The Sangamon Experience

Study Away Programs has been working with The Sangamon Experience and with several of our international partners on tracing immigrants to Springfield and central Illinois focusing initially on individuals and groups who came to the USA from England and Ireland.  These two countries were selected for several reasons:  During the 1800s Irish and English immigrants came in large numbers.  During Lincoln’s time the largest immigrant group in Springfield was Irish.  UIS has partner universities in both countries and both universities have been engaged in immigration research for many years.  In England, the University of Hull, has been conducting research on the movement of people from Scandinavia, northern and eastern Europe and England as Hull was an important port city on the east coast of England.  One of those immigrants, from an area just north of Hull, was a neighbor of Abraham Lincoln.*  Maynooth University in Ireland has been conducting research on the role of the large country estates in the mass migrations of people during the 1800s.  In the 1840s a group of estate workers from central Ireland walked about 150 miles to Dublin to find passage to Canada and the USA.  Their path took them through Maynooth and their brief overnight stay there is commemorated along the National Famine Walk.

All of these elements will be incorporated into a Study Away Programs course on Immigration and Human Trafficking which will include modules on Hull and Maynooth and for which students will be engaged in immigrant tracing with the help of our colleagues at Hull and Maynooth.

*Anna Kanai, the Graduate Assistant in the Office of Engaged Learning, conducted some research on Peter Berriman, Lincoln’s neighbor, tracing his family back in time to England and then forward to the present.  Her research will be featured in The Sangamon Experience publications and website.