Were your ancestors processed at the immigrant station on Ellis Island? If they landed in New York, they were processed at one of the following locations, depending on when they arrived...|
Castle Garden was located on the southwest tip of Manhattan in Battery Park while the Barge Office was located on the southeast tip. Before the Castle Garden center opened in 1855 the passengers simply got off the ship onto whatever wharf they had landed on in Manhattan. There was no central processing center. They were recorded on ship passenger lists beginning in 1820. It should be noted that the ships never actually landed at Ellis Island. They landed at Manhattan and the passengers were ferried over to the island for processing. Generally only steerage passengers went to Ellis Island for inspection. Most of the first and second class passengers were allowed to leave the ship soon after docking. All passengers, however, were listed on the ship manifest (or passenger list).
On January 1, 1892, a 17-year-old Irish girl named Annie Moore became the first person to be processed at Ellis Island. She had arrived in New York on the steamship Nevada with her two younger brothers. She was presented with $15 in coins.
Beginning in July, 1924, prospective immigrants were pre-inspected at U.S. embassies overseas. They were inspected again at the port of arrival before leaving the ship.
Ellis Island was named for Samuel Ellis, who owned the island in the 1770s. Today Castle Garden is known as Castle Clinton National Monument.
Castle Garden/Castle Clinton National Monument History from the National Park Service
Ellis Island Immigration from the National Park Service
"Fire on Ellis Island," New York Times, June 15, 1897
They Came in Ships by John P. Colletta, Ph.D., revised 3rd edition. Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2002.
"Last Day of Castle Garden (Fun Begins at the Barge Office about Future Immigrants)," New York Evening World News, April 18, 1890, page 3.
125th Anniversary of Annie Moore and Ellis Island by Megan Smolenyak
Thanks to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Historian, Marian Smith, for her help with this article.
Stills from the Thomas A. Edison, Inc. film: Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island, 1903; Courtesy the Library of Congress