Local History and Genealogy Blog
Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892. In honor of that occasion here is a blog we posted in 2013 about the history of the island and tips for researching an ancestor's immigration story. Happy New Year, Everyone!
We all learned as school children how our immigrant ancestors came to America through Ellis Island. The real story about where and when immigrants entered the United States is much more complicated than the story we grew up with. Ellis Island was a New York gateway for the arrival of U.S. immigrants from roughly 1892 to 1924. Although it was by far the largest port of entry and millions arrived during that time, it was one of many ways to enter the United States.
One of my ongoing projects is to process the records of The Urbana Free Library. Since we were founded in 1874 there are a lot of papers to sort through. Today I came across a folder titled ‘Reference Tallys’ [sic]. Inside is a sheaf of handwritten pages divided into 4 columns: reference question, source, answered (yes or no), and the answering librarian’s initials. Although, only the month and day are listed I am estimating from the questions and location within the collection that these queries date from the 1970s.
Take a look. [Click on image for a larger picture.] Do you think you could find the answers to the following?
The wonderful thing about the Champaign County Historical Archives is that no matter how many years I have worked and researched I'm always discovering something new in the collection. My latest find is "Unlocking the Files of the FBI: A Guide to Its Records and Classification System". The book explains how the FBI catalogs its records and the various resources available to the public.