Source Information New York City, Ellis Island Oral Histories, 1892-1976 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Transcriptions of Ellis Island Oral Histories. New York, New York: Ellis Island Immigration Museum, 2010.

About New York City, Ellis Island Oral Histories, 1892-1976

This collection contains some 2,000 oral histories collected by the Ellis Island Oral History Program through the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Begun in 1973, the project aims to collect first-hand information about immigrant experiences from everyday life in their country of origin, family history, reasons for coming to America, the journey to the port, experiences on the ship, arrival, processing at Ellis Island, and adjustment to life in the U.S. Most interviewees are chosen from submitted questionnaires, range in age from 46 to 106, though the average age is late eighties, and are from many countries.

Ellis Island was in operation from 1892 until 1954 and processed 12 million immigrants. Upon arrival 29 questions were asked including name, occupation, and the amount of money carried. Immigrants were quickly looked over for any medical problems and 2 percent were deported back to their home countries for chronic contagious disease, criminal background, or insanity. In 1924 immigration was restricted and the only immigrants to pass through the Ellis Island station were displaced persons or war refugees.

Information in this database:

  • Surname
  • Interview date
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Country immigrated from
  • Immigration date
  • Age on arrival
  • Ship name
  • Port of departure
  • Additional information respective to immigrant’s interview

For further information about the Ellis Island Oral History Project, please contact:

Oral History Project
Ellis Island Immigration Museum
New York City, New York, 10004

Phone: (212) 363-3200, ext. 156
Fax: (212) 363-6302