1. AHewlett
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    AHewlett Member

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    New York and Immigration 1600s-1700s

    Discussion in 'Research' started by AHewlett, Mar 13, 2014.

    Hi everyone

    I want to start my story off with one of the character's ancestors who came from Ireland in the late 1600's or early 1700's, I haven't worked that bit out yet, and traveled to America looking for a new life. I've been trying to find articles and websites on what New York would have been like, what he would have had to do to get on a ship to get to the New World and what would have waited for him there.

    I want him to have his own little shop but I don't know if that would have been possible for an Irish man in that day and age.

    So if anyone knows of any websites, articles or books or can tell me from their own research then I would be really grateful as I've tried my own library which isn't helpful at all.

    Thank you
    Anne-Marie.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The definitive history of New York City up until 1898 (when Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were added to form Greater New York, a term almost never used anymore), is Gotham, by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace.

    New York was a cosmopolitan burgh almost from its beginnings, owing to the initial settlement by the Dutch and subsequent transfer to Britain. Quakers such as John Bowne settled in Flushing (Queens) and authored the Flushing Remonstrance, the first declaration of religious freedom in the New World. Other early influences were German and French (particularly Hugenots). The first Catholics to settle in New York arrived some time around 1685, while Thomas Dongan was governor and James II was king. So, that might be your start. However, despite the Remonstrance, there was intense prejudice against Catholics and no Catholic services were allowed to be conducted until after the Revolutionary War.

    All of which is not to say that your character couldn't have set up shop in New York at that time, but he would have been regarded with suspicion and probably contempt. He might have had a great deal of difficulty making a success of his business. If he did arrive, it might very well have been as a crew member on an English ship. If he were in New York in 1689 at the time of Leisler's Rebellion, he most certainly would have suffered persecution. At the very least, his shop would have been looted. Even if he were living in Flushing, he would have been at risk.

    The overwhelming majority of Irish immigrants arrived after 1846. Good luck with your project.
     
  3. AHewlett
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    AHewlett Member

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    Thank you so much for your help! I never knew any of that and it's amazing to know so thank you!

    I picked the 1600s to 1700s mostly because of the family timeline, as it expands from that area to the present and it has to cover around seven males who take that first business and expand it to a grocery store to a bank to a brothel then onto an advertising business.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    You're very welcome. I live in Queens, at the top of the line of hills that separated the English settlement of Jamaica from the Dutch settlement of Flushing. Local history has long been a passion of mine.

    My current project is a historical (not of New York, although I plan to write that some day), and I find myself constantly stopping to go back and recheck facts. I maintain two "timeline" charts - one for historical events and one for the various characters' families. What you may find as you go is that how you originally planned the flow of fictional events may not quite fit historical events, requiring you to adjust. You may also find that when you have a new idea for an event in one era, it affects events in other eras. At least that's been my experience.
     
  5. AHewlett
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    AHewlett Member

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    That's a brilliant idea! I've only made a timeline of the family members and the year of their birth but doing two separate timelines sounds perfect!
     

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