New York City and the Historical Ellis Island

Year after year, tourists flock to New York City to see the sights, going to the Empire State Building, taking NYC bus tours, and visiting Ellis Island. Some visit for fun, while others are interested in the history. For those who come in search of historical sites, a Statue of Liberty Tour is a must-see. More than a tourist stop, Ellis Island evokes feelings of fear and hope when reminiscing about the millions of immigrants who entered the United States through this historic place. Those feelings become more personal when realizing that statistics state that approximately 40 percent of United States citizens are descendants of Ellis Island immigrants. In fact, that is precisely why so many people want to visit Ellis Island: They hope to see original records of their relatives who were processed here and discover their family's stories.

What Is Ellis Island?

Ellis Island is located at the mouth of the Hudson River, between the states of New York and New Jersey. This historic site opened in 1892 as an immigration station that processed newly arriving immigrants. For those coming to the United States, there was great hope for a new life. However, anyone suspected of being physically or mentally ill was turned away and sent off on the next ship, turning that hope into devastation. Since life in their home countries was unbearable, many took the chance and came anyway, at least until the doors closed in 1954.

Why Is Ellis Island Important?

Records indicate that the United States was significantly populated by immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Between 1900 and 1914, it was not uncommon for Ellis Island to process up to 10,000 immigrants per day. People fled home countries that were suffering from poverty or civil unrest in search of a productive economy and peaceful life.

Defining Genealogy

Genealogy is the study of one's ancestry. This is accomplished by creating a family tree from information provided by family members and public records. It is a tedious and time-consuming job that can take hours of searching through birth and death certificates as well as census and immigration records. In some cases, people have been known to piece together the family tree through land records as well.

What Can We Find Out From Ellis Island's Records?

Whether you have family members who traveled through Ellis Island or you are simply a history buff, Ellis Island records can provide a wealth of information, including a comprehensive list of all of the immigrants who traveled to the United States from 1892 through 1954. Included in this list is the location they came from, which can help a genealogist track down their lineage. Some records may also include photographs taken as immigrants were processed.

Genealogy Tips, Passenger Searches, and Other Ellis Island Information