Located in the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast, within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Immigration Museum is one of the country's most popular historic sites. The museum is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex.
More Than a Museum
In 2001, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, unveiled the American Family Immigration History Center®. This exciting family research facility at Ellis Island provides visitors with advanced computer and multimedia technology, printed materials, and professional assistance for investigating immigration history, family documentation, and genealogical exploration.
The museum’s collection consists of approximately 390,000 individual items systematically recorded and accessible through over 48,000 computerized records and over 1 million archival records. The collection is organized into the categories of history, archeology and natural history.
At a Time When Photography was Coming of Age
The same time immigrants were making their way into America through the Ellis Island immigration depot, cameras and photography were finding their way into the hands of the general public. As a result, for the first time it is possible to tell the story of Ellis Island with photographs. These pictures allow us now to peer firsthand into the lives of those coming to make a new life for themselves in a new country more than a century ago.
The National Park Service has put together an online collection of Ellis Island Photos & Multimedia whose images - some historic and some more recent - show Ellis Island's history, up to the present-day.
A Great Place to Start
If you are just starting your family history research then the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is a terrific place to begin. According to The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., more than 100 million Americans may find records of their family's beginnings in the new world here. The American Family Immigration History Center® allows you to access the passenger records of the ships that landed some 22 million immigrants, crew members, and other passengers at the Port of New York and Ellis Island from 1892 to 1924. Experienced volunteers can provide guidance so visitors can view manifests and ship images from their ancestor's journey.
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