Statue of Liberty
Visit the Passenger Search

Family History Center

Find Your Story

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. And with a donation of $30, the Foundation’s team will conduct research on your behalf. Records, as always, remain free to search online.

For research tips, check out our Genealogy Primer, downloadable tip sheet, and how-to videos.

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 Wednesday 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.

WHAT YOU'LL FIND
Ship Manifests

The Voyage

A digitized microfiche image of the actual historic document, manifests typically contain the immigrant’s original name, age upon arrival, occupation, last place of residence, and information about who the passenger is joining.

Passenger Records

The People

You can often find digitized copies of your passenger’s name, date of arrival, ship of travel, and age on arrival.

To learn more about Ship Manifests, explore our Educational Resources.

Ship Information

The Vessel

Images of some ships are available for viewing and purchase and can expand the knowledge gained through your family history research.

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.

Our mission

Keeping the Gates Open

Help families and communities discover their connection to history. Support our work and together we'll bring the next generation of voyages to Ellis Island.