The American Family Immigration History Center

The American Family Immigration History Center

Located in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and on the World Wide Web, the American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC) allows visitors to explore the extraordinary collection of immigrant arrival records stored in the Ellis Island Archives.

Searching our archives can help inform your own family’s story–inspiring a new sense of your place in the larger story of American immigration.

The Ellis Island Archives

More than 22 million passengers and members of ships’ crews entered the United States through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. Information about each person was written down in ships’ passenger lists, known as “manifests.” Manifests were used to examine immigrants upon arrival in the United States.

Now you can search these millions of records for information on individual Ellis Island passengers. To prepare for your search, gather as much information as you can, such as: the passenger’s first and last names; approximate year of arrival; “ethnicity” (which may include race, nationality, and religion); approximate age on arrival; ship of travel; port of departure; and whether the passenger traveled with other family members.

The Passenger Record Archive

In the Passenger Record Archive, you’ll find:

  • passenger records, giving passenger name, date of arrival, ship of travel, age on arrival, and more
  • original manifests, showing passenger names and other information
  • ship information, often with a picture, giving the history and background of each ship that brought the immigrants

You can keep copies of the passenger records, manifests, and ship images in Your Ellis Island File–which you can open on Ellis Island or here on this Website. And you can purchase copies of these documents at our online Gift Shop or at the Interpretive Shop on Ellis Island.

The Community Archive

Our Community Archive is a growing collection of annotations to the passenger records. Sustaining Members of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) create the annotations, which give new information on a passenger’s background and life in the United States. Nonmembers and members alike can view the annotations.