Almost half of the US population can trace their ancestry to immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Immigrants are an important part of our heritage, and their records are an important part of family histories, family searches and genealogy work.
Ellis Island immigration records are a good first step in finding immigrant ancestors. The Ellis Island Records database has records for more than 22 million immigrants who entered the United States at Ellis Island or the Port of New York between the peak immigration years of 1892 and 1924. You can search by name, year of arrival, year of birth, town or village of origin, or ship name, and the database will provide links to transcribed records and digitized copies of original ship manifests. Immigrant records will generally provide the following information:
- Age at arrival
- Marital status
- Last residence
- Port of origin
- Date of arrival
- Ship of travel
You can access these records online or through special kiosks at the Ellis Island American Family Immigration History Center. Remember, though, that even though you believe your ancestor passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, you still may not be able to find a record. Due to misspellings, transcription errors or other factors, some immigrants may be more difficult to locate. You may want to try searching for various spellings of the last name or reversing a couple of the letters. If you’re searching for a woman, you may want to try a search using her maiden name.
If you’re looking for an immigrant who came to America after 1924, you won’t find the information in the Ellis Island database, as it does not yet have records past 1924 available. However, these records are available on microfilm from the National Archives and your local Family History Center. There are indexes for New York passenger lists from June 1897 to 1948.