of the Family
Feuds and Wars
Family Coat of Arms
x 17" on Aged Parchment
display your famly Coat of Arms on a golden shield mounted on a solid walnut
personalized Family Tree allows you to enter two sides of famiy members
going back four generations
important dates in your family. Two Coat of Arms of your choice printed
with your special date in full color.
Family Coat of Arms is reproduced in full heraldic color. This Keepsake
is matted and framed in solid oak.
General Information call (212) 363-7620, or write the National Park Service,
Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, New York, NY 10004.
extended hours in the summer).
Liberty Island and Ellis Island are open every day of the year except December
25 from 9:30am until 5:00pm
of Names International Inc.,
Bath Rd. Suite 100
Island is a symbol of America's immigrant heritage. For more than six decades
- 1892 to 1954 - the immigrant depot processed the greatest tide of incoming
humanity in the nation's history. Over twelve million people landed here;
today their descendents account for 40% of the country's population. Opened
on January 1, 1892, Ellis Island ushered in a new era of immigration with
each newcomer's eligibility to land now determined by federal law. The
government established a special bureau to process the record numbers that
were arriving at the end of 19th century. More than 70% landed in New York,
the country's largest port.
his book A Nation of Immigrants, John F. Kennedy writes, "There were probably
as many reasons for coming to America as there were people who came. It
was a highly individual decision." Historians agree that three social forces
were the chief motivators for the mass migration to America: religious
persecution, political oppression, and economic hardship.
Island is a small island in Upper New York Bay, although in New Jersey
waters, it is under the political jurisdiction of New York. It was a major
immigration station for the United States from 1892 to 1943 and an immigrant
detention station until 1954. Since 1965, it has been part of the Statue
of Liberty National Monument.
island was named for Samuel Ellis, who owned the island in the 1770s. It
was purchased by the federal government from New York State in 1808 and
was used as a fort. After the creation of the Immigration Bureau (1891),
the immigration station was moved from Castle Garden
Battery Park, Manhattan) to Ellis Island.
Ellis, immigrants were examined and either admitted or deported; at the
height of its activity, the Ellis Island station could process 1 million
people a year.
help descendants of Ellis Island immigrants find their ancestors, the Statue
of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation has opened The American Family Immigration
History Center. At this new education and research facility on Ellis Island,
you will be able to search for immigration information about your ancestors
on a newly- designed computer system.
information on these computers will come directly from original ships'
manifests, which are currently on microfilm at the National Archives and
Records Administration. From the computer, you will potentially be able
to learn all of the following about an immigrant ancestor:
# on Manifest
STEP ONE: LEAVING
many, the decision to leave was a family affair. Advice was sought – and
help was freely given by entire families, friends, and even villages. The
practice of one member of a family going to America first, then bringing
others over, was common. From 1900 to 1910, almost 95 percent of the immigrants
arriving at Ellis Island were joining either family or friends. Often those
who arrived first would send a prepaid ticket back home. It is believed
that in 1890 between 25 and 50 percent of all immigrants arriving in America
possessed prepaid tickets. In 1901, between 40 and 65 percent came either
on prepaid tickets, or with money sent to them from the United States.
1900, in addition to a ticket, however, an immigrant had to secure a passport
from local officials, and a US visa from either American consular office
or from the local consul at the port.
many, simply getting to the port was the first major journey of their lives.
Sometimes travelers would have to wait days, weeks and even months at the
port, either for their paperwork to be completed or for their ship to arrive.
Steamship lines were held accountable for medical examinations of the immigrants
before departing the port. Most seaport medical examinations were just
too rapid to disclose any but the most obvious diseases.
the immigrants were led down the gangplank to first-class, second-class,
or steerage. Steerage passengers walked past the tiny deck space, squeezed
past the machinery, and were directed down stairways into the enclosed
lower decks. They were now in their prison for the rest of their ocean
TWO: ON BOARD
types of accommodations on the ships brought immigrants to America:
class, second class, and steerage.
was enormously profitable for steamship companies. Even though the average
cost of a ticket was only $30, larger ships could hold from up to 2,000
immigrants, netting a profit of $45,000 to $60,000 for a single one-way
most, the experience of steerage was a nightmare. The conditions were crowded,
dark, unsanitary, and so foul smelling, that they were the single most
important cause of America’s early immigration laws. Unfortunately, the
laws were almost impossible to enforce. In spite of the miserable conditions,
they had faith in the future. To pass the time they would play cards, sing,
dance, and talk. Rumors about life in America, combined with stories about
rejections and deportations at Ellis Island, circulated endlessly. They
rehearsed answering the immigration inspectors’ questions, and hours were
spent learning the new language.
the time the trip approached its long-awaited end, most immigrants were
physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. Yet, even with the shores
of a New World looming before their eyes, their journey was not at an end.
inspectors boarded incoming ships in the quarantine area at the entrance
to the Lower Bay of New York Harbor. The quarantine examination was conducted
aboard ship and reserved for first – or second-class cabin passengers.
Very few cabin-class passengers were marked to be sent to Ellis Island
for more complete examinations. In 1905, of 100,000 cabin passengers
arriving in New York, only 3,000 had to pass through Ellis Island for additional
medical checks. During the same year, 800,000 steerage passengers were
examined at the island.
the visiting medical inspectors climbed down ladders to their waiting cutter,
the ship finally moved north through the Narrows leading to Upper New York
Bay and into the harbor. The first object to be seen, and the focus of
every immigrant’s attention, was the Statue of Liberty. Just beyond
the statue is Ellis Island. After the ship had docked in Manhattan, and
cabin passengers were departing to the freedom of New York, steerage passengers
poured across the pier to a waiting area. Each wore a name tag with the
individual’s manifest number written in large letters. The immigrants were
then assembled in groups of 30, according to their manifest letters, and
were packed on barges, while their baggage was piled on the lower decks.
they would arrive at the island’s landing slip and be led to the Main Building‘s
large reception room.
the ground still swaying beneath their feet, and the shouts of a dozen
different languages assaulting their ears, they met their first American,
an interpreter. The interpreter's patience and skill frequently helped
save an immigrant from deportation. The interpreters led groups through
the main doorway and up a steep stairway to the Registry Room. Unaware,
the immigrants were already taking their first test: a doctor stood at
the top of the stairs watching for signs of lameness, heavy breathing that
might indicate a heart condition, or "bewildered gazes" that might be symptomatic
of a mental condition.
an they passed, a doctor, with an interpreter at his side, would examine
the immigrant. On about 20% of the immigrants who passed he would scrawl
a large chalk white letter; which meant the immigrant was to be detained
for further medical inspection.
immigrants had any of the diseases proscribed by the immigration laws,
or were too ill or feeble-minded to earn a living, they would be deported.
Sick children ages 12 or older were sent back to Europe alone and children
younger than 12 had to be accompanied by a parent for the journey.
who passed their medical exams were now ready to take the final test from
the "primary line" inspector, with the ship’s manifest on a desk in front
of him and an interpreter at his side. This process was designed to verify
the 29 items of information contained on the manifest. Each inspector had
about two minutes to decide whether an immigrant was "clearly and beyond
a doubt entitled to land," nearly all of the immigrants received nods of
approval and were handed landing cards.
FOUR: BEYOND ELLIS ISLAND
with landing cards in hand moved to the Money Exchange. Here cashiers exchanged
gold, silver, and paper money from countries all over Europe to American
those traveling beyond New York City, the next stop was the railroad ticket
office. There agents collectively sold as many as 25 tickets a minute on
the busiest days. When it time for their train’s departure, they would
be ferried to the train terminals in Jersey City or Hoboken. Immigrants
going to New England went on to Manhattan. With admittance cards, railroad
or ferry passes, and box lunches in hand, the immigrants’ journey to and
through Ellis Island was complete. For many it had begun months or even