Ellis Island and Castle Garden Immigration Records

July 26, 2018  - by 

Do you have US immigrants among your ancestors? What experience did they have when they first reached America? Were they met with a bustling city, swindlers and thieves, or a hearty welcome? For many early immigrants, New York was the choice gateway into America, the “Golden Door.” Whether your ancestors simply arrived at New York harbor in America’s earliest days, passed through Castle Garden Depot from 1855–1890, or underwent inspection at Ellis Island (from 1892–1954), your ancestors’ immigration records hold lots of clues about who they were, why they came, and what experiences they had.

Search Ellis Island and Castle Garden Records


Castle Garden: Immigration Before Ellis Island

Before the government took control of immigration, Castle Garden was New York’s landing depot.

How did immigrants enter the US before Castle Garden and Ellis Island?

When Did Immigration Start at Ellis Island?

Millions of immigrants came through Ellis Island after it opened. Why did it replace Castle Garden?

When and why did Ellis Island open and close?

The Immigration Act of 1924 and Ellis Island

How did the Immigration Act of 1924 impact US immigration and lead to the close of Ellis Island?

When did Ellis Island close?

What Were Castle Garden and Ellis Island?

The United States of America offered political and religious freedom, economic opportunities, and a place for families to unite, drawing waves of immigrants beginning in the 1600s. The hope for a new life and the American dream promised a better life, and thousands made the journey to make the US their home.

With so many travelers, many fell ill on overpacked ships. To protect US citizens and immigrants alike, the State of New York opened America’s first immigration station at Castle Garden. Once a military fort on its own artificial island, Castle Garden is now part of the island of Manhattan. More than 8 million people landed here before entering America. The site has also been used as an exhibition hall, as an aquarium, and it is now a national monument.

A Dutch family of immigrants that passed through the Ellis Island immigration station.
Who were the immigrants that passed through the Ellis Island immigration station?
When did immigrants go through Ellis Island and Castle Garden immigration stations?

Floating beneath the copper gaze of the Statue of Liberty in the Upper New York harbor, Ellis Island is America’s first federal immigration station. A national monument with a well-earned place in the history books, Ellis Island replaced Castle Garden as the immigrant landing hub in 1892. From its early origins as a profitable fishing spot to its significant role as a military fort and then immigration station, Ellis Island is a rich source of history, genealogical records, and immigration information. Around 12 million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island at its peak period between 1892 and 1954.

Ellis Island Time Line

Use the Ellis Island time line below to learn the major events that shaped this famous island.

A brief history of Ellis Island immigration, including the castle garden, the first ellis island immigration station, the ellis island fire, and the new ellis island immigration station.

Where Did the Ellis Island Immigrants Come From?

American immigrants throughout US history have come from all around the world. With several ports of entry, tracking down where your ancestors are from and which port they came through can be quite the search. Take a look at which countries Ellis Island immigrants traveled from before they made America their new home.

Where did Ellis Island immigrants come from? Most came from Italy, Russia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, England, and Ireland.

Famous People Who Passed through Ellis Island

Purportedly forty percent of all US residents can trace their heritage back to Ellis Island. Even if you don’t have a New York immigrant in your family tree, the New York passenger lists are a fascinating source of history. Do you recognize some of these famous people who passed through Ellis Island?

Irving Berlin, Bob Hope, Cary Grant, Rudolph Valentino, Maria Von Trapp from the Von Trapp family, and Isaac Asimov all immigrated through Ellis Island.


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  1. Hello. I have a grandfather who came into Ellis Island from Liverpool the 22nd of may 1903 on the S.S. Cymric his age at that time was 33 and his arrival date was June 1st of 1903 his destination was 144 Henderson St. Jersey City. I don’t know if this is a grandfather or a great grandfather as my grandfather was born on July 4, of 1878 in Poland is there any way that I can find more information about John Leppard. Any thing you can find would be helpful My E-Mail is g.kodger@yahoo.com. Thank you.

  2. Hello:
    I found a family record written as my 2nd Great grandfather-Johann Weber & Grandmother-Carrie Anna (Welter) Weber and son-John Bartholomew Weber-arrived at New York in the Spring of 1865 after spending 21 days crossing the ocean. Their native land
    was from Meadinach, Luxembourg, Germany. I am looking for the name of their ship, birth dates, death dates, burial place. ( After arriving, they settled in Chicago, ILL). I wish I could find more information on them. Help!!
    My e-mail is: tractor5@solarus.net.
    Thank you.

  3. I am finding it difficult to find my maternal grandfather’s immigration records. My grandmother and my aunts and uncles immigrated to Canada first from Minsk Russia. I don’t know if my grandfather came to America before them or immigrated to Canada first then came to NYC. I only have approximate years that he might have come here.

  4. I am looking into the history of immigration to America. Where would I find, or does anyone know, approximately how many immigrants came to Ellis Island and of that number how many were allowed entrance and how many sent back for what ever reason?

    Thank you for your assistance.

  5. Hello, I came to the US in 1962.
    I’m trying to find the port of entry into the US. What was the name of the Harbor the ship ducted in? The ships name was VULCANIA out of Palermo, Sicily. Also, how can I find the ships manifest with the names of the passengers/our names. Thanks so much, Francesca Giuliana Fauls

  6. My understanding of Italian dual citizenship is timeline, and where your grandparents came from. My grandparents came from Fonzaso/Frassene Italy in province of Belluno, which is in the Veneto region. My understanding is that that province was under the control of Italy from 1866. I have read in certain sites that immigrants coming from that area were not able to transfer citizenship if they left Italy before July 16, 1920. Can anybody help me with this?? My grandparents were both born Italian from an Italian controlled province, does this still apply to my situation?? I have looked and researched and have been told otherwise that I was eligible for dual citizenship. Thanks.

  7. Je suis à la recherche d’un et une aïeul qui ont immigré aux états unis du temps de Garden-Castle. Peut-être puis je trouver ceux-ci selon vos procédures de recherche.

  8. This website is not working for me. I have started new accounts several times. I have come to realize that my Great Grandmother came to the US through Castle Gardens not Ellis Island.
    Thank you for your time.

  9. hi what website gives the name and place of the village or town where the passenger cane from a name on a list means nothing

  10. DNA was done by Ancestry. Got info that didn’t seem correct. My parents told me I was Greek and Hungarian. They had me Bohmian and etc. You told me nothing.

  11. My grandmother, Margaret Gately came to US, NY, 1844 at age ONE. I desire more info. on her, like parents names, where in Ireland she wad born, her exact birth date in 1843, her middle name..any siblings, etc. Please advise.