Let's hope that your ancestors didn't suffer ALL the indignities that Charlie Chaplin encountered in this old-time silent movie. However, I'd bet at least some of the scenes are based on true events. The images of Ellis Island certainly were exactly what your ancestors saw upon arrival, if they arrived at New York City during the years that the immigration portal was in use.
This is twenty minutes of Charlie Chaplin at his best. Only the first few minutes of the movie show the crossing on the rolling steamship, however, followed by a very brief look at Ellis Island. We can assume that many of our ancestors laughed at these movies although they certainly are not very sophisticated by today's standards.
Note: Charlie Chaplin was himself an immigrant and crossed the Atlantic by steamship several times. However, he was already a well-known and wealthy actor and undoubtedly did not travel in steerage, as depicted in this movie.
You can watch the movie at http://youtu.be/buhjfQmRozg or click on the image below:
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