The following announcement was written by The Generations Network, the parent company of Ancestry.com. Note that you must create a free account in order to access these records:
PROVO, Utah, April 12 -- To honor the 100th anniversaries of the largest year and single day of immigration through Ellis Island, Ancestry.com, the world's largest online resource for family history, is offering free access to the only complete online set of Ellis Island passenger arrival records (1892-1957) from April 12 to April 30. In addition, Ancestry.com is inviting users to relive the remarkable journeys of their gateway ancestors at the click of a mouse at http://www.ellisislandexperience.com/ -- an interactive, multimedia tour of this national landmark.
More than 11,500 immigrants passed through America's "Golden Door" on April 17, 1907, the single-day record. In total, some 1 million immigrants would come through the island in 1907 alone, making it the busiest year in Ellis Island's 60 years of operation.
Each ship that docked at Ellis Island was required to give island officials a list of people on board. Known as passenger lists, these records reveal invaluable pieces of a family's immigration story, from place of origin and intended destination in America to birth dates, names of family members and even the amount of money in their possession.
"For millions of Americans, Ellis Island is a monument to their ancestors' hope, will and sacrifice -- not just a New York tourist site," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com. "More than 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island and though some settled in New York, most boarded trains bound for Minnesota and Colorado and other destinations across the country. Ellis Island's influence is felt throughout America."
From cramped, unsanitary conditions during their Atlantic voyage, to long lines and dreaded medical inspections, http://www.ellisislandexperience.com brings the "Isle of Hope" to life, illustrating the story of this great immigration station through oral histories, original photos, maps and first-hand accounts. At the click of a mouse, site visitors can now discover the legacies of immigrants' sacrifice, survival and success, learning what drove so many millions of immigrants to leave everything they knew for a country they had never seen.
This 100th anniversary comes on the heels of the November launch of Ancestry.com's U.S. Passenger List Collection, the largest compilation of its kind, which includes more than 100 million names of people who arrived at more than 100 U.S. ports of entry between 1820 and 1960, the height of immigration.
Ancestry.com's easy-to-use search and navigation tools help users find their ancestors' passenger lists. Users can view a digital image of the actual passenger list document, save to their online personal family tree, print for future reference and share via email with their family members. From April 12 through April 30, Ancestry.com is offering free access to the entire U.S. Passenger List Collection, which includes the Internet's most comprehensive set of Ellis Island records.
The U.S. Passenger List Collection complements and combines with Ancestry.com's eclectic and growing compilation of historical records, which also includes birth, marriage and death records, military records and the exclusive online U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790-1930).
With 24,000 searchable databases and titles, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. Ancestry.com is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including MyFamily.com, Rootsweb.com, Genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 9.6 million unique visitors worldwide and over 380 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, February, 2007).