In December of 1912, Frank Kudrna journeyed from Sardice, Moravia to America leaving behind his wife, Anna (who was expecting their second child, Marie) and son, Jan. Although Kudrna wanted to send for his family as soon as possible, the onset of World War I, which closed down most European ports from 1914 to 1919, and the First Quota Act, which curtailed immigration from Eastern Europe, prevented that reality for ten years.
The separation of families characterized much of the immigration pattern during Ellis Island's years of operation. As with the Kudrna family, war and other uncontrollable events often divided family members between their home country and America. However, family objectives also led to separation. Many men came to America temporarily - they hoped to earn enough money in America so that upon their return to the old country they could improve their standard of living. Other men were intent on creating a new life in America - their families either joined them immediately or sometime afterwards.
National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM
Did You Know?
When Ellis Island was opened in 1892, the facility bore little resemblance to the Renaissance Revival/Beaux Arts structure that people have come to know today. Made out of Georgia pine, the complex caught fire on June 15, 1897 and burned to the ground in about 6 hours. The current building was opened on December 17, 1900.