The American Family Immigration History Center is home to a vast archive of the immigrant experience. Comprising approximately 65 million searchable records, this awe-inspiring database gives modern Americans the opportunity to examine immigration documents, find connections to their ancestry and heritage, and offer their own contributions to an ever-growing catalogue of family stories.
The database is accessible in two places: within the Family History Center at Ellis Island and via the Foundation’s website. All activities on the island are mirrored on the web so visitors can start their explorations in one place, continue in another, and share their progress with family and friends.
At the Family History Center, research assistants are available to answer questions and aid you for a nominal fee, which directly supports the operations of the Family History Center and the necessary care of its records. Records, as always, remain free to search online.
Need help getting started? Check out our Dedicated Passenger Search service. Through April 30, 2021, for a $50 donation, the Foundation’s research experts will conduct a search on your behalf. Beginning May 1, 2021, this becomes an exclusive benefit for VOYAGE Members and above.
The Family History Center is located on the first floor of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Currently, the History Center’s hours of operation are Thursday through Monday, 9:30am to 3:00pm.
In response to COVID-19, the American Family Immigration History Center is taking steps to protect guests and staff: Plexiglass shields at check-in and document pickup desks; extensive signage promoting social distancing; hand sanitizer located throughout the center; credit/debit card-only transactions (no exchange of cash); disinfectant cleaning of terminals after every 30 minute research session; requiring masks.
About the Museum
The National Immigration Museum gives the 3 million annual visitors to Ellis Island the opportunity to learn about the history and legacy of American immigration.
The Wall of Honor
Honor your family and heritage at this unique monument to immigration, joining the Museum and more than 750,000 individuals and families in celebrating who we are and where we came from.
Stories From Ellis
Millions voyaged across the sea, arriving at Ellis Island, America’s first federal immigration station, on their way to a new life. Learn about their experiences through a series of videos produced by the American Family Immigration History Center team.