Looking for Your Ancestor?
Did Your Ancestor Come Through Ellis Island?
Today, a good percentage of American citizens are related to at least one of the 12 million+ people who immigrated through Ellis Island. If your relative passed through Ellis between 1892 (when Ellis Island opened) and 1924, you can look for their immigration records* in one of two ways:
1) When you visit Ellis Island, you can go to the American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC), operated by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. For a nominal fee, the people in AFIHC will put you on a computer so you can search for your relative.
2) You can also gain access to this same database by going to www.ellisisland.org on your home computer.
Please keep in mind that you will need more than just a name to find the person you are looking for. Additional helpful information includes:
If your ancestors did not come through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, you will not be able to search for their records when you visit us. Records do exist, it's just that our database does not include them. Here are some helpful suggestions and a list of other resources that can help you search for your family.
*The immigration records on this database are the ship manifests created by the shipping companies. "Ship manifests" are another way of saying "Passenger lists". If you are looking for other kinds of records, the link above will give a list of other resources.
Did You Know?
Although most immigrants processed at Ellis Island stayed between three and five hours, about 20% stayed overnight in dormitory rooms until their cases could be cleared. Many immigrants found these accommodations a big improvement over the severe conditions of traveling to America in "steerage".