Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ancestor Appreciation Day: My Immigrant Ancestors

kaiserwilhelmdergrosseToday is Ancestor Appreciation Day and I knew right away which ancestors I wanted to show my appreciation for, I only wish I could do it in person. I would most like to show my appreciation for the immigrant ancestors in my family for without them, me and my family would not be enjoying the American dream.

When I started this family history journey many years ago I had no idea where I came from, just like most of you probably. I was an American and assumed my ancestors were also. Boy, was I every mistaken.

The biggest surprise, so far, in this quest is finding out that my family did not exist in the United States before 1900. All of my immigrant ancestors emigrated from their homes between 1904 and 1926. Even more surprising to me was that these ancestors aren’t even that distant; they are my grandparents and great-grandparents and one set of 2nd-great-grandparents.

Let me introduce to you those ancestors that I most appreciate; my immigrant ancestors.


  • George Edward ShawEdward Barker Shaw and Hannah Shirt – My 2nd great grandparents. Edward emigrated to Canada about 1882 from Lynby, Nottingham, England. Hannah joined him about a year later with their children, one of which was my great-grandfather, George Edward Shaw. George’s son, my grandfather, is another immigrant ancestor.


  • George Howard ShawGeorge Howard Shaw – My Grandfather. George emigrated from Toronto Canada to Detroit in 1926. This is where he met and married my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Jane Canter (Cantelo) in 1930.



Canters (Cantelo)

  • William Cantelo and Selina Ann John – My great-grandparents. William and Selina emigrated from Caerphilly, Wales in 1910 and my grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Jane Canter (Cantelo) was with them; she was only 3 years old at the time.

William CanteloSelina Ann John

Lucas (Luksys)

  • Roman Luksys and Catherine Paskruba – My great-grandparents. Roman and Catherine emigrated from Poland about 1904 and settled in Massachusetts, where my grandfather Joseph Lucas was born. They then moved on to Michigan about 1912 and somewhere along the way they also changed their name from Luksys to Lucas. (I do not have a picture of them but hope to someday link up with some family on this side who may have a photo to share with me.)

Pakledinaz (Pakledinac)

  • John Michael Pakledinaz – My great-grandfather. John was born in Tompojevci, Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary on 16 Mar 1885. He emigrated from there to Youngstown, OhioJohn and Anna Pakledinaz in 1905 where he joined his cousin, Jakob Pakledinac. This is where he met and married my great-grandmother, Anna Hinterhauser.


  • Anna Maria Hinterhauser – my great-grandmother. She is probably the ancestor I look up to the most as she made the immigration journey alone when she was only 19 years old. Anna was born in the small village of Milititsch, Austria-Hungary in 1890. She packed up everything and left for the United States in 1909. She ended up in Youngstown, Ohio and married John (above) less than a year later. They moved to the Detroit area sometime in 1912/13.

I will never know the true reasons why each of them decided to make the long voyage across the ocean in such horrid conditions. However, I would guess it was to give themselves and their families a better life, living the American Dream.

I wish each of them were here today so I could thank them for their sacrifices so many years ago. For if it were not for their spirit and determination then I would not be living the American Dream with my family. Nothing I can say or write can truly express the gratitude and admiration I have for each of them. So, Grandma and Grandpa Shaw, Canter,  Lucas, and Pakledinaz – Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for giving this to me.


What ancestors are you most appreciative of? Leave your thoughts in the comments or make a post of your own.

Thanks for reading and keep diggin’ up that family.


Thank you to Thomas MacEntee and his Genealogy Blog Editorial Calendar for making me aware of this day.


  1. What a great idea for a post. I wish I could trace my ancestors back far enough to know when and from where they immigrated to "the new world."

  2. Love this topic for a post Chris. Well done!