It’s been a while since I posted here. My apologies for that. My only excuse is that summer seems to have arrived in the UK so I’m enjoying it while I can – it could all go away as quickly as it arrived.
I’m just popping in to share the url of a site which will probably be quite familiar to family historians in the US, but perhaps less so to anyone on the UK. Ellis Island was a major point of entry for people emigrating to the US, and the records are available for free online.
I’m a little bit jealous of this because we don’t have anything similar over here. In fact, it seems that up until quite recently, people could come and go as they pleased – great for them, not so great for the people trying to trace them. And contrary to popular belief, Britain and Ireland were not a homogeneous monoculture in centuries past. There was quite a lot of immigration, it just didn’t get recorded in any formal way.*
Anyhoo, I digress. If you are researching in the UK and/or Ireland, and know your immediate ancestors were local, so to speak, you may still find the Ellis island site useful for locating branches of your extended family who did head off for pastures new. You may even find members of your immediate family who lived in, or visited, the US for a short period before heading for home. Entries usually include their name and age, the name of the ship they sailed on and the port of departure. You can search the database and view records for no cost, but they do ask for a voluntary donation if you find the service useful.
* I’ll write a further post (or series of posts) about tracing immigrant ancestors in the UK at a later date.