Journey into The Unknown-Early 20th Century Immigration to the United States

Teacher Page


Your Journal




Read the description of your role and the questions that follow it.  Then use the link to your journal to print a copy of your recording page.  Click on the links on the hotlist to gather facts and hear stories of original immigrants. On the resource page there are links for pages that will help you organize your information in graphic form if you need them.  There are also links to provide help in searching for information and analyzing original sources. You can use the links provided for help by clicking on resources.


The Record Keeper


The person who records or writes the facts is the record keeper.  You are responsible for answering these questions in your journal using the hotlist below.  Then use your answers to make at least five entries describing what is happening during your journey to America and five entries describing your daily life once you get here.


  1. Where was your original home?
  2. How did your family get to the ship?
  3. When did you depart?
  4. What port of departure did you use?
  5. What route did your ship take?  Did you make any stops on your journey across the ocean?
  6. How long was the voyage at sea?
  7. What port did you dock at in America?
  8. How long did you wait to disembark from the ship?
  9. What landmarks are located in your new neighborhood?
  10. How did you find your way to your new neighborhood?
  11. What routines does your family follow in your new home?  Address jobs, schooling, and cultural traditions.



The Cartographer


Another name for a cartographer is a map maker. It is your job to create a map that shows your journey from your homeland to America.  Remember that you might need to travel overland if your original home is not located in a seaport.  You must also draw a map showing the neighborhood where you live in America.  Before you can draw the maps you must find out about your journey and your new home in America.


You will use the hotlist below and your journal  to record important facts.  You must answer the following questions in your journal entries.


  1. Where was your original home?
  2. Where was your departure for your trip?
  3. What route did you take from your home to the port of departure?
  4. What was your ship’s route?  Did you stop at any other ports in your journey across the ocean?
  5. Where did you disembark in America?
  6. What route did you take to your new home?
  7. What streets are located in your new neighborhood?
  8. What businesses, public buildings, and parks are located in your neighborhood?
  9. What other places does your family frequent in your neighborhood?



The Assimilation Specialist


To assimilate is to find a way to fit in with the people who are already living in America.   Your job is to answer your list of questions in your journal.  Use your answers to make at least five entries describing your daily life as you try to fit in to the community and the larger city.  How can you become part of the larger group of citizens?


Use the hotlist below to help you find answers for your questions.


1.     How is your family able to communicate with others in the neighborhood?

2.     Who in your family is working?  What job(s) do they have?

3.     How did your family members find their jobs?

4.     Why do children find it easier to fit in?

5.     What problems did your family have in trying to fit in to the American culture?  Think about language, appearance, traditions.

6.     How did your family adjust to life on the ship?

7.     What about your new home is similar to your old home?

8.     What are the biggest challenges your family faces in adapting to their new life?

9.     What are the best strategies to help your family assimilate more easily?



The Coordinator


As the coordinator, you are required to plan your trip before you leave your home.  Enter the facts you gather about America in your journal.  You will also describe the processing at Ellis Island and how your family felt as they waited to enter America.  Your third task is to plan how you will find a home and a job in America. Do you have help here or is your family on its own?


Use the hotlist below to help you locate information.  Record the facts in your journal.  Be sure to answer the questions in your list.


1.     As your family prepares to leave for America, what problems will confront you on the journey?

2.     What must you do right after you arrive in America?

3.     How will you feed your family?

4.     Where will you live?

5.     What skills do you have?

6.     What job will you get?  Will the pay support your family?

7.     At Ellis Island or Angel Island your family will undergo processing to enter America.  Describe what happens to each member of your family.  Be sure to include the feelings of each family member with an explanation of why each has these feelings.

8.     Was there anyone who helped you in America?  If so, who was the person and why did they help you?  If not, how was it more difficult for your family to make a life in America without help?

Moving to America