Political unrest, religious and cultural oppression and economic uncertainty were some of the factors that motivated Eastern Europeans and German Russians to emigrate in the years before World War I. Improvements in transportation eased the way. Steamships crossed the Atlantic in as little as two weeks and offered a variety of accomodations and rates, including the opportunity for men to work off their passage. The invention of the prepaid ticket and the development of inexpensive and reliable means of transferring funds abroad made it easier for families to finance their own exodus.
A sample of a wire transfer of funds in 1902