Opened on January 1, 1892, Ellis Island became the nation’s premier federal immigration station. In operation until 1954, the station processed over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers. The main building was restored after 30 years of abandonment and opened as a museum on September 10, 1990.
Today, over 40% of America’s population can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island.
Our first arrival:
The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old girl from County Cork, Ireland, on January 1, 1892. Along with her two brothers, she was coming to America to meet her parents, who had moved to New York two years prior. She received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece.
Our last arrival:
The last person to pass through Ellis Island was a Norwegian merchant seaman by the name of Arne Peterssen in 1954.
After the 1924 passing of the National Origins Act, the only immigrants to pass through Ellis Island were displaced persons or war refugees.
American Family Immigration History Center
The American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC) at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum contains manifests of 25 million immigrants, passengers, and crew members who entered New York Harbor between 1892 and 1924. Records can be searched at Ellis Island and on-line. Click here for more information.
Ellis Island immigrants attaining their place as Famous Immigrants in America include:
- Charles Atlas (Italian Bodybuilder)
- Irving Berlin (Russian Composer)
- Frank Capra (Italian Director)
- Albert Einstein (German Physicist)
- Al Jolson (Lithuanian Actor)
- Bela Lugosi (Hungarian Actor)
- Knute Rockne (Norwegian Athlete)
- Rudolph Valentino (Italian Actor)
More information at Immigration History Center