North East Immigration Wiki

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Welcome to Your Wiki Book Club!

We will be discussing the book Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman. Within every issue, there can be many perspectives, or points of view. I have listed seven perspectives that have come to my mind. You may add other perspectives if you wish. As we progress through this book, it is important to keep in mind the many perspectives that make up any situation.

If a word is highlighted in blue, then I have created a link so that you can find out more information.
List of Perspectives:
  1. Family left behind in native country
  2. Government of Native Country losing citizens
  3. Crew/group taking immigrants to United States
  4. Immigration/Border staff
  5. U.S. Government
  6. Parents of Immigrant Kids
  7. Immigrant Kids

What are the Interwoven Issues?:
Assignment One:

Read the first chapter of Immigrant Kids entitled "Coming Over". The author, Russel Freedman gives us a glimpse into the living conditions on board the ship such as the S.S. Pennland. "Immigrants usually crossed the Atlantic as steerage passengers. Reached by steep, slippery stairways, the steerage lay deep down in the hold of the ship. It was occupied by passengers paying the lowest fare. Men, women and children were packed into dark, foul-smelling compartments. They slept in narrow bunks stacked three high. They had no showers, no lounges, and no dining rooms. Because steerage conditions were crowded and uncomfortable, passengers spent as much time as possible up on deck."

Click here to read an interesting article about the bad living conditions within the steerage compartment of a ship.

Click on the link listed below to see the S.S. Pennland's ship manifest from 1889. This ship transported immigrants from Antwerp, Belgium to New York beginning on October 19, 1889.
Take a look at the number of immigrants, their ages, professions and country of origin. The manifest lists the spot that the immigrant was assigned on the ship. Take a look at which passengers occupied cabins and which occupied steerage. Then, fill in the chart listed in assignment two.

Important Note: Remember to navigate to pages 2 and 3 of the ship's manifest to see all of the immigrant's names.
1889 S.S. Pennland Ship Manifest

Assignment Two:
Based on the S.S. Pennland's ship manifest, analyze the information about the group of immigrants making the voyage together by filling in the following charts:

Analysis of Passengers on the S.S. Pennland during her voyage on October 19, 1889
Age Group
0 to 12 years old

13 to 19 years old

20 to 39 years old

40 to 59 years old

older than 59

Analysis of Passenger's Assigned Compartments on the S.S. Pennland during her voyage on October 19, 1889
Count the number of passengers assigned to the types of compartments and calculate the percentage of the total manifest that each compartment represents:
Number of Passengers
Percentage of Total
Saloon Forward

2nd Cabin Aft

Lower fwd steerage

Steerage Aft

Upper forward steerage

Assignment Three:
Reflect on the problems encountered by the immigrants on the trip over to the United States. What comforts are you accustomed to that you would have to give up under steerage living conditions?
(Edit your reflections here)

Assignment Four:

Read the chapter entitled "At Home" in the book Immigrant Kids.
Take a virtual tour of a the Tenement Museum located at 97 Orchard Street. Click on the icon labeled "Enter Here" for a virtual tour!

List the problems that the tenements faced in this type of housing. Reflect on why these conditions would pose certain dangers.:
(Edit your reflections here)