02 September 2010

Ancestry.com: Immigration Collection free through Labor Day

Ancestry.com launched a collection of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories of immigrants who arrived through Ellis Island. It's the first time the collection is available online.

In celebration, the subscription site is making its complete US Immigration Collection free through Labor Day (Monday, September 6), in the US.
"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."
Between 1892 and 1954, millions of immigrants arrived in America, and the National Park Service began recording the oral histories in the 1970s. The collections offers unique first-hand accounts recalling the lives they left behind, reasons for leaving and their incredible journeys to America.

Previously, the recordings were housed only at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and could only be accessed by visitors in person on site. In addition to immigrants' stories, it also includes those from military personnel stationed on Ellis Island and former workers.
"To our family it is important that we in the U.S. know the origin of the people who came to this country, settled here and made it what it is today. It makes us very proud to know that our mother was part of this," said Yvonne Rumac, daughter of oral history participant Estelle Belford, who immigrated to the United States from Romania via Ellis Island in 1905.
The US Immigration Collections includes more than 170 million records: passenger manifests from 1820-1960, including those who came through Ellis Island; more than 7 million citizenship and naturalization records; border crossings, passport applications and additional material.

New material added to the collection:

-- Nearly 2 million new U.S. naturalization record indexes have been added from 11 states (Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington state).

-- Nearly 2 million records were added for ship crew members who arrived in the port of Boston, bringing the Boston Passenger and Crew Lists (1820-1943) to more than 3.8 million.

The US Immigration Collection will be open to all through Labor Day, but the Oral History Collection will remain permanently free.

Learn more here.

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