In this free video, discover how to search for ancestors who may be included on the Ellis Island Immigrant Wall of Honor, and learn how you can honor ancestors’ by adding them to the list.
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Show Notes: Ellis Island Wall of Honor
Millions of our ancestors came through Ellis Island in New York. Mine certainly did. So it’s a great place for genealogists to explore and learn new things about their family history. Well, there have been some changes and things happening over at the Ellis Island Foundation. And here to tell us more about it is Suzanne Mannion. She’s the Director of Public Affairs have the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation.
The American Immigrant Wall of Honor-Courtesy of Paul Seibert Photography
About the Ellis Island Wall of Honor
From Suzanne: The American immigrant Wall of Honor was introduced in 1990, when the Ellis Island Museum opened, originally, it was after the foundation had restored Liberty Ellis Island. It was a way to support the foundation. But more importantly, it was a way to celebrate people’s individual family immigrant experience.
Primarily it was Ellis Island immigrants and or their descendants whose names are on the on the wall for the start. Then over the years, it expanded. It’s now open to everyone, regardless of your immigration story or timeline.
It’s really been so well received. There are more than 800,000 names on the original wall of honor. So, that actually filled up and we had to turn people away and say, sorry, we’re filled up. Then through our partnership with the National Park Service, we were able to expand the Wall of Honor, which we just announced earlier this year.
The first round of names on the expanded wall are being submitted right now, and through the end of this year (2023). Those names will be unveiled in the summer of 2024. We were so excited that the Park Service gave us this opportunity, because people were disappointed thinking they had missed their chance to include their ancestors. So many people want to celebrate whether it’s themselves, their parents, or a loved one. They want to celebrate the immigrant experience, because that’s what Ellis Island is all about whether your family came here like mine in the in the mid-1800s or last year. It’s all about the celebration.
Names Expanded to All Immigrants
From Lisa: You might be really surprised to realize that many of the names that are on the wall are not people who came through Ellis Island. Normally at an historic site you would expect to see plaques and signage only referring to those involved with that site. So, I’m interested, when did that decision get made? When did it change from a wall of honor Ellis Island to including everybody?
From Suzanne: It was probably in the early 2000s. So, as you know, the Ellis Island database was launched in April of 2001.
Passenger Database Search
And so, with that people were celebrating the Ellis experience. Whether or not it’s true, I say oh, we should take some credit for helping genealogy become such a popular pastime! So, with that people came in, and even those visiting who didn’t have roots through Ellis Island, they felt the connection to America’s immigration story. So, people started asking if they could add their names to it. And it made complete sense.
Our goal is to continue expanding our database, so it has more ports of entry. And with that, we’re at the National Museum of Immigration.
So, we thought, let’s tell the whole story. So yeah, it’s been, I would say, well over a decade that the immigrant didn’t have to have come through Ellis Island to be included. I’m loving seeing and hearing other people’s stories and these different countries because it was very much a European thing like that. And now, they’re from all over the world.
Searching the Wall of Honor Database
From Lisa: You mentioned that there is a database. Before we try to submit a name, we’d like to check and see if the name is already there. Where can they search this database on the website, and would include any more information on that particular database besides just the fact that the names on the wall?
From Suzanne: Yeah, there’s two different databases. There’s the Ellis Island database through which one can trace family or anyone who came to the port of New York Between 1820 and 1957.
Ellis Island Passenger Database Search
And then the Wall of Honor database
Ellis Island Wall Of Honor and Database Search
In there you can see the name of the person who’s on the wall, and the person who submitted the name. So, some people do it for themselves. But it could be from Suzanne, “in honor of her great, great, Grandfather Michael Mannion.”
How to Add a Name to the Wall of Honor
From Lisa: What’s the process for adding our ancestor’s name? You mentioned that there might be a deadline. We’re recording here in 2023. Can they continue to add names into the new year?
From Suzanne: The opportunity is continuous. But what we do is we only put up a new panel once a year. So, from January 1 to December 31, people submit their names. Then at the beginning of the following calendar year, we create a new panel, and then we unveil it in early summer.
Add a Name to the Wall of Honor
So, if you want to make it onto that first panel of the wall expansion, then please submit the name or names by the by the 31st of December, 2023. But you can certainly participate after that.
Foundation Fundraiser and Cost
From Lisa: I believe this is a fundraiser for foundation correct?
From Suzanne: It is such a great way to show support for the foundation and the work that we do in restoring and preserving the two monuments. The cost starts at $275 for a one-line inscription.
Add a Name to the Wall of Honor
The website explains the process and the pricing. There are higher levels such as Steward levels, if you want more lines. That provides additional support for the foundation. Also, if you join, become a member at a certain level, that includes a wall of honor inscription. So, there are many ways to support the work that we do.
The History of the Foundation
We’ve been around since 1982. President Reagan asked Lee Iacocca to head up the effort to not only raise money, but to oversee the restoration of the statue and of Ellis Island for their Centennials. We’ve continued to work closely with our partners at the National Park Service.
In 2019 we opened the Statue of Liberty museum on Liberty Island.
Statue of Liberty Museum
It’s a small museum but with a big, big impact. There are beautiful visuals, and her original torch lives right there.
We don’t take government money to do any of the projects at the islands. It’s all through donations and has been since our inception. And we’re very proud of that.
From Lisa: I remember back in high school when Lee Iacocca was taking this on, and my grandmother was so excited because her parents had come through Ellis Island. It was in really tough shape back then. What stands there today is just amazing. It’s a wonderful experience. I encourage everybody watching to at some point make the visit because it really is heart touching.
EarthCam at Ellis Island
From Suzanne: Yes, and check out our website. We have some amazing views ! We are partnering with a company called EarthCam. You can see different views from the statue, and learn more
State of Liberty EarthCam
How Donated Money is Used
From Lisa: In the spirit of good stewardship, how is the money used? Does it only support the creation of the Ellis Island Wall of Honor? Or are there specific projects that you’ve had in mind this year that this money goes directly to that we can maybe look forward to in the future?
From Suzanne: Yeah, I can’t say right now. But I would love to come back in a few months to talk about a project we’re planning over on Ellis Island.
The donations that come via the Wall of Honor support the foundation’s mission in general, to restore and preserve the two monuments. And that includes maintaining the wall of honor.
Another thing that may inspire people to add the name this year is because costs are going up to not only create this new expansion and to maintain the wall, there will be a $25 increase in inscription starting January 1, 2024.
From Lisa: Suzanne, it’s always great to talk to you. Thank you so much for sharing this news. And I look forward to new and more news next year.
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Genealogical records come in all shapes and sizes and this week’s records round up even includes round records! Keep reading because you never know what you’ll find.
Photographs at Indiana Album
I love this website simply for the tag line Historic Photographs from the attic to the Web! We all have a bit of other families’ genealogy in our attics, closets and scrapbooks, and Indiana Album is a nonprofit organization that want to make it accessible. They encourage Hoosiers (and of course descendants of Hoosiers) to loan them their photos and documents. The group then digitizes, catalogs and shares them in a database on their website. Head here to search for the names, places and other keywords relating to your family. I’m finding gems like the one below.
Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project
Here’s a free online collection that is adding tons of new melodic content!
I’m amazed how often I run across music references in my genealogical research, particularly when reviewing the diaries, letters and other records of my late 19th century and early 20th century relatives.
When I was in my twenties I wrote my Grandfather often and asked him questions like “Do you remember any favorite songs from when you were a young man?” His answer included:
As you can see from the linked titles above (click them to listen for yourself), I found every single one of them at the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project. This is a phenomenal free online collection of digitized recordings made accessible to everyone.
The good news is that the project, which currently boasts over 200,000 recordings, just received funding to preserve another 250,000 sides of 78 rpm records. That means they need records. So, check your basement, closets and attic and consider donating your 78s to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project for digitization and physical preservation. You can donate your 78rpm Records to the Internet Archive’s Great 78 Project here.
No Wonder (That I Love You) Gene Austin, 1925
UK & Iceland Records at Findmypast
There are over 6.4 million new records and newspaper articles available to search and explore this Findmypast Friday including over 264,000 new and exclusive parish records that have been digitised and made available online for the first time in association with the Lancashire Archives.
Over 31,000 additional records are now available to search amongst out collection of Lancashire Baptisms. The new additions cover the parishes of:
- Edge Hill, St Nathaniel -1869 to 1918
- Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
- Liverpool, St Silas, Pembroke Place – 1841 to 1918
- Liverpool, St Stephen the Martyr – 1851 to 1918
- Newburgh, Christ Church – 1860 to 1917
- Seaforth, St Thomas – 1839 to 1918
- Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1918
- Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1882 to 1918
These records include both transcripts and images of the original documents. Each result will reveal when and where your ancestor’s baptism took place, the names of their parent’s and father’s occupation.
Lancashire Marriages & Banns
A further 179,000 records have also been added to our collection of Lancashire Banns & Marriages. These new marriage registers add coverage for a selection of new Liverpool parishes, including:
- Edge Hill, St Nathaniel – 1871 to 1943
- Everton, Emmanuel – 1835 to 1943
- Liverpool, St John – 1785 to 1898
- Liverpool, St Stephenn the Martyr – 1852 to 1943
- Seaforth, St Thomas – 1870 to 1943
- Stoneycroft, St Paul – 1916 to 1943
- Toxteth Park, St Bede – 1887 to 1943
Learn when, where and to whom your ancestor was married, as well as the happy couple’s ages, occupations, marital status, residences, parent’s names and father’s occupation.
Over 54,000 new records from the central Liverpool Parish of St John. These new records span the years 1767 to 1883 and will allow you to discover when your Liverpool ancestors were laid to rest.
The transcripts and images within this collection will enable you to discover when your ancestor died, their occupation, the date and location of their burial, as well as their age at death.
United States Obituary Notices
A whopping 5.7 million new records are now available to search within our collection of United States Obituary Notices.
These records, obtained from the tributes.com and currentobituary.com websites will enable you to discover your ancestor’s name, birth and death years as well as the original obituary text. Additional information such as images and details about the records can be found on the source’s website.
Scotland, Darien Scheme Investors 1696
Explore the records of investors in The Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies, also called the Scottish Darien Company. It was funded by investments from people across Scotland. These transcripts will provide you with information on those who invested money and their representatives.
The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to establish a colony called “Caledonia” in Panama in the late 1690s. Opposed by commercial interests from England, the company of Scotland raised subscriptions for the scheme in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and London. English investors soon raised their share but withdrew their money after King William and the English Parliament turned against the venture. However, by August 1696 the Scottish investors raised £400,000 themselves.
As the scheme was backed by approximately 20% of all the money circulating in the country at the time, its failure left the entire Lowlands in substantial financial ruin and was an important factor in weakening Scottish resistance to the Act of Union. In July 1699, the colony was abandoned due to inadequate provisions, the unfamiliar hot and humid climate had caused fever to spread, and many settlers died. Of the 1,200 settlers, only 300 survived.
International Records Update – Iceland
To mark Icelandic National Day this week, we have made over 287,000 baptism and marriage records from the land of fire and ice available to search on Findmypast.
These two new indexes span the years 1730 to 1920 and will generate hints against your Findmypast Family tree.
British & Irish Newspaper Update
A bumper crop of new and updated titles have been added to the collection this week, with 163,404 new pages added. We have seven brand new titles added this week, covering both England and Scotland. We have three new London publications joining us – the Harrow Midweek, the Middlesex Gazette and the Middlesex Independent – as well as one Scottish title (the Northern Ensign & Weekly Gazette) and one new Essex title (the Essex Guardian). We are also delighted to welcome two specialist sporting titles – namely, the Volunteer Record & Shooting News, which ‘warmly supports the interests of the shooting man,’ and the Fishing Gazette, a publication which covers all types of fishing across the world.
Further to these new arrivals, we have also updated sixteen of our existing titles. Updates this week cover the length and the breadth of the United Kingdom and Ireland, with updates incorporating publications from Aberdeen to Jersey, from Kingston to County Down, from Bristol to Kensington, from Crawley to Strabane.
Navy Officer Letters at Fold3
Fold3 just announced “We have added a new collection of naval records to our archives! The Navy Officers’ Letters 1802-1884 is a collection of letters to the Secretary of the Navy from officers assigned to naval ships, stations, and Navy bureaus.
The letters contain routine personnel matters such as duty assignments, leave or furloughs, desertions, resignations, court-martials, and other administrative issues. The collection is organized by year and then alphabetically by sender. The letters offer a glimpse into military history and provide valuable genealogical records for ancestors that served in the Navy.”
British Newspaper Archive
This week the British Newspaper Archive added 137,896 new pages spanning 128 years from 1871 to 1999 to eighteen of their existing collections. These include extensive updates to the Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle, which cover the years 1873 to 1969 and includes nearly 35,000 pages.
Also updated: Six of their London titles, including the Acton Gazette, as well as three Scottish titles, with pages added to the Hamilton Advertiser, the Dumfries and Galloway Standard and the Aberdeen Press and Journal. We have added pages to publications covering Newcastle and Middlesbrough, as well as new pages to The People.
A subscription is required. Clicking on the titles above allows you to see examples and review the scope of the collection.
Full Disclosure: We appreciate when you use our links because if and when you subscribe we are compensated, which helps support this free blog and the free Genealogy Gems Podcast.
We are bringing you Irish historical photographs from Dublin this month in celebration of Irish heritage. Search these amazing photos of your ancestral homeland. Also this week, directories from Scotland, church records of the United Kingdom, and censuses for Canada and New York State.
Ireland – Dublin – Irish Historical Photographs
The Dublin [Ireland] City Council has launched an online archive of over 43,000 Irish historical photographs and documents to their website. These amazing photographs can be searched by archive, date, or location for free. They show images of events like the Eucharistic Congress
and the North Strand Bombing
. There are also images of football games, bus strikes, and old Dublin streets.
These Irish historical photographs includes pictures of old documents and objects, too, with the oldest document dated to 1757!
Take a look at the entire archive, here.
More on Beginning Irish Genealogy
You’ll love these two quick-guides by Donna Moughty on Irish genealogy. Guide #1 titled Preparing for Success in Irish Records Research will help you determine a birth place, differentiate between persons with the same name, and walk you through identifying helpful US records.
Guide #2 titled Irish Civil Registration and Church Records, will guide you through locating Protestant church records, civil registrations, and more. It will also walk you step-by-step through using the new online Civil Registration records.
And now, purchase these quick-guides as a bundle
Scotland – Post Office Directories
Scotland Post Office Directories contains over 382,000 records and allows you to explore thousands of pages of directories to learn more about the life and work of your Scottish ancestors. This Findmypast collection focuses on a particular town or district although a number of national postal directories are also included. The majority comprise a description of the place along with lists of people by occupation. For example, you will find lists of magistrates, councilors, sheriffs, police officers, and merchants.
The records are do not contain transcripts, but do include a digital image. The detail you will find on each page will depend on the type and date of the directory.
In conjunction with these post office directories, there are some that are browse-image only. They have not been indexed at this time. These 598 volumes of the Scotland Post Office Directories Image Browse are an excellent source for family history and those who need to trace their ancestors on a yearly basis.
Canada – 1842 Census
The Lower Canada Census 1842 at Findmypast contains over 46,000 records. The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence between 1791 and 1841. It covered the southern portion of the modern-day Province of Quebec and the Labrador region of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Each search result will include an image of the original document and a transcript. The original returns were printed in French and English and transcripts may include occupation, language, residence, and the number of inhabitants at their dwelling. Images can provide detailed information about the local area such as number of inhabited and uninhabited buildings, the number of barley mills, tanneries, distilleries, the price of wheat since last harvest, and the price of agricultural labor per day.
United Kingdom – London – Russian Orthodox Church Records
Findmypast has added records to their collection titled Britain, Russian Orthodox Church in London. Over 13,000 records taken from volumes of birth, marriage, and death records from the Russian Orthodox Church in London in exist is this collection. The records further include correspondences, congregational records, and church documents. The majority of the volumes are written in Russian although a limited number of English-language records are available.
The Russian Orthodox Church records are available as a browse set only at this time. You will need to search the records by the document description such as Births, marriages, deaths, converts, and passports, 1888-1919 or Donations to St Petersburg Guardianship for Poor Clergymen, 1863. Then, search within the digitized volume to find your ancestor.
You will find numerous correspondences with other church leaders in London, America, Russia, and Japan, as well as documents related to religious doctrine. The facts found in each volume will depend on the type of record you are viewing. Birth, marriage, and death records will typically include the individual’s name, event date, and place, while birth and marriage records may also include the names of the individual’s parents.
United Kingdom – War Records
New records have been added to the Findmypast collection of Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902. This unique database of more than 470 sources may reveal the unit your ancestor served with and any medals, honors, or awards they won. The register also contains a completely revised casualty list of 59,000 casualty records.
Each record contains a transcript and may include the following information:
- Service number and rank,
- Unit & regiment
- Medals, honors or awards received
- Memorials relating to death if applicable
United Kingdom – England – Births and Christenings
By Anton Laupheimer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Though this collection from FamilySearch has been available for awhile, they have recently added more records. The England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975
now totals over 68 million records. There are some important tips and known problems with this database. Before searching, be sure to read the details at the FamilySearch Wiki, here
. As an example: In birth or christening records, if a surname is not listed for the child, the indexer often assigns the father’s surname to the child. This surname may not be correct. So if you are looking for a birth or christening, search by the given name of the child, adding parents’ names and as much locality information as is permitted.
United States – New York – State Census
FamilySearch has added to the New York State Census of 1865 this week. State censuses are particularly helpful to researchers because they fill in the gap between federal censuses. Unfortunately, the following counties are missing:
- New York
- St Lawrence
The population schedule includes the name, age, birthplace, and occupation of each household member as most censuses do.
However, this census also includes two military schedules with information of officers and enlisted men currently in the military and men who had served in the military. This census contains information on when and where the individual first entered the military, rank, how long they were in the service, their present health, as well as several other items.
Additionally, the census contains tables on marriages and deaths occurring during the year ending June 1, 1865. These tables contain typical marriage and death information, but can be a helpful resource for those who have been unable to find these records in traditional locations.
Lastly, a second table entitled deaths of officers and enlisted men contains deaths of individuals which had occurred while in the military or naval service of the United States, or from wounds or disease acquired in said service since April, 1861, reported by the families to which the deceased belonged when at home. It includes the name of the deceased, age at death, if married or single, if a citizen, several items relating to military information, date of death, place of death, manner of death, survivors of the deceased, place of burial and any remarks.