Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ellis Island

I read in an article this morning that the hospital at Ellis Island had been added to the "America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places" list put out by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

I last visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in 2009 right around the time I was really becoming interested in genealogy. There are many creative exhibits that give you statistics about immigration patterns and the lives of those entering America. One such exhibit allows you to search for ancestors that may have passed through Ellis Island...I was instantly drawn to this and waited patiently in line watching the people in front of me chuckling over their search results. 

I typed my last name into their computer and came up with...nothing! Not one person! 

I was disappointed but figured it wasn't a complete listing or there must be a trick to searching that I had missed.

I tend to be a nostalgic person and despite not finding any tangible evidence linking me to an Ellis Island ancestor, I stood in the main building and tried to imagine myself making my way through the inspection process before being turned loose into a foreign country.

After a few years of additional research I have come to the conclusion that my ancestors did not pass through Ellis Island. The very first immigrant to enter the United States this way was Annie Moore on January 1, 1892....just over 30 years after my Irish 3rd great grandfather arrived in New York. He currently holds the honor of being the "most recent" immigrant in my family tree.

I'd like to go back and visit soon.

Today my tree contains 1338 people and 2052 records.

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