the actually birth. My mom that year wanted to lose weight but that weight wasn’t weight at all. That was one clue to her pregnancy. That is the story of my family and how they reached the United States of America.

 
  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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The Dei Rossi Family - Indonesia, Italy, and Germany
Created in the Ryan Education Center (March 2013)

The Dei Rossi Family - Indonesia, Italy, and Germany

Created in the Ryan Education Center (March 2013)

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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My Dad’s Side of the Story (Germany/Ireland/Lithuania/Wisconsin)

My Dad’s Side of the Story

Well, I don’t know much about where I came from, but  I do know that  I came from Germany, Ireland, and other places in Europe. My Dad is 100% German, and my Mom is 50% German. This makes me 75% German, which means I’m from Germany. Then, my mother is 25% Irish, which means I’m 12.5% Irish. This means I’m partly Irish. Then my mother is from other places in Europe, which means I am too. 

Well, I don’t have any relatives in different countries that we know of. The reasons we came to America are not well-known, though we believe it was America was the “land of opportunity” at the time. When my great-grandparents were alive, they lived in Lithuania, which is somewhere in Germany. My dad’s side of the family was mainly from Germany.

I’m not completely sure when or why we came to America, but all I know is that I’m here now, and that I am living because my parents got here. I sadly don’t know too much.

Before my Dad came to settle in Berwyn, he lived near Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He lived in Wisconsin all his life, until he found my mom. Then, they lived in an apartment somewhere in or near Chicago. Then, a year before my parents had me, they moved to the house we are now in today. My parents decided to stay in Berwyn because it was a safe place to live.

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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"My Family Story" - Mexico/USA

My mom and dad have a big family. Most of my dad’s relatives were from Mexico and you don’t have to go far back to find that out. Most of my mom’s relatives were born in the United States.

My mom was born and raised in Chicago where she grew up with her sister and two brothers. They all lived with their mom and dad or my grandparents. The thing is though that my grandma got a divorce with her husband (that my mom and her siblings had been living with). Not so long after that my grandma got remarried. I know that man as my grandpa. My grandpa was from Chicago and so was my Grandma. They all lived in Chicago but moved to Cicero when my mom was about to go to high school. My mom went to Morton West high school where she than met my dad.

My dad lived in Cicero for about his whole life. I’m pretty sure that my dad has family in Mexico but I don’t know because I never saw or heard of them. My dad has two brothers and sister that all lived with my grandparents who have been together for a long time. When my mom and dad met they didn’t even know each other but since her friends ,were friends with his friends, they hung around together a lot. They ended up dating and a couple years after that they got married. Than my mom had my sister, than two/three years later she had me, and three years after I was born my other sister was born. 

  • Posted 10 months ago
  • June 17th, 2013

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