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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

Ellis Island

January 1, 1892 - Ellis Island opened to process immigrants, most of whom came from the European countries. Over the next 62 years, over 12 million people came thru this island. Ellis Island had an impact on Iowa, and Wright County, as some of these immigrants came over here to join family and others who had come earlier.

If you have ever been on, or something similar, you may have found records of your ancestors coming over to the United States, and the name of the ship they arrived on. First and second class ticket holders were processed quickly and allowed in; steerage, or 3rd class people were held pending medical inspection. Only about 2% of the travelers were turned away for medical or personal reasons. If you want to search your ancestors or family name, go to: (Ellis island website). There are other ports where immigrants landed, such as Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, and others.

While searching for your ancestors, make sure you attempt to find at least two documents or records that you have found the correct one! Family names - such as Joseph, John, Mary were common in each generation AND even in each siblings’ families. Sometimes census records can help you determine what year your relative came over. They are usually accurate within a few years. Sometimes people who came over young don’t remember the exact year!

As time passes, it becomes more important to record your own family history. Looking back, pictures were non-existent and then scarce. Family albums are a great source of information - if someone took the time to write about the pictures! Heartland has a few copies of family information, and would be happy to have more for family searches. Also, the Clarion Library is a good source of information, as are Belmond and Eagle Grove.

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