How do you access old Ellis Island immigration records?


Quick Answer

Users access passenger lists from Ellis Island and the Port of New York by inputting a person's first name or initial along with a last name, according to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Foundation. The database includes records for more than 51 million people.

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Full Answer

Individuals can narrow the search by several parameters, notes the foundation. After inputting a name, users can check Contains, Exact Matches, Close Matches, Sounds Like and Alternate Spellings. The search wizard adds several other parameters to the search, such as gender, marital status, chronological data and origination information. Individuals can input the year of birth, age at arrival or year of arrival if this information is known. A ship name, place of birth, companion first name and name of hometown can also narrow a search.

To view a record, individuals must create an account and log in, says the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Foundation. Users start a free account with a Facebook login or with an email and password combination. A free account lets individuals search passenger records, peruse the Wall of Honor and make a donation to the foundation.

The Ellis Island Archive contains records and passenger manifests from 1892 to 1957, according to the organization. Up to 11 fields of information are attached to each passenger who had a record, including the date of arrival, ship name and age on arrival.

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