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Daniel Santoscoy

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Daniel Santoscoy spent his life traveling, across the United States and to Mexico, mostly for work. While he has never considered himself an immigrant, he has explored different cultures and geographies.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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Born in Virginia, raised in Texas and Mexico, educated in Ohio, and now living in Michigan, Dad always said he moved around a lot, but he's never called himself an immigrant. Whatever he calls it, the story of Daniel Santoscoy shares many similar themes to immigrant stories.

Daniel Santoscoy was born on November 29th, 1963 in Alexandria, Virginia to Charles and Catalina Santoscoy. While Charles and Catalina were of Mexican heritage, both of their families came from the border city of El Paso, Texas. They were in Alexandria because Charles was serving at an Army base near by.

Catalina and little Daniel followed Charles from Virginia to Germany and back again as he finished his service with the military. When Charles' time with the Army was over, the Santoscoys moved back to El Paso, where all their family was. In El Paso, Charles sought to fulfill a lifelong ambition to become a doctor. Unfortunately, American medical schools were either too expensive or not interested in an applicant so far removed from his undergraduate degree. With his options in the U.S. dwindling, Charles decided looked for some out of the box options. Finally, he decided that his best opportunity was to move his family to their ancestors' home of Mexico and study medical pathology there.

So Daniel (now in middle school) was on the move again, this time with little brother Charlie, this time to Morelia, Mexico. In Morelia, Daniel experienced many of the same things his great grandparents and their families experienced in moving to Texas generations ago. A new language, unfamiliar customs, strange neighbors, and a longing for home. Although Daniel felt displaced at first, it didn't take long before he had new friends, was laughing and joking with them in a new language and was celebrating old holidays in new ways.

By the time Charles had finished his degree, Daniel had come to see Morelia as somewhere between familiar and foreign. The Santoscoys moved back to El Paso and Charles began teaching high school chemistry while looking for jobs in his field, pathology. Incidentally, Charles taught at the same school Daniel went to.

Daniel, now Dan, began thinking about life beyond high school. His dream was to fly planes, so he applied to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis to become a pilot. Throughout his junior and senior year, he worked on his application, practicing for the physical exam, writing his essay, even getting the recommendation from his senator that the Naval Academy requires. However, before he completed his application, Dan got cold feet. One way or another, he just couldn't see himself in the Navy. Instead, he went to Kent State University in Ohio.

At Kent State, Dan studied computer science and business. It was there that he met Lynne Olinger, his future wife. Four years in Kent were spent partying hard and studying harder, working in the library and going to football games. After his graduation, Dan took the first job opportunity that came his way and went to work for Ross Perot's company, EDS, Electronic Data Systems, in Dallas.

Though he began by training and learning his trade, in Dallas, he was soon moved out to work in Michigan. He continued working in Michigan while Lynne finished her degree at Kent State. When she graduated, she followed Dan to Michigan and started her Masters' in Social Work at Michigan State University.

Eventually, Dan and EDS parted ways and Dan began doing contractual work in Michigan. This gave him more freedom to move around, but it was difficult working for himself without the guarantee of a paycheck or benefits. Luckily, his skills were in high demand, so he was rarely without work. During this time, Dan and Lynne (now married) lived in several different small towns in Michigan around Flint, East Lansing, and Detroit.

In 1993, Dan and Lynne made the difficult decision to invest in a big, old house in Detroit. It was expensive and needed a lot of work, but they felt that it was time to settle in one place more permanently. A year later they had their first son, me, Nathan Santoscoy.

While Dan and Lynne's move to Detroit 23 years ago was the last time Dan moved house, he hasn't stopped moving. Dan has continued traveling, both for labor and for leisure. So while he may not call himself an immigrant, Dan certainly has moved around a lot.