Why did our great grandparents leave their homes? There are no firsthand stories. History, however, tells us that poverty was one of the main reasons for Czech and Slovak migration. Another factor for emigration was politics. The military nature of the Austrian rulers who ruled Slovakian lands encouraged emigration. When Hungary gained some autonomy from Austria, Slovaks would begin emigrating in large numbers. We would be among them.
These factors, however, would not be enough by themself. Other historians would note the incentive of free land. Farmland was available to immigrants in America as the government opened cheap western lands to settlement. But our family would have immigrated too late to claim this benefit. It is also doubtful they would have had funds to purchase any land. Instead, we came to the United States during a period of massive industrial development. Immigrants filled the demand for more labor and fueled the growth of the United States. Today, people say the Elcik’s worked the jobs that no one wanted.