Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Ellis Island Discovery
Gary's grandfather, William Kankaala, immigrated to America from Finland via Ellis Island and worked as a carpenter all his life. We've kept this string line he made as a family memento. Although this is a plain piece of wood roughly made it has lasted at least two lifetimes serving it's purpose well. I like to feel the cotton string. It is twisted very tight and must be made of a high quality cotton to have lasted this long.
While I was looking at the Ellis Island site I discovered there is a search anyone can do for relatives who may have traveled to America via Ellis Island. If you locate your relative, you can bring up the actual ship manifest, a photo of the ship, and the passenger record. I became totally engrossed with searching for Gary's grandparents through the site. I quickly found a record of his paternal grandparents arrival and then found a record of his maternal grandparents.
Now I want to check with my mom to see if I can find out some information about my own maternal grandparents. Even if you don't have a relative who traveled to America via Ellis Island, this site is worth perusing just to see the ship's manifest and photos of the ships. There is even a search you can do for famous people who immigrated to America. You can also order a copy of the passenger record, the ship's manifest and a photo of the ship. I am having so much fun researching this site.
There's a lot of history to be discovered with a bit of research. Be sure to look at the Ellis Island site and read about the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Little did I know a simple carpenter's string line would lead me to discover so much about family history.