Ellis Island Research
Kathryn Brannigan Walizer
Always wanted to go to Ellis Island to check out your ancestor’s arrival? Never seem to find the time to go? Or it is too far away ?
Well now you can go from the comfort of your home office and computer. Granted it is not as much fun as being there, but you can glean some much need information from the Ellis Island Website. The link is
After bringing up the site, you will see tab that say Passenger Search, Ellis Island, Family Scrapbooks, Genealogy
Starting with the passenger search you can enter the ancestors name and birth date and hit search, the site will give you a list of persons that entered Ellis Island with that birth date, and name if you find your ancestor it will in all likelihood give you the ships manifest that you can look at and if desired you can order a copy at a nominal fee.
The second tab will bring up the historical facts associated with the Island. It is very interesting reading and offers photographs and web links to sites referring to immigration and citizenship for example http://.www.uscis.gov will bring you to the Citizenship and Immigration Service website.
The Genealogy Tab is truly a goldmine of information and help for the beginner and even the more advanced researcher. In this portion of the site you will find a tab that offers information on how to research and organize data, a free pedigree chart download and directions on how to use it. A family history sheet and a passenger log
In this tab, it also will list helpful site outside of the Ellis Island site related to genealogy.
The following are among the many helpful sites related to genealogy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), this site contains a large and freely searchable archive. Among the data are: the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), U.S. Federal Census for 1880 or the 1881 census for both the British Isles and Canada, a vital records index containing birth, marriage, and death records from around the world. You can download free software for managing your family tree on your computer. Personal Ancestral File or PAF is both powerful and easy to use even for a novice computer user. A very helpful site and free to all visitors.
The National Archives and Records Administration WEb site contains a tremendous amount of information on everything from genealogy to White House tape recordings, Presidential Libraries to the Declaration of Independence. Don't be surprised if you find yourself coming back to this site on a regular basis - it's fantastic and full of useful information for all levels of research. To link directly to the genealogy section of this site, click here.
The USGenWeb Project is a group of volunteers working together to provide Web sites for genealogical research in every county and every state of the United States. The Project is non commercial and fully committed to free access of genealogy information for everyone. Organization of the site is by county and state, providing links to all the state Web sites which, in turn, provide gateways to the county. USGenWeb also sponsors important Special Projects at the national level.
The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild is a group of volunteers focused on transcribing passenger arrival records and publishing their work online so that immigrant arrivals can be more easily found online. Access to this site is free and all researchers are welcome to share transcriptions they may have already completed. The site currently has free access to more than 7,000 individual passenger manifests and this number continues to grow.
The Federation of Genealogical Societies is an umbrella organization whose membership is made up of the hundreds of genealogical and historical societies in the United States, as well as some international organizations. With more than 500 member societies, FGS has a collective membership numbering in the tens-of-thousands. Each year, representatives and delegates from many of these societies gather for an annual conference. A quarterly publication, FORUM, contains an assortment of articles of interest to societies and their membership.
The online home of the National Genealogical Society, this non-profit organization was formed in 1903 for the benefit of all levels of genealogy (beginner to professional) and promotes education, a high standard of research principles and scholarly practices, and interest in genealogy, family history, and a range of other related activities.
The Association of Professional Genealogists is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting a high set of professional and ethical standards for genealogy research. With more than 1,500 members, the expert knowledge of their members covers a wide range of geographic, ethnic, and other specialties. You can also see more details about APG on our Web site by clicking here.
This site is a general reference for the United States Federal Census and is useful for anyone conducting family history research. Since 1790, the U.S. has conducted a federal census every 10 years and these records contain valuable clues regarding the location and makeup of all American families. A great starting point to learn about census for genealogy research (and it's free).
In many ways, Pier 21 is Canada's equivalent to Ellis Island. From 1928 to 1971, this port received over one million immigrants, wartime evacuees, refugees, troops, war brides and their children. In 1999, Pier 21 reopened after a renovation of the historic building and now pays tribute to those who passed through its doors.
This site is the online home of the Library of Congress and has a tremendous variety of material on many subjects relating to American history, veterans, and other areas sure to be of interest to any genealogist. Of particular interest, you should be sure to see the American Memory section which provides access to many photographs, maps, historic documents, as well as audio and video. An especially useful site for educators.
These are just a few of the places available be sure to check out all the site has to offer and although this site cannot compare to being at Ellis Island, I hope it will provide help to those who cannot travel there. For those who have used the site or have actually been there we would love to have you comments