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Where is Ellis Island?
Ellis Island is a historical site that opened in 1892 as an immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years until it closed in 1954. Located at the mouth of Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, Ellis Island saw millions of newly arrived immigrants pass through its doors. In fact, it has been estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.
The island has a land area of 27.5 acres (11.1 ha), much of which is from land reclamation. The natural island and contiguous areas comprise 4.68 acres (1.89 ha)
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation is the process of creating new lands from oceans, seas, riverbeds or lake beds.
The year is 1906, the date November 16th. Franz and Ulrike Schumacher and their three children have just disembarked from the Hamburg-Amerika line steamship that has carried them across the stormy North Atlantic Ocean from Germany. Like the thousands of other people milling around them, they are totally bewildered, caught up in a mixture of hope and apprehension, as they crowd into a vast waiting room. The room sounds like the Tower of Babel, for few of those in it speak a word of English. They speak German, Polish, Dutch, Hungarian, or Russian maybe, yet they have come, seeking a new life in a new world; and now they are on American soil for the first time. This is America! America!
moving around with nothing to do
Or at least it is Ellis Island.After interminable hours of waiting, the Schumacher family are finally called to a desk; immigration officials study their papers, and ask them where they intend to go. They don't ask how long they're planning to stay, however, since they know the answer already. All those who pass through Ellis Island -- and that could mean over 11,000 people per day -- are would-be immigrants. They are looking to start a new life in a new world.
For many, passing through Ellis Island was not so much a matter of stepping into a new world, it was stepping into a new life, a new character. And so it was that the man who finally led his family through the door and onto the ferry packed with a jostling crowd of new Americans was not Franz Schumacher any more, but Frank Shoemaker, even if he still didn't understand more than a couple of words of English.
12 million immigrants, 12 million stories Every immigration experience is unique. Since 1973, the National Park Service has interviewed more than 1,700 Ellis Island immigrants so that they could tell their own stories. Why did you come here? What was it like after you arrived?
Morris Remembers the steamship
William remembers the storm
Elda remembers the eye exam
Emma et William remember packing
Catherine remembers the Gaslights
Catherine remember her first day in America
Gertrude remembers going to Chicago
Catherine remembers the hair exam
Traveling to America
Experience at Ellis Island