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Published: August 2nd 2012
On Thursday the 26th of July my sister Lori came down to New York to join us for the day. The plan was for the three of us to go out to see the Statue of Liberty and then on to Ellis Island. Sally and Lori were going purse shopping later in the day before we returned to Grand Central Station for our return trip to Connecticut. The Statue of Liberty and the museum are currently closed for renovation so we didn't get off the boat on Liberty Island. Instead we were able to get a few pictures of the Statue of Liberty before proceeding on to Ellis Island. I was especially interested in Ellis Island because that's where my fathers parents came thru when they came to the United States. Both of my paternal grandparents were from Italy. My grandfather came over from Naples Italy and my grandmother was from Calabria Italy. I can only imagine how scary it had to have been for them not being able to speak the language and being herded thru Ellis Island before being allowed to enter the United States. From 1892 to 1954, over twelve million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis
Island, which is a small island in New York Harbor. First and Second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. These passengers underwent their inspections aboard ship. It was believed that if a person could afford to purchase a first or second class ticket, they were less likely to become a burden on the American public as a result of medical or legal reasons. The federal government felt that these passengers would not end up in institutions, hospitals or become a burden to the state. However, first and second class passengers who were sick or who were found to have legal problems were sent to Ellis Island for further inspection. For third class or 'steerage' passengers the story was completely different. While first and second class passengers would disembark, pass through customs at the piers and were free to enter the United States, third class passengers were transported from the pier by ferry or barge to Ellis Island where everyone would undergo a medical and legal inspection. If an immigrant's papers were in order and the person was in good health the inspection process took no more than
three to five hours. If an immigrant appeared to be ill or if it was found that there were legal issues the process could take much much longer to complete and there was a possibility that the immigrant could be deported back to their home country. Lori and I spent some time, while at Ellis Island, attempting to find records of our Grandparents entering the United Statues. We found what we believe was the manifest for our grandfather. We found a record for a Vinchenzo Derico who entered the country in 1905. The records showed that he was in his early 20's at the time of entry and that he had left from Naples Italy. The original manifest was difficult for us to read. The tour was extremely interesting and I can only imagine how my granparents must have felt going thru the emmigation process at Ellist Island. I'm sure it had to be exciting starting a new life in a new country but also a little scary.
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