Conducting Family History Research on Ellis Island
The American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC), located on the first floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, is where visitors can conduct family history research on Ellis Island. For a small fee, you and your family can log on to one of the computers, type in a name, and begin your journey of discovery. You can access the passenger records of the ships that landed millions of immigrants, crew members, and other passengers at the Port of New York from 1892 to 1924. Copies of these ship manifests as well as pictures of most of the ships are available for purchase. For the use of the AFIHC computers and for the help provided by the trained staff of the AFIHC, there is a minor fee.
The same information being accessed by the AFHIC's computers at Ellis Island can also be accessed online for no cost at ellisisland.org. You can order copies of passenger manifests, ships pictures, and other family heritage documents.
The other "list of names" at Ellis Island is the Wall of Honor, located north of the Main Building. The Wall of Honor contains names of people whose families donated to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in order to have the names inscribed on the wall as a way to honor their ancestors and family heritage. The people listed on the Wall of Honor did not necessarily enter the United States through Ellis Island and not all of the Ellis Island immigrants are listed on the Wall of Honor.
Did You Know?
Since the passage of the "Steerage Act of 1819", passenger manifests have been required for all arriving vessels to be delivered to the U.S. Government and reported to Congress. This document, used for inspection at Ellis Island, has become an important starting point in researching family history.