Ellis Island From Europe to “The Golden Door”
America’s Premier Immigration Station • 1890 – Federal Government establishes Bureau of Immigration & selects Ellis Island as site of new immigration station for port of New York • 1892 – Ellis Island opens it doors January 1 • 1897 – Fire destroys original wood buildings • 1900 – Ellis Island re-opens in its present Beaux-Art style
100 Million Americans Can Trace Ancestry to Ellis Island • 12 Million pass through from 1892 – 1954 • Peak years from 1892 – 1924 • 11,747 processed on one day 1907 • Quotas begin to restrict immigrants 1924 • Used as detention center for enemy aliens 1943 • Closes doors 1954
Saving Ellis Island • 1965 – Taken over by National Park Service • 1974 – Restore Ellis Island committee formed • 1983 – Restoration begins • 1990 – Ellis Island Immigration Museum opens September 10 • 1992- Ellis Island Centennial
First Wave of Immigration • 1830s / 1850s – Northwestern Europeans flee starvation, feudal governments & social upheaval from the Industrial Revolution. They came here from: • Ireland • Germany • Scandinavia • As well as China
Second Wave of Immigration • A “Flood-Tide” from Eastern & Southern Europe • Fleeing burdens of high taxes, poverty & overpopulation, oppression & religious persecution
Second Wave of Immigration • A Monumental Decision • Leaving Family & Friends • Maybe to Never See Them Again • & Begin a New Life in America
The Ship’s Manifest • Before Boarding Ship, Each Passenger was Subjected to De-Lousing & Questioning • A Series of 29 Questions were Asked • Answers were Written on the Ship’s Manifest • In English • Documenting Information for Genealogists Today
Leaving Europe for America • $12.00 Ticket • 10-14 Day Journey • 3rd Class Steerage • Crude Conditions
End of the Journey • “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor. Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free, The Wretched Refuse of Your Teeming Shore… “ • We'll take your trash!!
Arrival At Ellis Island • Transferred from Ship to the Island via Ferry • Sometimes Waiting for Hours to be Moved • And Reach the Golden Door to America
Now began a series of tests that would determine your fate Only 2 % were sent back 2% of 12 Million Would you like to have 2% of $12 Million Dollars? The Waiting Is Over
The Medical Exam • Medical Inspectors watched the people & marked them with chalk • The exam was frightening & embarrassing • Many varied ailments could send you home
X – Suspected Mental Defect Circled X- Definite Signs of Mental Defects B – Black C- Conjunctivitis CT – Trachoma E- Eyes F- Face Ft- Feet G- Goiter H- Heart K- Hernia N- Neck L- Lameness P- Physical & Lungs PG- Pregnancy SC- Scalp S- Senility SI- Special Inquiry Chalk Marks Used at Ellis Island
The Eye Exam • Eyes were special treatment • Each person had their eyes examined, usually with a hook to flip them up. • They were looking for Trachoma
Trachoma & Fauves • Trachoma & Fauves were the 2 main diseases that would send you home • Fauves is a skin fungus • Trachoma is a version of “Pink Eye”
The Questions • Asked a Series of 29 Questions • The Same as Were Asked Before Leaving Europe • To See if Your Story Remained the Same
The Mental Exam • Immigrants who Looked “Out of the Ordinary” Were Given Mental Exams • If You Failed the Exams (3 Chances), You Were Deported • Or Sent to DC to Become a Congressman
Making it • Once All the Testing Was Done, You Were Allowed to Leave the Island & Become an American • Or Become a “Bird of Passage”
The Streets Are Paved with Gold • I came here believing the streets were paved with gold. • I found out the streets weren’t paved at all, • And I was expected to pave them!
Too Many Undesirables • The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 effectively ends Chinese immigration • A growing Nativist movement grips the nation • WWI & the Russian Revolution promotes Xenophobia
Limiting Immigration • Quota system instituted in 1922 • Limits immigrants to a percentage of ethnic group already in the U.S. • Favors “desirable” immigrants over others
America, The Melting Pot • Our Unique Blend of Ethnicity has Resulted in a New & Distinct Culture Amongst the Nations of the World • Are We Really a Melting Pot? • Or More Like A Tossed Salad?
Tracing Your Family History • www.ellisisland.org • Search Passenger records • Add a Relative’s Name to the “Wall of Honor”