Statue of Liberty
Visit the Passenger Search

Family History Center

Find Your Story

The American Family Immigration History Center database is home to a vast archive of the immigrant experience.

Comprising approximately 65 million searchable records, this awe-inspiring resource 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 catalog of family stories.

The database is accessible in two places: within the Family History Center at Ellis Island and for free online via the Foundation’s website. Visitors can start their explorations in one place, continue in another, and share their progress with family and friends.

To make the most of your visit to the Family History Center, download this Research Prep Sheet and gather what you know about your ancestors. Once at Ellis Island, a host of research stations are accessible at the Family History Center for a nominal fee that directly supports History Center operations and the necessary care of its records. Research assistants are available to answer questions and assist with your search. Records, as always, remain free to search online.

From May 25 until September 2, 2024, the Family History Center will be open daily from 9:45 am to 6:00 pm. Sessions must begin no later than 5:30 pm. Individual sessions are 30 minutes.

Need help getting started? Members at the VOYAGE level and above receive one Immigration Records Search session. You will be teamed with one of our research experts to begin your genealogical journey with a virtual/remote research session. Visit our Membership page for details.

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. The History Center’s current hours: open daily 9:45am to 4:00pm (last session must begin by 3:30).

AFIHC, Ellis
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.