• Immigrants awaiting inspection in front of Ellis Island's Main Building

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

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  • Ellis Island is open on a limited basis while repairs continue.

    Ellis Island has reopened on a limited basis. Due to the nature of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy parts of the historic Main Building and museum, including most of the exhibits and both elevators, remain closed at this time. More »

Kudrna Family

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From left to right: Jan, Anna, and Marie Kudrna in Sardice Moravia, c. 1917.
National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM
 
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.
 
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Marie and cooks on the R.M.S. Orbita, July 1923.
National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM
 
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Marie in a traditional outfit handmade by her mother, Anna, c. 1924

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

In 1922, Kudrna was finally able to arrange ocean passages for his wife and children who arrived at Ellis Island dressed in their native clothing.
 
 

Did You Know?

resized black_tom Saturday Evening Post

On July 30, 1916, a major explosion at the railway terminals on the Black Tom Wharf in Jersey City did considerable damage to the Ellis Island buildings. The walls, ceilings, roofs and foundations of the hospital buildings were weakened, and many windows, casings and doors were blown out. The repairs to the facilities took about a year at a cost of nearly $400,000.00(about $8,333,333.33 in 2012).