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If your name was changed at Ellis Island

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Presentation on theme: "If your name was changed at Ellis Island"— Presentation transcript:

1 If your name was changed at Ellis Island
Facts from Ellen Levine Compliments of T. Atkins

2 What was Ellis Island? It was an immigration center located in New York Harbor.


4 Millions of newcomers passed through its gates and were examined by doctors and legal inspectors.

5 Before Ellis Island opened, immigrants were examined at Castle Garden at the tip of Manhattan Island.


7 When was Ellis Island opened?

8 At least 12 million people passed through Ellis Island.

9 Did all immigrants come through Ellis Island?

10 Some immigrants entered through other east coast ports
Boston Philidelphia Baltimore

11 Other Ports New Orleans Galveston San Francisco

12 In 1907 there were 70 immigration stations.

13 If you had the most expensive tickets, 1st or 2nd class, you were examined aboard the ship. If you passed you were free to enter the country.

14 Immigrants aboard a ship,
waiting to unload.

15 America: “The Golden Land”
Free School Decent jobs People ate well Why was it called that?

16 It could take many years before you were reunited with your family
Would everyone in your family come together? It could take many years before you were reunited with your family Usually a father or an older sibling would come first. That person would find work then send money back for you.

17 What did people bring with them?
People brought whatever they could carry. Some had suitcases and trunks. Most had bundles tied together with string. People carried baskets, cardboard boxes, tins, and leather sacks.



20 Many immigrants brought their
feather quilts, mattresses, and pillows, for the steamships just provided thin blankets

21 Some people packed fancy clothes, specially embroidered
and crotched. Sometimes people wore layers of all their clothing so they wouldn’t have to pack them

22 Often they brought food for the long trip over the ocean, like smoked
sausages or hams.

23 How did people travel to the ships that brought them to America?

24 If you lived out in the country,
you often had to go to a big town to catch a train to the port.

25 Other people from Russia or
Poland left in the dead of the night to escape mobs that were beating and murdering people.

26 If you had to cross into another
country before you reached your port, you needed a special permit.

27 If you reached a border and did not have a permit, you might have to bribe the border guard to let you pass.

28 The trip overland sometimes
took weeks. Finally when you arrived at a port city, you might have to wait a week or two, sometimes even longer, until the ship was ready to depart.

29 Were you examined before you left for America?

30 According to a U.S. law, ship companies had to pay the return
fare for anyone who had to be sent back from America. So, before leaving, ship doctors examined all passengers to see if they had any illnesses that would prevent them from being allowed to enter the U.S.

31 Doctors vaccinated and disinfected all passengers. Men
and boys often had their hair very short, and women and girls had theirs combed very carefully to look for lice, which carried the deadly disease typhus.

32 The ship companies also had to prepare a manifest- a list of
information about everybody on board the ship. Each immigrant was assigned a number, and the ship’s captain listed everyone’s nationality, age, sex, destination, and occupation.


34 if they could read and write,
They were asked if they could read and write, whether they were married, and how many pieces of baggage they had. The list was given to the immigration inspectors when the ship landed in America.


36 How long would the trip last?
If there were no bad storms or other problems, the trip usually took about six to thirty-two days.

37 Where would you sleep and eat
on the ship? 1st and 2nd class had a private cabin to sleep in, and food would be served in a dining room. Most immigrants were steerage. This area was below the deck on the lowest level of the ship.

38 Several hundred passengers
were crammed into steerage with no fresh air. They slept in narrow bunk-beds, sometimes 3 high. There was 1 bath area for all of steerage, with sink faucets that frequently didn’t work.


40 The food was not very good.
They ate lukewarm soup, boiled potatoes, and stringy beef.

41 Some immigrants reported all
they ate was herring, bread and potatoes. The one good thing about the herring is it cured seasickness.

42 “ How can a steerage passenger remember he was a human being
when he must first pick worms from his food…and eat in his stuffy, stinking bunk, or in the hot… atmosphere of a compartment where 150 men sleep?”

43 Would you go straight to Ellis Island when you arrived in
New York Harbor? All the ships were stopped in lower NY bay, where doctors boarded. They checked passengers for contagious diseases.

44 There were 2 small islands in the lower bay. If you were sick,
you’d be put in a hospital on one of them. If the doctors thought you had been exposed to a disease, they’d place you on the other island for observation.

45 Further up the bay, immigration
officers would examine all 1st and 2nd class passengers. The boat would then dock at the tip of Manhattan and those that passed were allowed to enter the country. All steerage passengers went to Ellis Island, no matter what.

46 Even after arriving, frequently
they stayed on board ship for one or more nights until barges could take them to Ellis Island for further examinations.

47 One passenger said,” Isn’t it strange that here we are coming
to America where there is complete equality, but not quite so for the newly arrived immigrants.”

48 Ellis Island was like a miniature
city. There were waiting rooms, dormitories for over a thousand people, restaurants, a hospital, baggage room, post office, banks to exchange foreign money, a railroad ticket office, medical and legal examination rooms, baths, laundries, office areas for charities, and courtrooms.

49 When the barge pulled up to the dock at Ellis Island the
first place you went was The Great Hall to be inspected by doctors.


51 Who examined you once you got
to Ellis Island?

52 As soon as you arrived you were
examined. They did not know it was happening. When you walked they watched to see if you limped, or had difficulty breathing.

53 Children older than 2 had to walk
on their own. All immigrants were asked their names to see if they could hear and speak.


55 Doctors used a finger or a buttonhook to roll back your eyelids to see if you had a contagious disease called trachoma.

56 The walk up the stairs was called the “six-second medical”, and
then the doctors at the top usually took two to three minutes to examine you. All examines together took less than 5 minutes.

57 something wrong with you?
What if they found something wrong with you?

58 X Possible Mental Case

59 B Back Problems

60 E Problem with eyes.

61 P Physical Problem or Lungs

62 Sc Scalp Problems

63 L Lameness

64 CT Trachoma

65 If you were found sick, but
Curable you were taken to the hospital until you were better. If your disease was contagious and incurable, you were put in a special hospital until a ship could take you home.

66 If you were marked with an “X” the doctors were uncertain that
you would be able to work. They gave you some intelligence tests that included math problems, they would ask you to count backwards, and do some puzzles.

67 Who were the inspectors?

68 Inspectors asked you between
twenty and thirty questions. They had to decide whether you were “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to land.”

69 Did you have to have money
when you arrived?

70 At first all you had to have was ten dollars and money for a railroad ticket. Later the amount raised to $25. The rule was later dropped, but inspectors continued to use it.

71 Did you have to have a job
waiting for you?

72 You could not have a job waiting for you. In 1885 US Congress
passed a law that said employers could not make contracts with immigrants to bring them to America. Congress was afraid that immigrants would accept lower wages than American workers, and take jobs form those that already lived here.

73 You could be deported if the inspectors thought:

74 had committed crimes in your old country.

75 had a job when you arrived in America
wouldn’t be able to support yourself had certain mental or physical problems that would keep you from working

76 How long did you stay at Ellis Island? Most people were questioned,
examined, and ready to leave the island after three to five hours.

77 If you were detained, or arrived
at night, you were served meals in the Ellis Island restaurant. There were 2 kitchens, 1 for religious Jews, and one regular.

78 If you stayed overnight you’d
sleep either in a hospital bed or in a dormitory. During the years of the greatest migration to the US, both were overcrowded.

79 Why did some immigrants change
their names? Some were afraid their names were too long. Sometimes the inspectors got confused and wrote down the wrong thing.



82 What was the Staircase of Separation?

83 Whether you passed all the examinations or were detained,
you went down the staircase. Straight ahead led to the much-feared detention rooms A turn to left led to the ferry to Manhattan. A turn to the right at the bottom led you to the railroad ticket office.

84 Angel Island

85 Angel Island In 1905, construction of an Immigration Station began in the area known as China Cove. The station was finally put into operation in 1910. Known as "Ellis Island of the West” Within the Immigration Service it was known as "The Guardian of the Western Gate" Designed to control the flow of Chinese into the country, who were officially not welcome with the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

86 Angel Island Some detainees expressed their feelings in poetry that they brushed or carved onto the wooden walls of the detention center. Others simply waited, hoping for a favorable response to their appeals, but fearing deportation. Many of the poems that were carved into the walls of the center are still legible today.

87 Detention Center This facility was primarily a detention center.
Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a series of restrictive laws had prohibited the immigration of certain nationalities and social classes of Asians. Although all Asians were affected, the greatest impact was on the Chinese. 

88 Processed Picture Brides
By 1920, an estimated 6,000 to 19,000 Japanese "picture brides" were processed through Angel Island. Immigrants from other Pacific Rim countries, including Russia, Korea, the Philippines, and Japan, were detained here. During World War I, "enemy aliens" (most of them German citizens who had been arrested on board ships in West Coast harbors) were held at the Immigration Station. These men were later transferred to permanent detention quarters in North Carolina.


90 Japanese Picture Brides Arriving at Ellis Island

91 Katherine Mauer with Asian Immigrants in Waiting Room

92 Closing Angel Island In 1940, the government decided to abandon the Immigration Station on Angel Island. Their decision was hastened by a fire that destroyed the administration building in August of that year. On November 5, the last group of about 200 aliens (including about 150 Chinese) was transferred from Angel Island to temporary quarters in San Francisco. The so-called "Chinese Exclusion Acts", which were adopted in the early 1880s, were repealed by federal action in 1943, because by that time, China was an ally of the U.S. in World War II

93 Prisoner Processing Center
In 1941, following the departure of the Immigration Service from the island, the station property was turned back to the Army, and it became the North Garrison of Fort McDowell.  When World War II began, the old detention barracks became a Prisoner of War Processing Center, and German and Japanese prisoners were processed there before being sent to permanent camps in the interior. 

94 Compare/Contrast Angel Island and Ellis Island
What to do: Use a Venn Diagram to compare Angel Island to Ellis Island

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