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Immigrants: Ethnic Groups

Many people, many reasonsStatue of Liberty

People from around the world came to the United States--and then to Utah--for many reasons, reasons as numerous as the people who came. 

But most were searching for something better: brighter opportunities, easier family lives, and the chance to become a part of the American Dream and give their children a better future than they themselves had known. Learn about some of the groups who came to Utah

The people who already lived in Utah welcomed some immigrants.


David O. McKay, a prominent son of immigrants

Some succeeded and became prominent. The names of some families became important and famous in Utah – people like the McKays, whose mother immigrated from Wales and whose father immigrated from Scotland, and whose son (David O. McKay) became president of the LDS church;or David Eccles, another Scottish immigrant, who made millions of dollars through his many businesses, including the Utah Construction Company.

But for others, it didn't work out so well. 

After struggling through a long and dangerous journey from their old homes to their new homes, many immigrant families were greeted with suspicion, prejudice, and sometimes even outright hatred. The people who were already here looked down on immigrants who spoke languages other than English or who had different customs (such as Scandinavians or Germans). Read "Beekeepers in Belgium--A Fable."


Mexican "traqueros"--men who worked to maintain and repair railroad tracks

People tended also to look down on people who had darker skin than they did, like those from southern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, or African Americans.

Many immigrants could only find work in low-paying jobs, often in dangerous conditions, like working on railroad tracks or in the mines.

For some immigrants, the bright hopes they had for a new life in America must have been a disappointment.

Read about:

Read about how immigrant families learned to live in Utah in "The Family Endures," in Beehive History 25. Read about inequality among immigrants in "We Had to Help Ourselves" in Beehive History 27.