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

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

Looking for Your Ancestor?

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island
Landing at Ellis Island 1902.
(Photo taken by the Maltine Company)
Library of Congress

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:

- The year of their arrival (or a small range of years);

- The name of the ship they traveled on;

- Alternate spellings of names;

- The names of other people traveling with them (relatives, etc.). These names will probably be grouped together, and can help you determine if a particular name is the name you are looking for.

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?

Guastavino ceiling Ellis

The Guastavino Ceiling in the Great Hall: Rafael Guastavino Moreno (1842 –1908) was a Spanish architect and builder. He created a "Tile Arch System" patented in the United States in 1885 used for constructing robust, self-supporting arches and architectural vaults using interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar, it is found in some of the most prominent Beaux-Arts landmarks across the United States