An online family history resource Ancestry.com says it has launched a collection of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories from immigrants who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island.
This is the first time, it says, this collection of poignant recordings has been available online. To celebrate the new addition, Ancestry.com is making its entire U.S. Immigration Collection free through Labor Day.
“As immigrants created new lives in the U.S., the stories of their homelands and their remarkable journeys to America were often lost,” said Christopher Tracy, senior vice president of global content for Ancestry.com.
“We are thrilled to offer people the opportunity to hear the voices of their ancestors sharing stories of their lives.”
Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants between 1892 and 1954. The oral histories were captured by the National Park Service starting in the 1970s, and contain uniquely inspiring first-hand accounts recalling the lives these immigrants left behind, their reasons for leaving and their incredible and often-trying journeys to America.
These recordings are housed at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and until now could be heard only by visitors to the Island itself.
In addition to oral histories from immigrants, the collection also includes recordings from military personnel who were stationed on Ellis Island and former Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty workers.
Comprised of over 170 million records, the Ancestry.com U.S. Immigration Collection includes lists of passengers who immigrated by ship to America between 1820 and 1960, including those who came through Ellis Island; more than 7 million citizenship and naturalization records; border crossings, passport applications and more to help reconstruct ancestors’ journeys and early lives in America.