More than 1,700 first-hand audio recordings now available for free online
PROVO, Utah, September 1, 2010—Ancestry.com announced today it has launched a collection of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories from immigrants who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. This is the first time this collection of poignant recordings has been available online. To celebrate the new addition, Ancestry.com is making its entire U.S. Immigration Collection free through Labor Day.
“As immigrants created new lives in the U.S., the stories of their homelands and their remarkable journeys to America were often lost,” said Christopher Tracy, senior vice president of global content for Ancestry.com. “We are thrilled to offer people the opportunity to hear the voices of their ancestors sharing stories of their lives.”
Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants between 1892 and 1954. The oral histories were captured by the National Park Service starting in the 1970s, and contain uniquely inspiring first-hand accounts recalling the lives these immigrants left behind, their reasons for leaving and their incredible and often-trying journeys to America. These recordings are housed at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and until now could be heard only by visitors to the Island itself. In addition to oral histories from immigrants, the collection also includes recordings from military personnel who were stationed on Ellis Island and former Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty workers.
“To our family it is important that we in the U.S. know the origin of the people who came to this country, settled here and made it what it is today. It makes us very proud to know that our mother was part of this,” said Yvonne Rumac, daughter of oral history participant Estelle Belford, who immigrated to the United States from Romania via Ellis Island in 1905.
Other Records Added to the Ancestry.com U.S. Immigration Collection:
The Ellis Island Oral Histories are the latest addition to Ancestry.com, which boasts the world’s largest online collection of U.S. immigration records. Comprised of more than 170 million records, the Ancestry.com U.S. Immigration Collection includes lists of passengers who immigrated by ship to America between 1820 and 1960, including those who came through Ellis Island; more than 7 million citizenship and naturalization records; border crossings, passport applications and more to help reconstruct our ancestors’ journeys and early lives in America.
Ancestry.com has also added nearly 2 million new U.S. naturalization record indexes, thanks to the many individuals who are part of the Ancestry.com World Archives Project –a community effort aimed at transcribing historical records. The indexes span 11 states (AK, CA, CT, HI, LA, ME, MT, NY, PA, TN, WA) and will provide Americans greater opportunity to learn more about their ancestors’ citizenship experience.
In addition, Ancestry.com has added nearly 2 million records documenting crew members on ships who arrived in the port of Boston. The records were added to an existing collection of over 3.8 million records from Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943.
To honor our nation’s immigrant heritage, Ancestry.com has opened up its entire U.S. Immigration Collection so that it can be searched free through Labor Day. The Ellis Island Oral History Collection will remain permanently free on Ancestry.com.
To begin exploring your family’s journey to America, go here: