Those of us involved with putting on? IHS?s biennial Midwestern Roots Conference are getting excited about seeing old friends, meeting new ones and talking together about family history. The session tracks about the history and records involved in migration and ethnicity and about DNA and advancing technologies are sure to be energizing.
One of the events I am especially looking forward to is the signing in the Exhibitors? Hall of a new IHS Press book Maria?s Journey by Ram_n and Trisha (Hull) Arredondo. This book is the result of an oral history project conducted in northwestern Indiana in the 1970s. Maria Arredondo and her family were interviewed by Professor James Lane of Indiana University Northwest and his colleague Sandy Appleby.
After Ram_n Ray? and his wife Trisha retired, they used the interview tapes and transcripts to write a nonfiction book about Ray?s family that reads like a novel. Maria?s Journey spans from Maria?s birth amidst the Mexican Revolution to her attainment of United States citizenship in 1978. At 14, Maria Perez entered an arranged marriage to Miguel Arredondo. The couple and their tiny daughter immigrated to Texas in the 1920s, living in a boxcar while Miguel worked for a railroad. Within a few years, they settled in East Chicago, Ind., where Miguel helped create the steelworkers union while working for Inland Steel, and Maria worked to make a home for Miguel and their 10 children.
The story includes much of early 20th-century America: the Great Depression, World War II and McCarthyism. However, immigration status adds to the story deportation and generational problems unique to new immigrants. The Arredondos also reveal family dynamics built around trusts broken and dreams lost, allowing readers to witness all the layers family members had to maneuver through to achieve successful American lives.