The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the nonprofit that collaborates with the National Park Service and raises funds for the restoration and preservation of these two national monuments, has introduced a new service in response to Ellis Island closing during the COVID-19 crisis. Each year thousands visit the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island to explore their connections to the 17+ million immigrants who entered the U.S. through the Port of New York (1820-1957). Now, a newly created virtual experience replicates a visit to the Family History Center to help people along their genealogical journey.
For a $30 donation, the Foundation’s experts conduct a personalized search of the passenger database, home to about 65 million arrival records. With a successful search, donors receive two copies (a digital version and a hard copy on archival paper) of the Ship Manifest displaying the immigrant’s arrival. The Foundation is also producing a series of videos featuring research tips and interesting stories about Ellis Island’s immigration history.
This team consists of the same research staff you would normally meet at the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island. Your donation secures a 30-minute research session conducted by the team, with the funds supporting the Foundation’s mission and our commitment to keeping these 65 million records available for people all over the globe.
Successful searches will result in the Foundation sending you a free digital copy of the Ship Manifest displaying your ancestor’s arrival in America! In addition, when the Foundation’s office reopens, you will receive a hard copy, on archival paper, sent with free shipping.
Each research session will be 30 minutes in length. During this time, the research team will search the vast records for your ancestor (only one per session; you can purchase more than one session). Allow up to 10 business days to receive your search results. You may purchase more than one session. If you are interested in searching for multiple passengers, you can reserve additional sessions. Research sessions occur without live participation from donor. The research team will reach out to you if they have any additional questions.
How it works
Visit the website shop to make your donation and secure your 30-minute research session.
You will receive a confirmation email from our research team. This email will include a document where you will provide as much information possible about the passenger you’d like us to research. The more information the team has from you, the more they can narrow the search.
After submitting your form, a research team member will be assigned to conduct your search.
If your search is successful, you will receive a free digital copy of the Ship Manifest (up to a $50 savings!)
If your search is unsuccessful, you will receive a 10% off promo code for the Ellis Island Shop.
The Ellis Island Database, which is free for all, is an amazing gateway to history. There are close to 65 million records documenting the people who came to America through the Port of New York, from 1820 to 1957.
In the coming weeks, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation will unveil a series of videos on social media that will guide you along a genealogical journey, providing research tips and historical fun facts from our staff.
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today, President Obama is designating three new national monuments honoring our country’s civil rights history and taking new steps to promote diversity in our national parks and other public lands. Building on the Administration’s commitment to protecting places that are culturally and historically significant and that reflect the story of all Americans, today’s designations will protect historic sites in Alabama and South Carolina that played an important role in American history stretching from the Civil War to the civil rights movement.
In addition, President Obama is taking new steps to promote diversity and inclusivity in our nation’s system of national parks, national forests, monuments and other public lands and waters, directing agencies including the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to work to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to experience our great outdoors and engage in decisions about how our public lands and waters are managed, and to prioritize building a more inclusive Federal workforce that is reflective of the diversity of our Nation.
Also, President Obama took action to expand two national monuments: expanding the existing California Coastal National Monument by 6,230 acres; and expanding the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in California and Oregon.
New Civil Rights Monuments
The new monuments are the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Freedom Riders National Monument and Reconstruction Era National Monument.
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument: The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument will protect the historic A.G. Gaston Motel in Birmingham, Alabama, which served at one point as the headquarters for the civil rights campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The monument will also tell the stories associated with other nearby Birmingham historic sites, including the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church– which was the site of a bombing in 1963; and Kelly Ingram Park, where Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor turned hoses and dogs on young civil rights protesters.
Freedom Riders National Monument: The Freedom Riders National Monument is located in Anniston, Alabama and contains two sites that help underscore the Freedom Riders’ importance to the civil rights movement. The monument includes the Greyhound Bus Station where a racially integrated bus of Freedom Riders attempting to test desegregation was attacked in the spring of 1961, and the site where the same bus was firebombed and burned some minutes later.
Reconstruction Era National Monument: Located in coastal South Carolina, the newReconstruction Era National Monument encompasses four sites throughout Beaufort County that tell the vibrant story of the robust community developed by freed former African American slaves in the Reconstruction Era South. This designation includes the Brick Baptist Church and Darrah Hall at the existing Penn Center on St. Helena Island as well as the Old Firehouse in downtown Beaufort and parts of Camp Saxton in Port Royal where the Emancipation Proclamation was read on New Year’s Day in 1863. These sites establish the first unit of the National Park System focused on telling the story of Reconstruction.
Protection for these sites is strongly supported by the local communities, elected officials, and a wide variety of stakeholders including civil rights organizations, environmental justice groups and historic preservation groups. Each designation was also supported by legislation introduced by members of the Alabama and South Carolina delegations.
“These monuments preserve the vibrant history of the Reconstruction Era and its role in redefining freedom,” President Obama stated. “They tell the important stories of the citizens who helped launch the civil rights movement in Birmingham and the Freedom Riders whose bravery raised national awareness of segregation and violence. These stories are part of our shared history. From designating Stonewall National Monument, our country’s first national monument honoring the LGBT movement, to recognizing the movement for women’s equality through the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, I have sought to build a more inclusive National Park System and ensure that our national parks, monuments and public lands are fully reflective of our nation’s diverse history and culture.”
Promoting Diversity and Inclusivity in Managing Our Public Lands and Water
In addition, President Obama is taking new steps to promote diversity and inclusivity in our nation’s system of national parks, national forests, monuments and other public lands and waters. Today, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the agencies charged with managing the vast majority of America’s public lands and waters – the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – to work to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to experience our great outdoors and engage in decisions about how our public lands and waters are managed. The Memorandum also directs agencies to prioritize building a more inclusive Federal workforce that is reflective of the diversity of our Nation.
Expansion of National Monuments Protecting Natural Resources in California and Oregon
In addition to the new designations honoring African American history, today, President Obama is expanding two existing national monuments to protect critical biodiversity, important historic and natural resources and vital wildlife habitat in California and Oregon.
Expansion of California Coastal National Monument: Today, President Obama is expanding the existing California Coastal National Monument by 6,230 acres to include six additional coastal sites proposed for protection in legislation introduced by members of the California Congressional delegation in 2015. The monument was originally designated in 2000 by President Bill Clinton and expanded by President Obama in 2014 to include Point-Arena-Stornetta in Mendocino County. Today’s expansion will protect incredible coastal natural resources, scenic views, and areas of cultural and historical significance, including sites that provide insight into the Native peoples who first lived along California’s coast and places still important to local tribes today.
Expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument: Located in southwest Oregon and northern California, the current Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument protects the significant biodiversity at the intersection of three distinct bioregions, including wildlife habitat for nearly 200 species of birds. Drawing from two different reports compiled by the scientific community as well as a legislation introduced in the Senate in 2015, today’s expansion will protect more than 42,000 additional acres of public land in Oregon and approximately 5,000 acres in California to increase vital habitat connectivity, watershed protection, and landscape-scale resilience for the area’s unique biological values, particularly in the face of growing impacts from climate change.
“Over the last 8 years, I have sought to work with local communities, Tribal governments, businesses, sportsmen, members of Congress and others to protect the most important public lands for the benefit of future generations,” President Obama stated. “Today’s actions will help ensure that more of our country’s history will be preserved and celebrated, and that more of our outdoors will be protected for all to experience and enjoy.”
WASHINGTON – As the National Park Service enters its second century of service and strives to tell a more inclusive and diverse story of America’s history, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks.
The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history, and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.
“These 24 new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music, and religious observance,” said Secretary Jewell. “Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties and the more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide.”
If not already so recognized, properties designated as National Historic Landmarks are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“As the National Park Service kicks off its second century of stewardship of America’s natural and historic treasures, we look forward to connecting new generations of Americans to the places and stories recognized as National Historic Landmarks today,” said National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds.
The 24 national historic landmarks announced today are:
The assassination of Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963, in the carport of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers House in Jackson, Mississippi, became one of the catalysts for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His assassination also forced Myrlie Evers into a more prominent role for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Both Medgar and Myrlie were major contributors to advancing the goals of the civil rights movement on a national level. Medgar Evers was the first nationally significant civil rights leader to be murdered.
The Wyandotte National Burying Ground (Eliza Burton Conley Burial Site) in Kansas City, Kansas, serves as tangible evidence of the consequences of federal American Indian removal policy to a tribal population and its identity during the nineteenth century. The property is also associated with Eliza (Lyda) Burton Conley who was the first attorney to raise the legal argument that American Indian burying grounds are entitled to protection by the Federal Government and to claim that the descendants of treaty signatories have the right to sue to enforce treaty provisions.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City represents the idea of the African Diaspora, a revolutionizing model for studying the history and culture of people of African descent that used a global, transnational perspective. The idea and the person who promoted it, Arthur (Arturo) Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938), an Afro-Latino immigrant and self-taught bibliophile, reflect the multicultural experience of America and the ideals that all Americans should have intellectual freedom and social equality.
As one of the three New Deal greenbelt towns built by the Federal Government, the Greenhills Historic District in Greenhills, Ohio, shaped the federal response to the Great Depression and represents highly important aspects of New Deal policy, an important period in the evolution of the American suburb. The village is an outstanding representation of the American Garden City movement and a nationally significant historic residential suburb.
On April 20, 1970, community residents occupied Chicano Park in San Diego, California, in an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports.
Casa José Antonio Navarro in San Antonio, Texas, was the home of Tejano statesman and historian José Antonio Navarro (1795-1871), a political leader whose prolific career as statesman and defender of Tejano rights shaped the destiny of Texas as an independent Republic and as part of the United States of America. His commitments to both American ideals and to the rights of Texan Mexican Americans make him one of the leading figures of the American Southwest under three sovereignties.
The Neutra Studio and Residences (VDL Research House) in Los Angeles, California, is associated with Richard Neutra, a nationally and internationally seminal figure of the twentieth century Modern movement in architecture. During the 1940s, as Neutra’s work evolved, he also became the well-recognized founder of mid-century “California Modern” architecture. The VDL Research House is the only property where one can see the progression of his style over a period of years and is among the key properties to understanding the national significance of Richard Neutra.
The Keim Homestead in Oley, Pennsylvania, is an exceptionally intact example of early German American domestic vernacular architecture. Constructed ca. 1753, the main house and the ancillary building (which served in effect as an extension of the main dwelling under a separate roof), together represent methods of construction, elements of architectural decoration, and patterns of dwelling and domestic outbuilding layout and design that were characteristic of the German American tradition of the mid-eighteenth century.
Constructed in 1758, Schifferstadt is an outstanding example of a Georgian-period house influenced by German American cultural and construction traditions, located in Frederick, Maryland. With its exterior Georgian architectural style and many ethnically Germanic features on the interior, the house embodies how German immigrants chose to retain much of their cultural heritage within their houses while exhibiting their social and economic status on the exterior.
This massive early-twentieth century enlargement of New York’s canal system was an embodiment of a Progressive Era emphasis on public works. The New York State Barge Canal was built explicitly to counter the growing monopoly of railroad corporations over the American economy. The spine of the canal is a direct descendant of the Erie Canal, which opened the interior of North America to settlement and commercial agriculture, transforming the Atlantic economy.
The Kimball Village Site (13PM4) in Plymouth county, Iowa, is an exceptionally well-preserved, circa CE 1100-1250, Plains Village site. This site embodies all of the distinctive characteristics of early indigenous farmers, settlements, and material culture that typify early Plains Village sites. This was a transformative chapter in North American mid-continental history when people switched from hunting and gathering and small-scale crop production to a nucleated sedentary lifestyle based on intensive maize horticulture and compact villages of substantive timber lodges.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel (McDonnell Hall) in San Jose, California, connected the Mexican American civil rights movement, Catholic ministry to ethnic Mexicans, and ongoing efforts to organize ethnic Mexican migrant farmworkers. The chapel was the home for the Community Service Organization (CSO) whose work helped to spur the emergence of César Chávez as a community organizer, civil rights leader, and labor rights leader between 1952 and 1962. The work carried out at the chapel ultimately helped shape modern American Latino identity.
As headquarters for Petrified Forest National Park in Apache County, Arizona, the Painted Desert Community Complex is the largest and the most fully articulated expression of the decade-long Mission 66 program which addressed postwar national park needs for up-to-date facilities and improved visitor experiences, while limiting impacts to natural resources. Designed by renowned architects Richard J. Neutra and Robert E. Alexander in the International Style, the complex contains the many park headquarter functions including a new property type—the visitor center.
W. A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop in Rices Landing, Pennsylvania, is an outstanding example of a small, family-owned, twentieth-century foundry and machine shop. “Job shops” like W. A. Young & Sons, which did custom jobs for a variety of clients, were an important component of the American industrial economy facilitated by the development of machine tools and line-shaft power systems in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. The property includes perhaps the finest collection of machine tools found in a small job shop.
The Davis-Ferris Organ, built for a New York City Episcopal church in 1846-1847, is an example of the technical and mechanical achievements in the pre-Civil War American organ-building industry. Forty years later, the organ was sold to the Round Lake Camp Meeting in Upstate New York to accompany the popular Methodist summer gatherings. It eventually anchored a transition to a Chautauqua-style institution of culture, education, and enlightenment. This organ is a record of American music-making covering both sacred and secular genres.
The Pauli Murray Family Home in Durham, North Carolina, is associated with ground-breaking civil rights activist, lawyer, educator, writer, and Episcopal priest Pauli Murray. She served as a bridge figure between social movements through her advocacy for both women’s and civil rights. Her efforts were critical to retaining “sex” in Title VII, a fundamental legal protection for women against employment discrimination. After decades of work for black civil rights, her vision for a civil rights association for women became the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Constructed in 1860 as the Allen’s Mill Bridge, Eldean Bridge in Miami County, Ohio, is an excellent example of nineteenth-century covered bridge construction and its span is a rare surviving Long truss, a highly significant nineteenth-century timber truss type. Eldean Bridge is the most structurally intact of less than a dozen surviving Long truss covered bridges in the United States.
Constructed in 1876 by J. J. Daniels, one of the nation’s most prolific covered bridge builders, West Union Bridge in Parke County, Indiana, is an outstanding, intact example of the Burr truss, a highly-significant American timber bridge type that was widely used for a century. West Union Bridge is one of the most visually impressive and structurally intact of approximately 180 surviving Burr truss covered bridges in the United States.
Built in the late 1920s, Omaha Union Station in Omaha Nebraska, is one of the most distinctive and complete examples of Art Deco architecture in the nation. The station outstandingly expresses the style’s innovative and diverse surface ornamentation inspired by the machine age. As one of the earliest Art Deco train stations designed by the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad, its ultra-modern appearance was a major departure from previous railroad station designs.
The George Read II House, built by a prominent Philadelphia family in New Castle, Delaware, is an exceptional example of Federal style architecture in the mid-Atlantic region. The house is especially valuable in understanding the evolution of American architecture during the early years of the nation. It is a rare survivor that exemplifies the city of Philadelphia where the Federal style was first manifested.
The Biesterfeldt Site in Ransom County, North Dakota, is an earth lodge village site culturally identifiable as having been occupied by the Cheyenne Indians ca. 1724-1780. As the only known representative of that relatively brief period in their history during which they pursued a horticultural way of life, the archeological site has the potential to yield critical information on the history of that tribe and various neighboring tribes. Biesterfeldt also has the potential to inform us about the development of Plains Indian culture during a period of intense and dramatic change.
Walrus Islands Archeological District near Togiak, Alaska, is one of the few remaining places with evidence of human occupation of the Bering Sea continental shelf when sea levels were substantially lower than at present. At least 6,000 years ago, the earliest inhabitants of Round Island, one of seven islands in the district, were marine-adapted and practiced more generalized settlement and subsistence patterns, including hunting walrus on the beaches, than previously recognized by Alaska researchers.
48GO305, commonly referenced in archeological literature as “Hell Gap Paleoindian Site,” located in Goshen County, Wyoming, contains evidence of repeated occupations by nine Paleoindian cultural complexes in well-stratified deposits. To date, no other excavated Paleoindian site in North America contains a record that includes all of the cultural complexes known on the Plains spanning from between 13,000 and 8,500 years ago. Since its discovery and initial investigation, 48GO305 has been associated with cutting edge research in the field of Paleoindian archeology.
The May 4, 1970, Kent State Shootings Site in Kent, Ohio, is where the Ohio National Guard shot and killed four Kent State University students and wounded nine during a protest on the campus. This event affected public opinion of the Vietnam War, increased the movement against the war, and engendered prompt changes in military policy for civil disturbances, especially for the National Guard. Later court trials resulted in a ruling by the Supreme Court that the executive branch of government does not enjoy absolute immunity for its actions, establishing a legal precedent.
Along with these new designations, Secretary Jewell announced updates to several previously recognized National Historic Landmarks. These updates include boundary changes, updated documentation, and/or name changes for: the Indiana War Memorials Historic District, Indianapolis, Indiana; the Old Salem Historic District in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia; the Hamilton Grange in New York City; Maison Olivier in St. Martinsville, Louisiana; and Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Historic District in Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland.