Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cumbria, Sheffield, Mormon History. Mormon Convert Immigration 19th C. Coming to America

Mormon History
Convert Immigration from England
19th Century
Perpetual Emigrating Fund

Mormonism.  Converts. History. The fast rise of a religion. Here, the impact on historical interest triggered by a Mormon candidate for the presidency of the United States/

1.  Roots of Mitt Romney.  Cumbria.  Dalton?

The current American presidential election process includes a Mormon candidate, whose forbears are traced, apparently, to 1837 or so, to Cumbria, Dalton in particular, see  http://www.in-cumbria.com/white-house-hopeful-s-connection-to-furness-1.908148?referrerPath=news-archive.  This is an area that includes the Appleby Horse Fair, held 2011 on June 3-5.  This event attracts thousands of people of Traveler, Gypsy heritage, see http://www.applebyfair.org/
Interest simmers, not a big deal, on the ethnic roots of the candidate:  Mitt Romney, with Romneys in England for several centuries.  And in the process of Mormon conversions and financial support for converts.  See http://martinlutherstove.blogspot.com/#!/2012/01/mormon-converts-19th-c-owned-by-company.html.
With a name, Romney, so like Roma, Rom, Romany, we looked around. 
2.  Are there roots in Romney Marsh of Kent.

And, the closest connection for Romney with Romany or Roma or Rom (Travelers, Gypsies) is in the Romney Marsh of Kent.  This is specifically stated also as the Romany Marsh, see http://www.infobarrel.com/History_of_Romney_Marsh_kent.  A smugglers' haven -- wool, brandy, tea. Special breed of sheep that do well in the wet. The identification by surname and ethnic name is tenuous to be sure, and certainly in the dimmer past, but not so far fetched.  Will our Mitt Romney take an interest, ever, in migration, ethnic groups, and their opportunities.
3.  The rise of Mormonism

Mormonism, properly known as Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints, or LDS, began formally in America in 1830 by a previously unknown person, one Joseph Smith.

The religious sytem rapidly spread by means of LDS missionaries abroad, particularly in England. This activity resulted in a large migration of newly converted believers, thousands from the mainly industrial cities and worker neighborhoods (is that so?). These new Mormons emigrated to harbor areas in America from Boston to Louisiana, and then to gathering points to Utah by wagon train, see the BBC overview of basic beliefs at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/mormon/ataglance/glance.shtml.

Our candidate's family in Dalton was apparently converted in 1837. Who were they, to take on something so new? Are there any birth or death records prior to 1837, land holdings.  Or were they, as so many of our own forbears, not within the established cultural system.

Dalton is eager to claim Mitt Romney, see http://www.daltonlocal.co.uk/us-republican-politician-mitt-romney-s-dalton-heritage-goes-back-to-1642-1.907821?referrerPath=home.  See all the connections with family that that site lays out, tourists ho. An interest remains in photos, birth records, gravesites, documentation, of Church of England or Roman Catholic heritage, or other mainstream British Christian.  This documentation of Romney heritage would offset the clear suggestion that, at some point, a Romani family assimilated. All we need are the documents, the vetting.

The BBC identifies working class British as the primary converts, as industrial conditions were so harsh on laboring people. And there were also the poor, no resources. The BBC identifies Sheffield in particular as a human tragedy, for whom an alternative, a religion that welcomed them and would help them get to America, was a magnet.  See "social misery" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/legacies/immig_emig/england/south_yorkshire/article_1.shtml

4.  Financial help to converts.

Cash offered help to the poor and middling in their conversion.  The Mormons' Perpetual Emigration Fund or Perpetual Emigrating Fund, see Google Book Journal of Discourses of Brigham Young1854, on the establishment of it: reasons, methods.

The Perpetual Emigration Fund, or PEF, accordingly, was set up as a corporation by the Mormons in 1849, by which converts got free passage to America in exchange for repaying the amount (how much? was there interest? were fortunes made on a profit between passage costs and amount charged) -- a kind of indentured servitude a the American end? Or a huge student loan idea -- could the people get out of it if they changed heir minds?  In either event, it was a helping hand, get people over here, get them started.  Some, of course, never repaid; but benefited nonetheless.

Brigham Young was eloquent on the need, and the results, see http://scriptures.byu.edu/jod/jodhtml.php?vol=02&disc=14.  There is much on the subject, see another Google Book, Western Lives, a Biographical History
5.  Romney: Long history after emigration.

5.1.   Does length of residence mean superiority:  look at emigration through current lens.
Does emigration prior to 1900 or so mean superiority.  It means more time to amass wealth before income taxes, to exploit before the rights of others gained acceptance, but individual merit? Does any brilliant person pass those genes or influence on beyond the second generation?  Experience says, after the second generation, people become hangers-on.  Who left in immigration waves:  the successful, or the seeking.
5.2  If Romney has other-ethnic roots, different from pure "English" in the cultural tradition sense, that should help in his tolerance of other immigrants.  The Romany Archive and Documentation Center in Austin , Tx, would also like to know, we think.  See RADOC at http://www.radoc.net/radoc.php?doc=presentation&lang=en.

Why care?  Immigrants and immigrant rights (some would say there are no rights if persons enter without advance documentation) are in hot issue in America.
If this candidate knew that his heritage at some point was not English Upper, or even Middle, but even Traveler; or, English working class, would he be more amenable to human aspirations.  If his forebears were laborer, those who may not have been in misery, but had advancement roads blocked in the 19th Century, would he be more willing to stand up for those similarly disadvantaged, who don't have a handy Mormon conversion in their own country to help them. 

Or is Mitt Romney of the Dalton Romneys now just another profit-obsessed CEO:  if capitalism allows the big to swallow the little, why fuss?  That is an election issue.

6.  Other possible roots:

The name "Romney" suggests Romani, Romany, Roma, etc. but whether his forebears were Travelers will take someone simply looking up where the birth and grave records are.
The name itself, may even be Welsh, http://gypsiesroma.blogspot.com/2011/04/candidate-romney-immigration-policy-of.html, but there were Travelers and Tinkers in Wales, and also in Ireland, so it is an open issue until we learn more. If the family assimilated before the 1600's or even 1700's, no trace would remain, except the name, is that so?
7. Suppose Romney has Roma or Travelers roots.

How are Travelers, Gypsies, doing here?  They are exploited in the United States, stay under the radar when possible, just as in Europe.  See Gypsies, Roma, Romani. See also an overview as to Texas at at http://www.hellofodderhellobuyer.blogspot.com/#!/2011/12/candidates-and-their-own-minority-roots.html; or at  http://www.radoc.net/radoc.php?doc=art_b_history_romanireligion&lang=en&articles=true; or  http://sciway3.net/clark/freemoors/roma.html