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Pre-Course Assignment #2

For this assignment, I spent a lot of time talking to my dad about his side of the family, but I am still unsure of where exactly I fit within my family’s migration story. The male side of my father’s family descends from the Irish McMullens. The family tree that we know of starts with a man named James McMullen or possibly McMullan (this last name eventually changed to McMillan, which is my last name). He and his family emigrated to Scotland from Ireland because of the Great Famine that lasted from 1845-1849. This period of mass starvation and disease affected many families in Ireland and permanently changed the country’s demographic and cultural landscape.

The jobs of my father’s ancestors changed drastically over time because of the creation of modern medicine. The first men were coal miners and the men who came later eventually became medical practitioners. My father’s ancestors spent time migrating between Ireland and Scotland due to pressure from the English who began to force the Scots into indentured servitude, causing many of them to escape to Ireland. My grandfather and grandmother, James McMillan and Clare McMillan, eventually emigrated to the United States from Scotland. They moved to Columbus, Ohio where my grandfather started teaching at Ohio State University. My mother’s side of the family mainly comes from Ireland and Northern Europe.

Common push factors that lead to emigration may include famine, conflict, drought, lack of job opportunities or religious persecution. Common pull factors that draw families to a new location could be the promise of political stability, better health care, religious freedom, more job prospects or the chance to explore a unique culture unlike their own.

One final question for the instructors: What is the best in-country mailing address when registering for an absentee ballot?