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Emigration/Immigration

Everyone in America came from somewhere else. Even the "native" American's ancestors immigrated from Asia, possibly across the Bering Strait. Admittedly they immigrated thousands of years ago, and were here long before the European immigrants, but they immigrated non-the-less.

Most people left their homelands and immigrated to America (or to anywhere, for that matter) for one (or more) of three reasons:

  1. Adventure
  2. To escape religious or political persecution
  3. Better opportunities in the new land
The Spanish conquistadors left Spain in search of adventure and most of them did not originally intend to settle in America. Many had homes and families in Europe and their voyages to America were intended to be for limited periods of time.

The immigrants who came on the Mayflower were looking for greater religious freedom and they came with the intention of settling. Jewish immigrants fled persecution in Germany and Russia.

However, the most common reason was that there were better opportunities in the new land. Large families could only support so many daughters with dowries and so many sons on the family farm or in the family business. The best opportunity of the remaining children was emigration. American, Canada, Australia had plenty of open land and more job options than Europe.

As emigration increased it was fostered by the shipping companies who sent agents all over Europe seeking passengers.

As the shipping trade developed most of the cargoes going from America to Europe were bulky — lumber, cotton, raw wool, tobacco, etc. Cargoes from Europe to America were lighter — finished cloth, spices, etc. Consequently, the shipping companies found themselves with cargo space on the west bound voyage. The solution was to carry human cargo and the major companies advertised their fares in many cities and towns throughout Europe. Shipping companies made hugh profits on transporting immigrants.


Shipping Company Advertisement


Photo Maggie Land Blanck, Galata Museo del Mare, Genoa Italy, 2010

The Galata Museo del Mare in Genoa, Italy has a very interesting and informative exhibit dedicated to the immigration experience. They had several advertisement posters including this one for the North German Lloyd Line which was based in Bremen, Germany. It is advertising service from Genoa to New York, Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba and Central America.


Leaving Home

As they said goodbye to their sons and daughters most parents realized they would never see them again.


1840 Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The German Emigrant, 1840

For more information and images of the German Emigration experience go to German Emigration


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE YOUNG EMIGRANT LEAVING HOME, 1847

This scene depicts the departure of a young man. A younger brother is pointing out that his travel companions have arrived. His sister and mother are weeping. His father is being rather stoic. Other siblings are looking pensive in the background. This scene was reenacted over centuries and in many different countries. It suggests two important aspects of the immigration experience.

  1. Increased family size did not afford enough opportunities for all of the sons and daughters in Europe.
  2. Chain migration
Chances were good that the young man would never see his parents again. If he worked hard and made good, he would send for some of his younger siblings. They in turn would helped bring over more siblings and eventually even the parents. This immigration pattern is called chain migration and was/is the most common form of immigration pattern.


Getting From Home to the Port of Departure

The first step for the emigrant was getting from the village (or town) of origin to a major port. This leg of the journey was often done on foot. But many traveled by cart, train, or river boat. Emigrants traveling by river boat could take the Rhine river to Rotterdam, the Elbe to Hamburg, or the Wesser to Bremen/Bremerhaven.

The first step of the journey, going from home to a port of departure, could take quite a long time.

Once the port was reached a potential emigrant may have spent some time in the port area before actually shipping out.

For more details on the Irish Emigration/Immigration experience go to Irish Emigration now or at the bottom of the page.


Harper's Weekly, October 25, 1873 , Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE EMIGRANT WAGON - ON THE WAY TO THE RAILROAD STATION


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, from a painting by F Holl

LEAVING HOME


AMERICANS IN EMBRYO
Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, HARPER'S MONTHLY, SEPT 1901 ARTICLE BY ELIZABETH ROBINS


HER TICKET BETWEEN HER WHITE TEETH
Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, HARPER'S MONTHLY, SEPT 1901 ARTICLE BY ELIZABETH ROBINS

These German emigrants were in the Magdeburger train station in Leipsic on their way to America.

Elizabeth Robins Pennell was an American writer. Much of her work is available on the internet.


Ports of Departure and Arrival

Once the immigrant reached the port of departure he or she may have waited several days, weeks, months or even years before actually boarding a ship to America.

Major European emigration ports were: Bremen/Bremerhaven and Hanover in Germany, Liverpool and Southampton in England, Queenstown in Ireland, Naples and Genoa in Italy, La Havre in France, Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Minor ports included: Belfast, Dublin, Limerick and Galway in Ireland, Hull in England, Antwerp, in Belgium, Cherbourg and Marseilles, in France, Palermo and Messina in Italy.

Contrary to what might be expected not all Germans went out of the German ports. Some took passage to Liverpool or Queenstown and left from there. Conversely some Irish and English left from the German ports. My ancestor, Peter Goehle, left his home in Herrnsheim, Rhineland, Germany through Liverpool for New York in 1873.

Ports of arrival were: Montreal, Quebec, St John in Canada, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Galveston in the United States.

Frequently the emigrant took passage to a port in America that was not his final destination.

In 1894 Irish siblings, Joseph and Fanny Walsh, sailed on the British Princess from Queenstown, Ireland to Philadelphia although there final destination was New York City where several other siblings were awaiting them. Conversely, my English ancestor, Lydia Land, and her children came through New York in 1883 when their finals destination was Philadelphia where several sisters awaited them.

The Erxmeyer family left Volbrock/Meinerdingen near Walsrode sometime around 1868 and lived in Lehe (a suburb of Bremerhaven) before immigrating to New Jersey in 1871. See Blanck/Erxmeyer/Kettler

For more information on and images of the Irish immigration experience to Irish Emigration now or at the bottom of the page.


"The Harbor, Queenstown (Cobh, Co. Cork)", Ireland

Not dated.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Queenstown was the main port of emigration for the Irish. About 3 million Irish left Ireland through Queenstown. Originally was called Cobh (pronounced "cove" ) until Queen Victoria visited in 1849 when the name was changed to Queenstown. It was changed back to Cobh in 1921. Cobh is in Cork Harbor.

To see more images of Queenstown and for a description of the Irish emigration experience go to Irish Emigration , now or at the bottom of the page.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

LIVERPOOL DOCKS

Liverpool was a major port of emigration for the Irish, English and Northern Europeans.


Liner at Landing Stage, Liverpool

Daily Sailings - City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, Liverpool to Dublin in Eight Hours"

Not dated.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Hamburg was the port of the Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien Gesellschaft [Hamburg America Line].

"Abfahrt eines Schnelldampfers in Bremerhaven"

Not dated.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Bremen/Bremerhaven the home of the North German Lloyd Shipping company was a major port of departure from Germany. Most of my family left from Bremen/Bremerhaven. To see more images of Bremen/Bremenrhaven go to Bremen/Bremerhaven/Lehe


Embarkation and Departure

Galata Museo del Mare, Genoa Italy states in their immigration exhibit:

"The ferry terminal is crowed by hundreds of men, women, and children waiting to board. Here the first medical inspection was carried out: the shipping companies did not accept sick people on board. In any case they would have been rejected upon arrival."

Trading card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Seereise auf einem Luxusdampfer [Cruse on a luxury steamer]

Überfahren der Zwischendecks [Crossing the decks] Passagiere Bord des Seeschiffes [Passengers board the ship]

Printed on back:

Bei niedrigem Wasserstand konnen die grossen Ozeandampfer nicht an das Bollwerk, ihre eigentliche Station, anlegen und werden dann auf der Reede verankert, der Stelle, wo Fluss und Meer sich begegnen und wo das Wasser, ansehnlich tief zu sein pflegt. Kleine Hafendampfer vermittein den Verkehr, sie schaffen die Passagiere an Bord. Heir befindet sich an der Langsseite des Schiffsrumpfes eine bequeme Treppe, die ausgelegt und züruckgenommen werden kann und die Passagiere gelangen so ohne Schwierigkeit nach ihren Platzen

[At low tide the great ocean liners cannot reach there actual pier. They anchor where the river and sea meet, where the water is considerably deeper. Small boats transfer the passengers on board. A staircase is used on the broad side of the hull to transfer the passengers without difficulty. The staircase is later withdrawn.]

German Hartwig & Vogel company, producer of cocoa, chocolate, marzipan and waffles.

An interesting aspect of this image is the mix of classes on the deck. The ladies in shawls and kerchiefs are surely going steerage, while the lady with the floral hat must be going cabin (at least). The painted trunks and the pink mattress indicate immigrants - most likely from Eastern Europe.

The crates on the right middle are marked "H & V 1908" I presume that these crates are filled with Harwig & Vogel products and that the year depicted is 1908.

The tower just under the cocoa can may be that at the entrance to the harbor of Bremen. Notice that there are still sailing ships in the harvor.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Harper's June 1870, THE OCEAN STEAMER

THE EMBARKMENT


Every Saturday December 30, 1871, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

ON BOARD AN EMIGRANT SHIP


Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room companion, Not dated*, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

EMBARKATION OF EMIGRANTS

*Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion started as Gleason's Pictorial. The name was changed in 1855. Later it was known as Ballou's Monthly Magazine. It folded in 1893.


Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room companion, Not dated*, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE DEPARTURE FROM LIVERPOOL


The Graphic December 18, 1869, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

LEAVING OLD ENGLAND

The accompanying article is not complete. It does point out, however, that the departure of these ships were most frequently sad events as the departing bid a last farewell to their loved ones knowing full well that they would probable never see each other again. How sad the aged parents portrayed in the lower left hand corner to see there son leave for ever. In reality, most leave takings probably happened closer to home.


The Crossing

Before the 1850's immigrants from Europe came by sailing ships. The length of the crossings varied according to the winds, tides, and other factors. The estimates for crossings under sail range anywhere from four to twenty-four weeks with an average trip of 8 weeks.

Later ships, still under sail but fitted with paddle wheels and steam engines, took about six weeks.

Steamships started crossing the Atlantic in 1850. The length of a voyage from Bremen to New York by steamer took about seventeen days. By the mid-1860's most immigrants were coming by steamer. However, up until the 1870's many people still traveled by sail. Steam ships up until WWI took 2 to 3 weeks. By 1920 the trip across the ocean took one to two weeks.

The overwhelming majority of immigrants traveled in steerage where there was no lighting and passenger were packed in as tightly as space would allow. Steerage passengers had to provide their own bedding. Each passenger got a berth that was 18 inches wide by 6 feet long. The berths were often in tiers up to four rows high. Frequently they were poorly build and rickety. Men and women who were strangers to each other before the start of the journey were berthed together. In 1852 a new law required that men be berthed separately.

The trip was not a dry one. Water seeped into the steerage through holes that were supposed to be for ventilation. Most passengers were sea sick the first few days out and only in rough weather afterwards. It was impossible to come on deck in bad weather. The hatches would be battened down and passengers in steerage would have to remain below in the dark and rocking ship. There was on average one toilet for every hundred passengers. Frequently the toilet was on deck, where they could not be reached in rough weather. Because of the close quarters in which they lived, passengers often suffered from illnesses like trench mouth, body ulcers, and lice. Conditions were frightful. Immigrant ships were recognized by the smell.

Early ships were often called "coffin ships" because of the frightful conditions and the numbers of people who died during the crossings. In 1847, 1,879 immigrants died on the voyage to New York. Eventually government supervision of sanitation regulations improved conditions.

While French and British shipping companies made their passengers cook their own meals, German shipping companies provided meals for their steerage passengers. The menu: Sunday---salt meat, meal pudding and prunes. Monday--- salt bacon, pea soup and potatoes. Tuesday---salt meat, rice and prunes. Wednesday---smoked bacon, sauerkraut, and potatoes. Thursday---salt meat, potatoes and bean soup. Friday---Herring, meal and prunes. Saturday---salt bacon, pea soup and potatoes.

The principle ports from Germany were Bremen (later Bremerhaven), Hanover, and Hamburg. In the early 19th century Le Havre was also a major port of embarkation for many Germans. Others used a complicated but competitively priced route form Holland to England, crossing England by rail and embarking at Liverpool.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck
"Home Farewell"

Adieu my native land adieu
The vessel spreads her swelling sails
Perhaps I never more may view
Your fertile fields and flowery dales."
Perhaps this is a mother and her child going to America to be united with her husband. Many husbands went to America ahead of their wives and children sending for them when they had found a home and job.

Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room companion, Not dated, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE ROLL CALL AT SEA

""the roll call at sea" — exhibits a review of the passengers, by the officers, to ascertain their sanitary condition, and to see if they have complied with the regulations. They pass up the starboard gangway to the upper deck, and return to the main deck by the port side. All the internal economy of an emigrant ship is based on rigid system and under the control of the law"


Illustrated London News, October 19, 1872 Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE STEERAGE OF A NORTH GERAN LLOYD'S ATLANTIC STEAM-SHIP

Information from the accompanying article: North German Lloyd steamships "each of 3,000 tons burden, with engines of 700 horse power" stopped at Southampton and the way from Bremen to New York. The food in steerage was reported to be sufficient in quantity and wholesome in quality, but "badly cooked", but this depended on the given ship. The great "difficulty" was to provide adequate ventilation while maintaining separate sleeping quarters for the single men and women.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


"Beyond the Land of Liberty" Emigrants on Mid-Ocean

Postcard dated 1906.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

STEERAGE PASSENGERS

Graphic March 12, 1870

"Steerage No. 1 is virtually in the eyes of the vessel, and runs clear across from one side to the other, without a partition. It is lighted entirely by port-holes, under which, fixed to the stringers, are narrow tables with benches before them. The remaining space is filled with iron bunks, row after row, tier upon tier, all running fore and aft in double banks. A thin iron rod is all that separates one sleeper from another. In each bunk are placed "a donkey's breakfast" (a straw mattress), a blanket of the horse variety, a battered tin plate and pannikin, a knife, a fork, and a spoon. This completes the emigrant's "kit," which in former days had to be found by himself.

Steerage Conditions in 1898 - A First-Hand Account By H. Phelps Whitmarsh, Century Magazine, February 1898


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

AN ARTISTS NOTES ON BOARD THE "INDUS" EMIGRANT SHIP THE GRAPHIC JUNE 29, 1872.

The INDUS, a London Line of Queensland Packet, sailed from London to Brisbane. There was accommodations for first class passengers but the Graphic focused on the over 500 steerage passengers, "some of who were Government emigrants". This ship was full of immigrants going to Australia and my main focus is immigrants coming to the US, however, the insides of immigrants ships were pretty much the same regardless of the destination.

"Forward between decks were the quarters of the bachelor emigrants. Here a tall thin sinewy Irishman was dancing a jig to the tune of a violin, the scraping of which combined, with the mewing of a litter of black kittens, and the laughter of the audience, to make a Babel of discordant sounds. The berths in this department were placed in a double row, with a zinc pail, and at times a looking-glass at the head of each."

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

BETWEEN DECKS IN AN EMIGRANT SHIP- FEEDING TIME: A SKETCH FROM LIFE, THE GRAPHIC November 30, 1872

Clearly different ethnic "types" are are on display in this image. The lady in the middle typifies the shoeless Irish peasant women with her head shawl.


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

NEARING THE END OF THE VOYAGE

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

SALOON OF THE 'LAHN,' NRTH GERMAN LLOYDE SS CO.

The LAHN, a North German Lloyd steamer, was built in 1887 a few years after the image of the emigrant "Feeding Time" pictured above. However, the image of the LAHN saloon clearly shows the difference between going first class and going steerage.


Dangers at Sea

Dense fogs, hurricanes, and icebergs were among the dangers of traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. Icebergs were a danger in the early summer months. Hurricanes were a danger in the summer and early fall.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE FOG BELL, HARPERS WEEKLY FEBRUARY 8, 1873

No light could penetrate thick fogs so systems of bells, fog-horns, gongs, sirens, and whistles and other noise makers were devised. These were used both on land and on the moving vessels.

British shipping used a system of horns, whistles and bells:

"toward the middle of the nineteenth century the introduction of the steam powered and the vast increase in British shipping about this time rendered necessary some definite and universally understood rules for signaling in foggy weather and in 1858 the Admiralty first sanctioned the use of a horn to indicate the starboard tack, and a bell the port tack: in 1863 steamers were ordered to use a steam whistle in fog, and sailing ships a foghorn, whilst ships at anchor rang their bells at stated intervals."

Encyclopaedia of ships and shipping edited by Herbert B. Mason


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE LATE HURRICANES AT SEA — THE STEERAGE OF THE STEAMER "WAESLAND' ENGULFED IN A TREMEDNOUS WAVE,

Nov 15th 1881 Frank Lesley's Illustrated Newspaper

The Waesland sank at sea in 1902. See Norway Heritage, The sinking of the Waesland


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE COLLISION BETWEEN THE S. S. CELTIC AND THE BRITANNIC,

The Illustrated London News , June 11, 1887

The accompanying article provided the following information:

The two ships collided in the fog about three hundred miles of Sandy Hook on the 19th of May 1887 when the Celtic rammed the Britannic twice. Both ships were in good enough condition to make it under their own steam into the New York Harbor. However, four of the Britannic's steerage passengers were killed and about thirteen injured. The deaths and injuries all occurred on the ship's deck. No one was thrown overboard and drown.
An article in the New York Times says the Celtic was headed to New York and the Britannic was on the second day out on her voyage to Liverpool. Six passengers on the Britannic were killed almost immediately by falling "bars and plates of iron" and several were swept overboard and drowned. 12 lives were lost and about 20 persons injured.


Health Concerns

A constant concern on the immigrant ships was infectious disease.


Leslie's Weekly April 27, 1901, collection of Maggie Land Blanck

VACCINATING STEERAGE PASSENGERS IN MID-OCEAN

"An experience that creates consternation and resentment among the vast horde of immigrants seeking a home on American soil."
The accompanying article is missing. However, I believe that the vaccinations were for small pox. In an attempt to eliminate small pox, for which there was a vaccine, incoming passengers were required to show evidence of a recent successful vaccination.
"First and second cabin passengers are not subjected to a medical examination at Hamburg. Emigrants embarking at Hamburg are not vaccinated prior to embarkation, but all steerage passengers except American citizens are vaccinated by the ship's doctor soon after sailing.

Reports of the Immigration Commission: Emigration conditions in Europe, By United States, 1911 Google Book

This was, in fact, not very good infectious disease policy. First class passengers and American citizens were as susceptible as anyone else to diseases.

One wonders if the discrimination between steerage and first and second class passengers was the cause for the "consternation and resentment".

"On Tuesday, our fourth day out, came the much-dreaded vaccination muster. Many and loud were the objections raised to the enactment of this law, and when No. 1 steerage lined up with bared arms for the doctor's inspection, a more sullen lot of men I never saw. Those who had no marks, or whose marks were not sufficiently distinct, were vaccinated again. One man, an Irishman, made a stir by refusing to be operated upon, and insisting that the scar of a knife stab was a vaccination mark. When told that he could not enter America as he was, he submitted to the process."

Steerage Conditions in 1898 - A First-Hand Account By H. Phelps Whitmarsh, Century Magazine February 1898

In May 2012 William Junior sent me a page from "The Immigration Commission" report:
First and second cabin passengers are not subjected to a medical examination at Hamburg. Emigrants embarking at Hamburg are not vaccinated prior to embarkation, but all steerage passengers except American citizens are vaccinated by the ship's doctor soon after sailing.

"Emigration conditions in Europe 1907-1910" published in 1911 by the U.S. Govt., William Dillingham Commissioner of Immigration.

In June 1884, 762 of the 802 passengers on the North German Lloyd steamship Weser were vaccinated (presumably for smallpox). One passenger on the ship got as far as Michigan before coming down with smallpox.

The Weser's Health Report had stated:

Two children died on the passage one of "tabes mesenterica" and one of "measles"."
No mention was made of smallpox.


Quarantine

By 1846 all vessels coming into New York Harbor were technically subject to quarantine inspections. The incoming ships were inspected when they arrived in the Lower Bay off Statin Island.

For images of the quarantine stations and for more information on the quarantine inspections go to QUARANTINE now or at the bottom of the page.

See also CHOLERA 1892 now or at the bottom of the page.


The Arrival in New York Harbor


After clearing quarantine the ship moved forward into New York Harbor proper where the passengers, depending, of course, on the date of their arrival, were greeted by the famous sight of Lady Liberty. The dedication of the statue took place in October 1886.

Until 1855 ships disembarked their passengers as soon as they cleared quarantine. Passengers were not offloaded directly to the docks but into lighters which took them to shore. Immediately upon his arrival the immigrant was besieged by all sorts of scam artists and thieves who robbed luggage, sold phony tickets to points west and generally made live miserable for the immigrant. Julius Lindemann, Catherine and Louis Furst arrived during this period.

In October of 1858 the German Societies of the United States called for Congress to pass a bill for the protection of emigrants on ship board and after their arrival in the United States. They asked for: separate sleeping quarters for females and males (except for married couples), only qualified surgeons be employed as ships doctors, a guarantee of the safe delivery of luggage, and control of the purchase of rail and canal boat tickets to points west in the United States.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

First Sight of New York Bay - Arrival of a European Steamer. - Harper's Weekly, June 2, 1877

Harper's Weekly, Not dated, Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE LAND OF PROMISE, DRAWN BY FRANK CRAIG

Frank Craig was a known artist. See Frank Craig


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"America's Welcome, Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor" printed on top of image in border. Printed on back:

"AMERICA'S WELCOME, Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor at night. Here can be seen one of the mighty ocean liners which sail through New York Harbor daily. The arriving visitor and the home-coming traveler get America's Welcome from the colossal Statue of Liberty as the boat enters upper New York Bay at night. The blazing torch on Statue of Liberty held 306 feet above the water lights the harbor and can be seen many miles away."
I may be wrong, but this boat looks to be leaving, rather then entering the harbor. Liberty faces east, so the boat should be coming from the other direction if it was entering the harbor.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Trading card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Seereise auf eine Luxusdampfer [Cruse on a luxury steamer]

Ankunft in New York [Arrival in New York]

Printed on back;

Die Fahrt uber der grossen Teich nahert sich dem Ende. Obgleich man noch immer nur Himmel und Wasser sieht, trifft man doch haufiger mit anderen Schiffen zusammen. Es ist ublich dass begegnende Schiffe durch Flaggen Grusse wechsein. Amerikaner salutieren z. B. meistens "Herzlich willkommen" und die einfahrenden Dampfer hissen unter ihrer Nationalflagge "Herzlichen Dank!" Bald erkennet man von weitem die insel Long-Island bei New York mit der darauf befindlichen Freiheits-Statue und in der Ferne zeigen sich schon die Wolkenkratzer der grossten Stadt der neuen der neuen Welt. Nur noch kurze Zeit, die Anker sinken ken in die Tiefe und die Reisenden verlassen das Schiff. Das Ausladen vollzieht sich wie vorher das Anbordnehmen geschah, meist flott und ohne Zwischenfall.

[The ride over the big pond comes to an end. One still sees only sky and water but one also sees more vessels. It is customary when encountering such ships to exchange flag salutes. The Americans, for example signaling "Most Welcome" and the steamer under its national flag replying "Thanks". Soon you recognize from a distance the island of Long Island then New York and the Statue of Liberty and in the distance you see the skyscrapers of the largest city in the new world. In no time the anchor is dropped and the passengers have left the ship. The unloading takes place as when boarding, usually quickly and without incident.]


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

TRANSFERRING IMMIGRANTS FROM STEAMER TO THE BATTERY

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891

At this time the procession center for immigrants was the Barge Office.


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

ROPED OFF FOR INSPECTION

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

WAITING FOR PERMISSION TO GO AHORE

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891

According to the head lines for this article "four thousand immigrants were recently landed in a single day (May 5th)"


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

BAGGAGE TRANSFERED FROM THE STEAMER TO THE WHARF

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


The Ship's Manifest


After 1837 every ship entering a port in the United States was required to have a manifest indicating the name of the ship, the port from which it sailed, the date of its arrival in the US and a list of all passengers, indicating their age, sex, occupation, and nationality.

Early manifests frequently do not offer enough information to distinguish between one Katie Walsh from Ireland and another Katie Walsh from Ireland, making it very difficult to pinpoint early dates of immigration. Later manifests contained more information including addresses of relatives in the old country and relatives in the new country making it somewhat clearer who was who. Even later manifests included height, hair and eye color and other information. The date of immigration determines how much information can be cleaned from the ship manifests.

There is a very popular myth that names were changed at Ellis Island. This did NOT happen. The manifests were made at the port of imbarkation or during the voyage so the name on the manifest was determined in whatever port the immigrant left from, NOT when they arrived in the USA.


Castle Gardens


Because of the large increase in immigration in the mid 1800's and in an effort to protect the newly arriving immigrant from scam artists, the State of New York opened an immigration processing center at Castle Gardens on August 1, 1855.

Castle Garden, located at the lower tip of Manhattan, is now the Castle Clinton National Monument. Built in 1807 as an artillery defense fort to protect the New York harbor it was called West Battery. After the war of 1812 the name was changed to Fort Clinton. Originally it stood about 300 feet off shore and was connected to the mainland by a causeway. It has gradually been connected by landfill to Battery Park. In 1824 the fort was enclosed and became a popular theater called Castle Garden with a seating capacity of 6,000. After Ellis Island was opened in 1892 the building was turned into an Aquarium. It was closed in 1941 for the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and the Aquarium subsequently moved to the Bronx Zoo. Robert Moses wanted it demolished but there was enough opposition that it was preserved and in 1950 it was declared a national monument and became the property of the U. S. Department of Interior. It was restored in the 1970s and now contains the ticket offices for the ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The complex that made up the Castle Gardens immigration center included outbuildings, hospital and offices. It was all enclosed by a large wooden fence.

The ships let the first class and cabin passengers off at a pier and then proceed to Castle Garden where the steerage passengers disembarked. All immigrants had to land at the depot, which was closed to everyone else, like the scam artists and thieves. Each immigrant had his name checked against the ship manifest, underwent a brief medical exam and passed through customs.


Castle Garden, From the River

Gleason's Pictorial, Boston, Saturday January 10, 1852.

Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Labor Exchange - Emigrants on the Battery in front of Castle Gardens, New York

Harper's Weekly August 15, 1868


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Labor Exchange - Interior View of the Office at Castle Gardens, New York

Harper's Weekly August 15, 1868


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Castle Gardens. Photographed and Published by B. W. Kilburn - Littleton, N. H., 1891

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Castle Gardens- Exterior View From The Battery - Harpers 1871

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior of Castle Gardens- Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior of Castle Gardens- Harpers 1871

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

R. R. Ticket Office — Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Desk for Information — Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Called For — Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865
"Since 1847 about three million of emigrants have arrived at this port. Last year the number of these was 182,916, being an increase of 30,000 over the pervious year. The largest number on record is 319,223 — the number of arrivals in 1854. If we take the number of arrivals at this port in 1864 we shall find that 90,000 were from Ireland, nearly 60,000 from Germany and about 24,000 from England. These countries are the main sources of emigration."

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Outside the depot — Harpers Weekly September 2, 1865

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Harpers 1871

The Harpers Weekly article that accompanied this picture claimed that a person's nationality could be determined by their dress.

"It is curious to see such a heterogeneous crowd land. The Swedes are usually distinguished by their tanned-leather breeches and waistcoats, and their peculiar before mentioned exhalations; you can not miss the Irishman with his napless hat, worn coat, and corduroy trousers; the Englishman you know by his Scotch cap, clay pipe, and paper collar. The Teuton you detect at once by his long-shirted, dark blue woolen coat, high necked and brass-buttoned vest, and flat military cap or gray beaver. Indeed, one of the officers told me that he could tell exactly what part of Germany each individual came from his dress alone, and I believe he could. Then there are the Bohemians (the genuine ones) with their many-colored scarfs and glaring jackets for the women, and natty military caps for almost all the men; the French in their blue linen blouses; and finally the Norwegians ;in their curious national dress, consisting of a gray woolen stiff-necked jacket, which covers only about one-third of their back, whine in front it slopes down to a greater length, and is profusely ornamented with huge silver buttons set so close together that they overlap each. Their breeches, of dark woolen stuff, there from reach nearly up to their neck behind, only a small strip of jacket with an enormous still collar between. You can not properly say a Norwegian in a pair of breeches, but a pair of breeches with a Norwegian in them. This, of course, only applies to the farmers from the interior parts of the country, the "Dalkeller" and "Troensere, " etc."

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Meeting of Friends - Harpers 1871

Ship arrivals were published in the paper so friends and family knew when to come and meet the boat.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Immigrants Landing At Castle Garden - Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1880

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

In The Waiting Room - Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1880

Services were provided to exchange money into US currency, purchase railroad tickets (if the immigrant was going on to further points), forward luggage (if needed) and generally give aid and assistance to the immigrant. There was a telegraph office and a mail service. Many immigrants had letters waiting for them with money enclosed for the next step of the journey. Multilingual assistants were available to resolve the myriad of problems that arose. A frequent problem was that the immigrant would have the wrong or insufficient information to get him to his final destination. For example he may have the address "Farmington, United States". How to determine which of the 21 states that had towns named Farmington was correct? This happened at a later date with the Parnegians who had the address, "Lawrence, Rhode Island" instead of Lawrence, Massachusetts. How many people ended up somewhere entirely different from what they started out for?

The amenities at Castle Gardens included two wash rooms, one for men and one for women. There was hot water, soap and towels, all free to the immigrant. The garden was heated in the winter and in warm weather there was a cooling fountain. There were no beds at Castle Gardens and immigrants were encouraged to go on their way the same day they had arrived. People were however, permitted to sleep in the galleries. Sometimes as many as 3,000 spent the night. Castle Garden remained the New York processing center for immigrants until April 1890. From April 1890 until Ellis Island was opened in January 1892 immigrants were processed through the Barge Office. See below.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Registering The Labor Bulletin
Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1880


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Distributing Tracts - Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1880

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Labor Bureau ---- Hiring Servants -Harper's Weekly, May 29, 1880

Castle Gardens also contained a "labor exchange" where jobs were posted and where a newly arrived immigrant might find employment.


Harpers Weekly January 25, 1873 collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE LABOUR EXCHANGE AT CASTLE GARDEN - CHOOSING A GIRL


Print Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Inspection of luggage by costumes officials. The first picture is of the "immigrant's baggage" and the second is of "cabin passengers' baggage on the dock"

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, June 1884


Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"Landing Immigrants at Castle Gardens"

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, June 1884


Historic America: Castle Gardens (1890), New York, The Illustrated American March 1, 1890
Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Historic America: Castle Gardens (1890), New York, The Illustrated American March 1, 1890
Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Historic America: Castle Gardens (1890), New York, The Illustrated American March 1, 1890
Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Historic America: Castle Gardens (1890), New York, The Illustrated American March 1, 1890

The light corners that are sticking into several of these images are because the arrangement of the page has the images overlapping.

Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Historic America: Castle Gardens (1890), New York, The Illustrated American March 1, 1890
Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Castle Gardens, Date Unknown

I have another image of Castle Gardens with all of the same support buildings that is from the Illustrated America dated 1890. That image is not as clear as this one.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Aquarium in Battery Park and New York Harbor

Posted 1910

Printed on back:

The Aquarium, formerly known as Castle Garden Fort, is located at the foot of Battery Park, and is open to the public daily from 9 a. m. to 5 p.m. Here can be seen in large glass tanks, the most valuable and complete collection of fish, seals, turtles and other deep sea inhabitants in existence. At the entrance of the harbor is the Statue of Liberty and a little further up is Ellis Island through which all immigrants landing in New York City must pass.
The building to the right of the Aquarium was the Fire Boat Station where the fire boats docked. Also known as the Firehouse, the NYPL has an image taken in May 1936. NYPL . Thanks to Barb for sending info and the photo connection.


New York Harbor

Posted 1910.

Notice in the two 1910 images all of the surrounding buildings seen in the 1890 images have been removed and new buildings have been erected on the pier.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

In March 2009 Bob Alexander shared a postcard that showed this exact image but had "Aquarium and New York Harbor" printed on the front. In Bob's postcard it was possible to read the name of the paddlewheel boat on the right. It was the infamous SS General Slocum which burned on June 15, 1904 killing over a thousand people. This, of curse, means that this image was taken before 1904. See General Slocum


From the Collection of John T. Chiarella

In August 2008 John T Chiarella shared this image of Castle Gardens.

Printed on back.

"Aquarium in Battery Park and New York Harbor. The Aquarium formerly known as Castle Garden Fort is located at the foot of Battery Park and is open to the public daily from 9 A. M. to 5 P. M. . Here can be seen in large glass tanks the most valuable and complete collection of fish, seals, turtles and other deep sea inhabitance in existence. At the entrance to the harbor is the Statue of Liberty and little further up Ellis Island through which all immigrants landing in New York City must pass."

In 1869 a total of 258,989 people entered the United States through Castle Gardens. This included:
  • 99,605 Germans
  • 66,204 Irish
  • 41,090 English
  • 23,453 Swedes (90% of whom went west to farm)
  • 2,870 French
  • 5 Greeks
  • 5 Chinese from the Celestial Empire
  • 23 Africans
  • 4 Australians
  • 7 people from Turkey
  • 2 people from Jerusalem

The 1871 Harpers Weekly article says that many of the older people arriving from Ireland could not understand or speak anything but Irish.

In 1881, 941 steamships, carrying 441,110 steerage passengers were processed through Castle Garden.

Between the time in opened in 1855 until its closure in 1891 about 7.5 to 8 million immigrants entered the United States though Castle Garden.

Castle Garden also has a web site at Castle Gardens

"CastleGarden.org offers free access to an extraordinary database of information on 10 million immigrants from 1830 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. Over 73 million Americans can trace their ancestors to this early immigration period."
In addition, most of manifests from the ships that brought their passengers to Castle Gardens have been microfilmed and copies of the original manifests can be viewed at the National Archives Research Center in Manhattan.

Among my relatives who entered through Castle Gardens were: Charlotte, Erxmeyer (in September 1871), Wilhelmina and Marie Erxmeyer (in August 1872), Melusine Erxmeyer (in December 1872). They were all born in Walsrode Germany and departed from Bremen. Peter Goehle (born in Herrnshiem Germany left from Liverpool and entered the US in 1873. Lydia Land (and her 7 children, Albert, Percy, Arthur, Harry, Adelaide, Polly and Walter all born Batley, England left Liverpool and entered in 1877).

Other of my relatives who might have pasted through Castle Garden were Henry Blanck circa 1870, other members of the Erxmeyer family in the early 1870's, Fritz Kettler and Hanna Peter (Peterson) circa 1870, perhaps the Walsh brothers, Thomas and Michael around the same time, Johann and Sophie Petermann, and their infant son, Johann, circa 1882, and Martin and Maggie Langan circa 1890.

Much of the available information is too vague and the names too common to be sure. Furthermore, I have found immigration records for Lydia Land and her children and for Charlotte, Wilhelmina, Marie and Melusine Erxmeyer using NARA records but the names do NOT come up on a Castle Garden Search. Peter Goehle is the only one I found for sure on Castle Garden.

In 1873 an immigrant did not need a passport or visa to enter the US.

In the 1870 a passage to America cost a German laborer about three months wages.


The Barge Office


As immigration increased the facilities at Castle Gardens were not large enough to accommodate the numbers of immigrants who were trying to enter the country.

While Ellis Island was being prepared as the new immigration center the Barge Office was used as a temporary facility. It was used again while repairs were made after a fire on Ellis Island. The dates of the use of the various facilities were:

  • Aug 1, 1855 - April 18, 1890...Castle Garden

  • April 19, 1890 - Dec 31, 1891...Barge Office

  • Jan 1, 1892 - June 13, 1897...Ellis Island

  • On June 14, 1897 the building on Ellis Island was destroyed in a fire so the Barge Office was again used for immigrants. The passenger records were kept elsewhere and were NOT lost in the fire.

  • June 14, 1897 - Dec 16, 1900....Barge Office

  • A new building on Ellis Island opened on Dec 17, 1900.

  • Dec 17, 1900 - Dec 31, 1924....Ellis Island


In an attempt to control immigration of "undesirables" a law were passed in early 1891 that denied entrance to convicts (except those convicted of political offences), lunatics, idiots and persons likely to become public charges, persons with dangerous contagious disease and polygamists. It was the responsibility of captain of every immigrant vessel to maintain a manifest containing the "name, nationality, last residence, and destination of all such aliens".

Undesirables were returned to their port of departure on the same ship that brought them to the United States, consequently a quick decision had to be made if an immigrant was barred entrance as steamships rarely stayed in port more than 3 or 4 days. In 1891 the Barge office was the processing center for arriving immigrants in New York City. The Barge office was under the command of John B Weber.

Each immigrant passed single file through the registry department. The name, age, class, nativity, destination, occupation, amount of money, were checked. In addition questions were asked that applied to the new law. Anyone suspected of answering falsely was sent to a separate area for further questioning and verification.

Out of 60,000 arrivals in April and May of 1891, 600 persons were returned - 95% of them Italians. They were returned because they were without means, old, or decrepit.

The highest rate of immigration was in the spring between April 1 and June 1.

The US government wanted the steamship companies to be held responsible for the return of undesirables. The North German Lloyd responded by sending notices to its agents not to sell tickets to persons"suffering from serious bodily infirmities, contagious disease, old men and old women traveling alone, women and children traveling alone, idiots, and apoplectic". The booking agent could be compelled to pay the return passage if the immigrant he sold a ticket to was barred entrance into the US.

"The various denomination—Protestant, Catholic, and Hebrew—have representatives to aid those who come here without a knowledge of our language, and Colonel Weber and several of his deputies speak three or four languages."
Frank Leslie Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Barge Office.

Posted 1912


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Barge Office, Emmigrant's Entrance to the United States


Print Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Barge Office

Harper's June 1884


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

THE BARGE OFFICE AT BATTERY PARK, WHERE ALL IMMIGRANTS ARE LANDED

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Print Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Russian Emigrants Landing From the Tender at the Barge Office, New York

The Illustrated London News March 5, 1892.

Note: Ellis Island opened January 1, 1892.


Ellis Island


The altruistic explanation for the establishment of Ellis Island insinuates it was for the comfort and safty of the immigrants. There were, however, darker forces at work. Robert A, Chesebrough, who patented Vasoline and made his fortune, was also a real estate developer who bought property at Battery Park in the late 1800s. The area at the time was run down, but Chesebrough and his son, William, chose to build several office buildings overlooking the waterfront. Unfortunately, the view also included "unattractive strangers and emigrants" debarking at Castle Gardens. Chesebrough petitioned Congress to have the immigration station removed to Ellis Island. "He vigorously opposed the use of Castle Garden as an immigrant depot by the state, and to his continued efforts is directly traced the action of the general government in taking charge of the department and removing it to Ellis Island."" (The National cyclopaedia of American biography: being the history ..., Volume 3, 1893)

Ellis Island was opened on January 1, 1892.

All immigrants (including the Irish Langans in 1892 and the Armenian Azarians in 1920/21) who came into the port of New York between 1892 and 1924 went through Ellis Island. However, due to a fire on June 14, 1897 that destroyed the complex, the island was closed until December 19, 1900. During this period the Barge Office was again used to process immigrants. The process for inspecting the immigrants during the years 1897 to 1900 was the same.

After a ship entered New York Harbor, immigration inspectors and United States health officers boarded the ship. All steerage passengers were transfer from the ship by ferry to the island. Passengers debarked with their luggage and were tagged with a card that included the page and line number corresponding to how their names appeared on the ship's manifest. On the main floor of the main building passengers were advised to check their luggage before going through the inspection process. They could keep their bags with them if they wanted, but it was easier to go through the inspection without dragging one's possessions. Next they walked single file up the grand staircase, which enabled health inspectors to do a quick check for lameness and other physical problems that would appear while moving. On the second floor was the registry room where US health officials examined the immigrants. Immigrants were checked for contagious eye diseases and about fifty other ailments and conditions. Health officials marked the outer garment of anyone with a health problem with a letter in chalk: an E for eye problem, an H for heart, a B for lameness, etc. About 20% would receive chalk marks and be held for closer examination. After the physical exam passengers lined up for the legal inspection conducted by the immigration inspectors. Immigration inspectors, assisted by interpreters when necessary, questioned each immigrant to confirm the information that had been declared before sailing as it was listed on the ship manifest. The questioning lasted two or three minutes and 80% of the immigrants had no problem with it. If there was some problem, the immigrant was sent before a special inquiry Board. The Federal Immigration Act of 1917 required that every immigrant over the age of 14 could read. The test consisted of reading a passage from the Holy Scriptures from the given passenger's culture and language. Most immigrants found ways of passing the test even if the could barely read. Once these examinations were finished the immigrant was free to leave. However, unaccompanied single women and their children were not allowed to enter the US by themselves and had to wait until a male relative came to fetch them. In 1921 Lucy Azarian and her three daughters, Annik, Heghine, and Zabel were detained at Ellis Island for three days until Abram Azarian came to fetch them.

Between 1892 and 1924, 16 million immigrants passed through the Ellis Island, an amazing 71% of all immigrants who came into the United States during that time period.

Matthias, Penelope, James, and Bridget Langan went through Ellis Island when it first opened in 1892. The Azarian family went though Ellis Island in the early 1920's.


Immigrants' Landing Ellis Island, New York Harbor

Ellis Island was originally the home of Fort Gibson. Some of the old fort buildings were used by the immigration authorities. The above images is of the first immigration processing center on Ellis Island. Two stories high and 400 feet by 150 feet, it was constructed of Georgia pine covered with a thin coating of galvanized iron and had a slate roof. This building burned in 1897.


Detained immigrants on Ellis Island, New York harbor / Drawn by M. Colin. Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1893 Aug. 26, p. 821 Credit: American Memory collections from the Library of Congress.

This image is of the older building complex on Ellis Island.


King's Photographic views of New York by Moses King (1895), Google Book July 2013

This images in from King's Photographic vies of New York by Moses King (1895) shows the old complex at Ellis Island. The new building was opened in 1892. Images of the pre 1892 building are rare. The image shows five scenes: Landing for Emigrants, Emigrants Dining Hall, Main Building Ellis Island, Surgeons' Residence, Detention Room and is labeled ELLIS-ISLAND IMMIGRANT STATION, IN NEW-YORK HARBOR - THE LANDING FOR IMMIGRANTS.


Immigration B'd'g., Ellis Island, N. Y. Harbor.

No date.

Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Ellis Island, New York Harbor. Post card dated 1919.
Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Printed on back.

Ellis Island

Immigration Depot since 1892, where all immigrants are landed and examined before being admitted to this country. Undesirables are deported at the expense of the steamship company that brings them. Visitors are admitted to the balcony free. Ferry connections form the Bowery.


Statue of Liberty on Bedloe's Island, Ellis Island, New York Bay, Aerial Explorations, Inc.

Post card dated 1958.

Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Ellis Island, New York Bay, Aerial Explorations, Inc.

From above post card

Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was one of the first sights immigrants had when arriving in New York Harbor.

New York City, State, and Nation by Sol Holt, a 1955 Junior High School civics book.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Ferry bring immigrants either from the ship to Ellis Island or from Ellis Island back to the docks in New York City.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Gateway of America-Immigrants Landing from Barge at Ellis Island, N. Y.

Printed on the back of this stereo card:

Ellis Island is a small island in the harbor of New York not far from the Statue of Liberty. Here are brought all immigrants who come into America through the port of New York. In order to understand the working of the government machinery about a port, imagine yourself an immigrant on board a large in-coming ship.

The vessel first puts into its pier where American citizens and others whose landing is not to be questioned, get off. All immigrants are kept on board, you among them. A ferry pulls alongside the ship and you are taken aboard it. This boat takes you to Ellis Island. Perhaps your ferry that you see draws alongside the Ellis Island Pier. You will note the immigrants stepping for the first time on American soil.

Before you are free to go to your friends, you must undergo a government inspection. With many others you pas into narrow aisles formed by iron railings. At the end of each of these aisles, in a booth, stands a government inspector. When you finally reach him, you under a careful examination.

You give you name, your age, your occupation, tell who your friends are, where they live, and what you expect to do*. You must have a certain amount of money on your person in order that the Government may be assured that it will not have to support you when you land. You are also given an examination by special doctors. If you fail to satisfy the authorities on any of these items, you will not be admitted.

More immigrants come through the port of New York than any other port in America. In 1914 there were received at Ellis Island, 1,218,490 immigrants, 33,041 of whom were debarred.

*This information was actually taken before the ship left Europe and was only reaffirmed upon arrival in New York.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Century Magazine May 1903 from an article by Jacob Riis with illustrations by G. W. Peters (George W Peters)

Going from the ferry to the main entrance of the immigration building at Ellis Island.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Century Magazine May 1903 from an article by Jacob Riis with illustrations by G. W. Peters (George W Peters)

THE REGISTRY DESK, ELLIS ISLAND


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Registration Room, Ellis Island, N.Y. City copyright 1905 by the Rotograph Co.

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Ellis Island, New York, Inspection room

Not posted


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

U. S Immigration Station, Ellis Island, New York 1925 D. T. Magowan, Maplewood, N. J.

Not posted

Printed on back:

U.S. IMMIGRATION STATION

ELLIS ISLAND, NEW YORK

Aliens appearing before immigrant inspectors for primary examination after having been passed by medical officers


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Century Magazine May 1903 from an article by Jacob Riis with illustrations by G. W. Peters (George W Peters)

IMMIGRANTS LANDING AT ELLIS ISLAND — SERVING SOUP ON THE ROOF GARDEN


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

U. S Immigration Station, Ellis Island, New York Dining room

Not posted

Printed on back:

U.S. IMMIGRATION STATION

ELLIS ISLAND, NEW YORK

Dining room, seating 400. Those detained are furnished three meals daily during the period of their detention. Also crackers and milk are served throughout the day and at bed time to women and children


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

U. S Immigration Station, Ellis Island, New York 1925 D. T. Magowan, Maplewood, N. J.

Not posted

Printed on back:

U.S. IMMIGRATION STATION

ELLIS ISLAND, NEW YORK

Sanitary, well-ventilated and comfortable dormitories insure rest for those detained over night.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

U. S Immigration Station, Ellis Island, New York Board of Special Inquiry, 1925 D. T. Magowan, Maplewood, N. J.

Not posted

Printed on back:

U.S. IMMIGRATION STATION

ELLIS ISLAND, NEW YORK

Board of Special Inquiry
All aliens found to be not clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to land are examined at length to determine their admissability


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Century Magazine May 1903 from an article by Jacob Riis with illustrations by G. W. Peters (George W Peters)

THE NEW YORK DETENTION-ROOM, ELLIS ISLAND


Harpers Weekly June 19, 1901 collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Prospective American Citizens


Harpers Weekly June 19, 1901 collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Baggage-room


Harpers Weekly June 19, 1901 collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Waiting for the New York Boat


Harpers Weekly, June 19 1901

The New Clearing House for Immigrants

"On Ellis Island, in New York Harbor, the government as opened a handsome new clearing-house for immigrants. The structure was built to take the place of the ramshackle pavilion of wood and slate which, in 1897, was burned to the ground. After the destruction of the old building the inspection of immigrants was conducted in a stuffy and ill-smelling shed attached to the Barge Office. In this narrow space six thousand aliens a week were herded. They were gathered in pens, sent to sleep under the rafters with layers of hot air for coverlets, and hurried about by frantic persons who waved papers and scowled. Now the candidates for American citizenship are entertained in a building as well arranged as many a hotel, until the Commissioner of Immigrations decides whether or not he can accept them as residents of the United States."

The size of the island had been increased by approximately 4 acres during the renovations.

"The main building is 338 feet long and 168 feet wide. It is built of brick held in the Flemish bond, and ornamented with trimmings of limestone.

In this building the registry-room occupies more space than any other apartment. It is 200 feet long, 100 feet wide, and 56 feet high. Most of its floor space is divided by means of iron railings into twelve narrow alleys. Down these passages are marched the files of immigrants. The new-comers whose names have been properly entered on the manifest of the steamer are permitted to pass, provided they have no diseases, no prison record, and no desire to become a beggar. If they have money enough or if their friends are present to guarantee that they are provided with funds to carry them to their destinations, they are permitted to try conclusions with the baggage-men and railroad ticket-agents on the floor below.

Those upon whom suspicion rest are escorted to the Detention Pen. From that enclosure they are taken to the meeting of a special board, which frequently orders them deported. In the central pavilion are a telegraph office, a bureau for changing money, sleeping apartments, the executive offices and a hall of records."


Who Actually Went Through The Immigrant Processing Stations


The immigrant proceedings stations were set up to screen non US citizens who were traveling in steerage.

All those (whether US citizens or not) who were traveling 1st or 2nd class were disembarked on the piers.

US citizens who were traveling in steerage were disembarked on the piers.

All non US citizens traveling in steerage went through Castle Gardens, the Barge Office or Ellis Island depending on the time frame.

An interesting case was brought to my attention in February 2012 by Kathy Clime whose ancestor Josef Kozole entered the port of New York three times: 1905, 1912 and 1922.

Josef Kozole born in Blanca, Slovakia in 1884 arrived in the United States for the first time on August 10, 1905 on the Barbarossa from Bremen on his way to Philadelphia. As a non US citizen in steerage he was processed through Ellis Island.

Sometime later Josef returned to his homeland and married. He and his bride came to America as "Second Cabin" passengers on the Kronprinz Wilhelm on March 5, 1912. He was not a US citizen at the time but was traveling Second Class and as such he and his wife, Marie, would not have been processed at Ellis Island but have disembarked directly on the piers in Hoboken.

In 1922 Josef and Marie brought their four children back to Yugoslavia for a visit. They returned to the US on August 18 1922 on the Aquitania from Cherbourg to New York. The children ages 10 to 5 were all born in the United States and as such were US citizens. They were listed on page 74 of the ships manifest. Josef and Maria were listed on page 88 of the ships manifest and were not US citizens. The question was: Would the children, as US citizens, been disembarked on the piers or would they have gone though the immigration process at Ellis Island, a necessity for Josef and Marie as non citizens? Jeffrey S. Dosik, Librarian, National Park Service, Bob Hope Memorial Library, Statue of Liberty NM & Ellis Island said that his educated guess would be that the American born children would not have been separated from their immigrant parents. They would have passed through Ellis together as a family and would have shown documentation to U.S. Immigration officials that their children were American born.


Those Who Came


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Print collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper June 13, 1891


Battery Park


Photo courtesy of Murray Gauer, December 2009


The Next Stage of the Journey


The majority of immigrants did not stop in their port of debarkation. Just as some emigrants left from ports not in their home country (like Germans leaving from Liverpool) many immigrants did not arrive in the port where they intended to settle. Joseph Walsh whose final destination was New York City arrived in the port of Philadelphia. Conversely, Lydia Land and her children whose final destination was Philadelphia arrived in the port of New York.

New York was by far the largest port of entry for those arriving from overseas to the east coast.

Many would not stop in New York even for the night but would immediately make their way to the trains and boats headed west. No trains to the west terminated in Manhattan so it was necessary to get from Castle Garden or Ellis Island to the train stations in New Jersey where Jersey City and Hoboken were the terminals for the trains headed west, northwest, and south.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, Century Magazine May 1903 from an article by Jacob Riis with illustrations by G. W. Peters (George W Peters)


Immigrant Transfer - The Old Method

Christian Weekly March 28, 1874

Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Castle Garden, With Immigrant Transfer Barge

Christian Weekly March 28, 1874

Eventually barge transfer from Castle Garden directly to the Hoboken and Jersey City was instituted. The signs on this barge reads:

Railway Emigrant Transfer, from Castle Garden to Erie Railway

Erie Basin Bahn
Einwanderer Beförderung
Castle Garden Nach Der Erie Eisenbahn
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, S. Francisco, Detroit, St Louis, Chicago, St Paul


The Immigrants Welcome

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck

TWO CRYING EVILS

"Unrestricted Immigration and Unlimited Wast of Public Money - The Workingman suffers from both"

PUCK May 6, 1891


Naturalization


The naturalization laws are somewhat complicated. However, the basic facts and how they effected most immigrants were simple.

One of the most relevant laws was the immigration act of 1802 which specified that "free, white aliens" could be admitted to citizenship if:

  1. They declared their intention to become citizens in a state, territorial, or federal court at least three years before becoming a citizen.
  2. Took an oath of allegiance to the United States.
  3. Had lived for at least 5 years in the United States and at least one year in the state in which they were applying for citizenship.
  4. Renounced allegiance to the foreign government they had left.
  5. Satisfied the court they were of good moral character and were willing to follow the principles set forth in the constitution.
Basically one could become a citizen in any court in the United States, county, state, or federal. The alien filled out a Certificate of Intention to become a citizen any time after he entered the United States. After the time requirement for residency was met he could fill out the Petition for Naturalization. The last step was to receive the Certificate of Naturalization which could occur anywhere from a day or two to several weeks after the Petition for Naturalization.

Under this act all foreign born children became citizens with their father. This did not require the father listing the names, ages and places of birth of his children. Women's citizenship was more complicated and her citizenship could be determined by either her father or her husband, depending on various criteria and where she lived.

Aliens, male and female, were allowed to own property in many areas of the United States. In some areas alien males were given the right to vote after they had completed the Declaration of Intention, (even though they were not citizens). Although women and children were citizens they could not vote.

Many immigrants came from countries where they had no citizen rights - Irish Catholics - Germans from Kingdoms and Duchies.

By an Act of February 10, 1855 wives of alien citizens were granted citizenship with their husbands. This did not require the husband listing any information about his spouse. Women could not vote until the 19th amendment of Constitution was ratified in 1920.

Some minor change occurred over the years, but no major changes were made until 1906. After 1906 it became mandatory for the applicant to provide the name, age, birth place, marriage date and place of a spouse and the names, ages and birth places of minor children. Children who reached their majority before the father became a citizen had to apply in their own right. There are numerous cases of aliens thinking they had become citizens under their father citizenship only to discover years later, or maybe to never discover, that they were not citizens all along.

After 1906, regardless of the court in which the alien became naturalized, the courts used a standard for the Petition of Naturalization and the Certificate of Naturalization. These forms required much more information than previously and consequently are much more interesting to the genealogist. They include the applicants age, occupation, personal description, date and place of birth, citizenship, present and last foreign address, ports of embarkation, and entry, name of vessel date of arrival, spouses name, names and ages of children with their places and dates of birth and finally the residency at the time of application. Veritable gold mines of genealogical information.

Women continued to receive their citizenship through their husbands until 1922. After 1922 they had to apply on their own behalf. Women were granted the right to vote by the 19th Amendment of the Constitution which was passed in 1919 and ratified August 18, 1920.

What about children? Did they continue to be under their fathers?


Harpers Weekly October 10, 1868, collection of Maggie Land Blanck

EXAMINING AND SWEARING NATURALIZED CITIZENS


Harpers Weekly October 10, 1868, collection of Maggie Land Blanck

SECURING CERTIFICATES OF NATURALIZATION IN THE CLERK'S OFFICE, CITY HALL

" In view of the coming presidential election the manufacture of voters in the various courts of New York city and county by naturalization progresses with unusual vigor.....

.......... A common method of obtaining naturalization papers for voting purposes is for the rascal applying to give a false address. In this way it is stated that in 1867, one house, containing not more than four or five voters, was set down in a court record as the residence of no fewer than sixty-eight applicants for naturalization.

The rate of manufacture at this time is about one hundred a day. Our engraving on this page illustrates the method of obtaining the certificates. The would-be citizen first visits the Naturalization Bureau room City Hall, and obtains a certificate setting forth that he has made an application for citizenship at that office, and that such and application had been duly filed and the fees paid. With this stamped certificate he presents himself at the bar of one of the city or county courts and undergoes a cross-questioning on the part of the Judge. His friends or witnesses are also examined as to his character, antecedents, as to the length of his residence in the country, etc. If he "passes" the Judge he presents himself at the desk of the clerk and takes the oath. He is then a citizen." Harpers Weekly, October 10, 1868

It would be very interesting to know it the statement about applicants giving false information is true. It could certainly complicate the search for documentation of ones ancestors.

The Immigration of the Land/Blanck Family

The earliest immigrants in the Land/Blanck story came to America from Germany around 1847. The most recently arrived immigrants in the story came from Turkey in the 1920s. All of them represent in one way or another, classic American immigration stories.

Most individuals did not migrate in isolation. From ancient times people moved in family groups. The same was true of the major immigration movements to America.

The passenger lists are full of single men and women. However, the chances were good that these single people were part of a group of relatives, friends, and neighbors who immigrated within a few years of one another and settled in the same area. This type of immigration is known as chain migration and is still occurring today.

Peak immigration years or the "crests of the migration waves" from Western Europe were 1849-54, 1869-73, and 1882-83.

German Ancestors Who Arrived in America Circa 1847

The first individuals in this story to arrive in America were Germans who immigrated in the middle of the 19th century. Julius Lindemann, Catherine Furst, and Louis Furst, all immigrated from Germany circa 1847. Julius and Catherine were married in New York and their children were born in New York.

They entered before the State of New York established immigration facilities at Castle Gardens.

German Ancestors Who Arrived in America in the 1870s

Henry Blanck and the Erxmeyer family came from Lehe, Germany to settle in Hoboken, New Jersey in the 1870s.

Peter Goehle, born in Hessen-Darmnstadt, Germany, immigrated to the United States on August 25th, 1873 on the R.M.S. Batavia from Liverpool and Queenstown and settled in New York City.

Peter Goehle was definitely processed through the New York State immigration facilities at Castle Gardens. Most likely Henry Blanck and the Erxmeyers also entered the United States through Castle Gardens.

German Ancestors Who Arrived in America in the 1880s

The 1880s were a period of peak immigration from Germany. Among the arriving immigrants were Frederick Kettler from Freisland and Bernhard Petermann and his family from Oldenburg.

Johanna Peter (or Peterson) is believed to have arrived from Norway around this time.

Frederick Kettler, Johanna Peter, and the Petermanns all spent some time in Brooklyn before settling in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Frederick Kettler, the Petermanns and Johanna Peter most likely came through Castle Gardens.

English Ancestors to New York State 1850 and Philadelphia 1870s

The first known members of the Land family to emigrated were:

  1. James and Samuel Sykes who were in Ithaca, New York in the 1850s and subsequently moved to Canada.
  2. Samuel Land, the son of John Land and Mary Dyson, and his wife, Mary Ann Law, (the sister of Samuel's step mother, Lydia Law Land) and their children who immigrated to Philadelphia circa 1871.
  3. William the son of John Land and Mary Dyson, who was in Philadelphia between 1871 and 1875 and returned to England.

    I do not know where any of them entered they entered the United States.

Lands and Sykes in Canada in the 1880s

Law Land, his wife, Elizabeth Sykes, and their child, Clarence immigrated to Toronto Canada circa 1882. Law and his family subsequently moved to Detroit Michigan circa 1892, to New Jersey, circa 1895, and finally to Smithtown, Long Island in 1900. I do not know where they entered Canada or the United States.

Elizabeth Sykes' brother, Samuel, immigrated to Toronto with his family on August 19, 1882 through Liverpool to Quebec. Another brother, Robert, immigrated to Toronto circa 1885. I do not know where they entered Canada.

Law Land's mother, Lydia, and several of her children immigrated though New York to Philadelphia in 1883. They entered the United States through Castle Gardens and most likely went by train to Philadelphia.

Irish Ancestors Who Arrived in the 1890s

The Langans and the Walshes came from Ireland in the early 1890's.

Maggie and Martin Langan could have come in though Castle Gardens circa 1890. Mathias, Penelopa, James and Bridget were among the first arrivals at Ellis Island in April 1892.

Joseph and Fanny Walsh immigrated to the United States on the British Princess, which left Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland on May 17th, 1894 and arrived in Philadelphia on May 29, 1894. I assume they traveled by train from Philadelphia to New York City

The Azarians in the 1920s

The Azarians, who were ethnic Armenians, came to America from Turkey through Ellis Island the early 1920's.


Ancestors Who May Have or Actually Did Enter the United States Through Castle Gardens, New York City Several of the following actually did come through the Port of New York and so must have come through Castle Gardens. This include Melosine Erxmeyer (and her sisters and mother), Peter Goehle and Lydia Land and her children. The others may have come through another port. Henry Blanck jumped ship in 1871 as did Melosine's brothers Fredrich and Heinrich Erxmeyer.
  • Catherine Furst, a Goehle ancestor, from Bavaria (Germany) circa 1847 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site.
  • Julius Lindemann, a Goehle ancestor from Brunswick (Germany) circa 1847 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site.
  • Henry Blanck, a Blanck ancestor from Hanover (Germany) 1871 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site. He jumped ship in August 1871.
  • Melosine Erxmeyer, a Blanck ancestor from Hanover (Germany) in 1872. - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site. However, she must have entered through Castle Garden as I have found her immigration record. Her mother and sisters also entered through New York but are not listed at Castle Garden.
  • Peter Goehle, a Goehle ancestor from Hesse Darmstadt (Germany) in 1873 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site. However, he must have entered through Castle Garden as I have found his immigration record.
  • Bernard and Sophia Petermann, a Land ancestor from Oldenburg (Germany) circa 1882 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site.
  • Fritz Kettler, a Blanck ancestor from Friesland (Germany) before 1883 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site.
  • Hanna Petersen, a Blanck ancestor from Norway before 1883.
  • Maggie Langan, a Walsh ancestor from county Mayo, Ireland, circa 1890 - not listed on the Castle Garden Web site.
  • Lydia Law Land, an English ancestor from Yorkshire, England in 1883, and her children who are the only ones so far listed by the Castle Garden Web site.

Ancestors Who Entered the United States Through Ellis Island, New York City

  • Mathias and Penelope Langan and thier children James and Bridget, Walsh ancestors, from County Mayo Ireland, April 1892. They are NOT listed by Ellis Island. However, I have found the ship manifest.
  • Abram Azarian, an ethnic Armenian from Constantinople, Turkey, October 1920.
  • Lucy Azarian and her daughters, Anna, Mary, and Alice, ethnic Armenians from Constantinople, April 1924

Ancestors Who Arrived Through Other Ports

  • Joseph Walsh, a Walsh ancestor from County Mayo, Ireland, entered the United States through the port of Philadelphia in 1894
  • Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes, Land ancestors from Yorkshire, England, first went to Toronto Canada circa 1882. They subsequently entered the United States with several of their children, including their son, Percy, through Detroit, Michigan, circa 1892

The Steerage of Today, 1898, Hubert Phelps Whitmarsh

After I bought the article "The Steerage of Today" by H. Phelps Whitmarsh I found the entire article (with illustrations) on line at Steerage Conditions in 1898 - A First-Hand Account By H. Phelps Whitmarsh with Illustrations by A. Castaigne The Gjenvick-Gjonvik Archives - The Future of Our Past

Hubert P Whitmarsh age 33 author entered the US through the Port of New York in steerage on the Lucania on June 27, 1896. He made numerous other crossings as a cabin passenger under the name Hubert P and H Phelps Whitmarsh.


George W Peters, Artist

George W Peters drew several of the images on this page.

According to a New York Times article of August 12, 1914 he had won fame "by drawing pictures of scenes in the Philippines while Aquinaldo was ravaging that country and who came very near being shot as a spy". In 1914 he was sued by his wife Mary E for $40 a week alimony and $500 counsel fees. Mary E Peters claimed it was her idea that her husband go to the Philippines. She further claimed that George W Peters was living with "a Mrs. Walcott" at 201 West Eighty-first Street.

G W Peters "the noted illustrator of New York City", was "born and reared" in Lebanon, Pa according to Proceedings and addresses, Volume 14 By Pennsylvania-German Society.


Tenement Life

Many of the immigrants who arrived in New York went on to live in the tenements of the Lower East Side. For more information on and images of life in the tenements, go to New York City Tenement life


Bremen/Bremerhaven

Many of the immigrants who arrived in New York, such as several of my ancestors, left from the German port of Bremen. For images of and information on Bremen go to Bremer/Bremerhaven


Emigration from Ireland

To see my collection of images of the immigration experience from Ireland go to Irish Emigration

Cholera Outbreak in New York Harbor 1892

1877 Scribner Article on Immigration

Ellis Island Official Web Site

Castle Garden Official Web Site

The Temperance Movement

For early pictures representing the Temperance Movement in New York City


If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com

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Thanks,

Maggie


This page was created in 2005: Latest update, October 2013