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Monolingual Basques in Ellis Island

Luistxo Fernandez 2007/09/25 17:33
The New York Times opens its content. No more paid access to their archives. Good news, and already people have put it in use. I see references in Kottke. A similar attempt was carried in the Basque newspaper Berria: they found and portrayed a curious story from 1911, of a group of 150 inmigrants that arrived into Ellis Island with Basque as their only language spoken. Somehow, they manage for communication, hopefully, and then they headed for Idaho.

Attracted by the story, I researched a little bit more in And I found partial records and names of those monolingual Basqques that arrived in that ship, La Touraine, in March 1911.

It's not easy to search for people arriving on a certain date. You have to search for a name... Try with Bustengorry here.

Basques arriving at Ellis Island, 1911

In the results, the ship manifest lets you see the list of people arriving, but I doubt if you get the whole document or the portion where the given name (Bustengorry in our case) appears. But, well, I found people that arrived that day of march, unnamed in the NYT, but now finally public
  • Jean Bustengorry (we would write Buztingorri now, in normalised Basque), from Baigorri
  • Jean Etchegarray (Etxegarai), of Banka
  • Marie Indiana (probably it's Inda), from Aldude
  • Benito Maya (Maia), of Senpere
  • and more
I visited Ellis Island ten years ago, on a trip to the US with my wife. It's an emotive place, worth a visit if you go to New York City. My ethnic impulses were gratified when I saw that the big map in the main hall, listing inmigrant communities in the US by ethnicity, lists Basques distinctly.

etiketak: ,
Rhys dio:
2007/09/26 14:42

The Ellis Island website is incredible.

I liked the first paragraph of the NY Times article you linked to:

"The immigration authorities had to handle yesterday the strangest lot of aliens that has passed through this port in years."


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Luistxo works in CodeSyntax, tweets as @Luistxo and tries to manage the automated newssite Niagarank. This Cemetery is part of a distributed multilingual blog (?!). These are the Basque and Spanish versions:

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