Ellis Island

Whether or not your family actually passed through Ellis Island, a visit here is something no one should miss.   From the time you approach the Statue of Liberty, to the time you board the ferry to go back to the mainland, you feel the emotions our ancestors must have experienced as they realized their journey was finally over, and their new life was about to begin.   In many cases they had suffered great hardships, both at home and on the voyage to America.  They were excited, and scared.  They had no idea of what to expect, but they came here for a better life.  Each of our ancestors was a hero, for to leave one's home for a strange land took more courage than most of us have today.

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Imagine seeing this lady in the water as you enter the harbor in New York.  No matter how many pictures you see of the Statue of Liberty, it doesn't fail to impress when you see it in person. 

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After you pass the Statue of Liberty, you approach Ellis Island. It is an impressive sight, even from the water.

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The entrance to the museum.

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This is the great hall, where the lines were formed for our ancestors to be interviewed and processed. There were rooms on the second floor which contained bunks for those who were detained.

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The museum contains many displays of items brought to this country by the immigrants.  This is a sample of the luggage they carried.  Other displays contain items of native clothing, letters, and other personal items, many donated by the descendants.  Also in the museum are many of the artifacts found when the building was being restored.

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The Wall of Honor

The wall was erected in memory of all those who passed through the Island. Above is a map to guide you to your immigrant ancestor.  Though I had no family with their name on the wall, I watched as others found their family, and ran their fingers across their name.  It struck me that this must be similar to the Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, DC.

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The wall surrounds the courtyard in the rear of the main building. The circular section, which contains the first series of names, in alphabetical order, overlooks the water surrounding the island.

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This picture was taken from Ellis Island on June 3, 2001. I didn't realize at the time it would be a picture of history.

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There are dozens of web sites out there which tell the story of Ellis Island and the immigrant experience.   I'll add some links when I get permission.  In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed the trip through my eyes.


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This page updated on October 21, 2001