Ellis Island opened on 1 Jan 1892. It was a Happy New Year for those who were admitted to the US that momentous day. Over the next years, more than 20 million immigrants were processed through its portals. And many were deported through the same portals–20,000 in 1932 alone.
By word of mouth, the regulations and limits that ruled an immigrant’s ability to enter the US, spread. Eye disease and maladies that affected the eyes could strike terror in the breasts of those trying to enter. The story is told that one young woman who awoke with an eye infection and was told she would have to return home, took a spoon and dug her eye out herself, covered the hole with a black patch, and was given a ticket on the ferry to the mainland. The “land of promise” attracted persons of all ages and backgrounds.
The Island complex became a national park in 1956 and a museum in 1990.
The surviving records are microfilmed and the whole are available online using Steve Morse’s One Step program to find the right entry for names that could be spelled and misspelled in a dozen ways.
Happy New Year! 2014 will be an amazing genealogy year–for New York research and your ancestors. Your favorite New York genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Are you interested in Long Island? Stay tuned for some sage advice and some new resources to search.