U.S. Citizenship Resources: History of Ellis Island

In the later part of the 1800’s, the United States had just seen the end of the Civil War where citizen was fighting against citizen. With the end of the War at hand, the United States focused its attention and energy to a reconstruction of the country. Businesses started to increase, work was plentiful and the country started to grow in all directions. It was also a time when the government made a decision to allow any immigrants into the country and provide them with an opportunity to be a part of the growth. This open door policy led to a great influx of immigrants coming into the country, mainly through Ellis Island.

Ellis Island is located in the harbor in New York City, and in 1892 became the central port where immigrants landed. With the Statue of Liberty within view, this gave immigrants to this country hope in starting a new life in the United States. Millions of immigrants landed at Ellis Island where they were asked about their past and what they were planning to do in the country. If they were determined to be of sufficient character they moved to a medical inspection area. In this test they were examined and if they were healthy enough, were allowed to enter the country.

With the number of immigrants starting to slow up, in 1942, Ellis Island was used by the U.S. Government as a Detention and Deportation Center during World War II. In 1954, the United States closed Ellis Island after over 12 million people have passed through the doors to enter the country. In 1965, Ellis Island becomes part of the National Park Service and has undergone renovations to restore the look of the original buildings.

With over 12 million people passing through Ellis Island on their way to living in a new country, many people can trace their ancestors back to Ellis Island. Many resources are available to help trace the genealogy of the immigrants and people in the United States today.

To help you learn more about Ellis Island, we have put together this handy guide. We hope that it helps you learn about this important part of our history and heritage.

Immigration in the United States

Ellis Island

Immigrant Inspection Station

Medical Inspections

Detention and Deportation Station

Genealogy Resources