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NATIONAL ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HISTORY DAY – April 17

NATIONAL ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HISTORY DAY – April 17

NATIONAL ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HISTORY DAY

Each year on April 17th, National Ellis Island Family History Day encourages families to explore their ancestry and discover family who immigrated by way of Ellis Island.

From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island served as the busiest inspection station for millions of immigrants to the United States. On this day in 1907, officials recorded just under 12,000 names passing through Ellis Island. During all of 1907, officials processed over one million immigrants through Ellis Island. 

During its operation, approximately 12 million immigrants passed through the halls of Ellis Island. It operated from 1892 to 1954. Before Ellis Island, immigrants entered the United States in New York City at Castle Garden. Just months before Ellis Island’s opening, the old depot was demolished and ushered in a new era of immigration. The Statue of Liberty overlooks Ellis Island and was one of the first sights the nearly 2,000 immigrants a day would see as they disembarked. 

The new facilities offered an improvement over the Castle Garden. The large, open, and airy facility presented an overwhelming obstacle to some, though. With so many cultures and languages blending after such a long journey, the arrival at Ellis Island must have been stressful. Add to it confusion, excitement, and perhaps relief? For some, they entered Ellis Island as a step toward their future. Others were turned away for a variety of reasons. 

HOW TO OBSERVE #EllisIslandFamilyHistoryDay

Do you have a family member who immigrated through Ellis Island? Explore your ancestry and follow your ancestors’ footsteps. Discover the history behind your family’s name or learn about their experiences as they traveled to a new land. Many documents reveal glimpses into their lives and their reasons for immigrating. 

Use #EllisIslandFamilyHistoryDay to post on social media.

NATIONAL ELLIS ISLAND FAMILY HISTORY DAY HISTORY

On April 17, 2001, National Ellis Island Family History Day commemorated the busiest inspection station in the United States by launching digital access to its records. This project placed Ellis Island documents at descendents’ fingertips for the first time, allowing families to research their ancestors’ first steps into America. Governors across the United States officially declared the observance to be celebrated on April 17th, annually. Learn more at ellisisland.org.

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