The journey to Ellis Island, the new York immigrationreception suggest from 1892, usually started with receipt the a pre-paid ticket froma family members member already cleared up in America. Those that could afford to buytheir fare us were little in number. Steerage fares in between 1880 and thestart of people War 1 held relatively steady at £4-£5 i beg your pardon was equal to half theannual income of a labourer.

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Ellis Island - the view from the water
Ellis Island - the view from the water

The trouble for numerous of those that wanted come emigrate wasthat lock couldn"t find any type of regular employed in the very first place. Withoutsteady income, conserving such a fare can be challenging if no impossible.The pre-paid ticket was, then, critical feature of the proceeding exodusfrom Ireland. Without it, much smaller numbers would have actually made the journey toEllis Island and also America.

There were, however, what us now contact "standby" tickets. They to be cheaperthan booked tickets and could it is in bought through those that were ready to wait.Such price variations were advertised with newspapers and a dense network ofshipping agencies.

"Through" ticket were likewise available. Because that example, the Lanagan family members ofAntrim got a pre-paid ticket to Rochester, Pennsylvania, in 1903. Boughtin the USA, it cost a complete of $75 10c because that Robert, his mam Margaret and also theirinfant son.

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The journey to Ellis Island: reaching the harbor of departure

With the cost of passage secured, the next stage in the trip to EllisIsland was acquiring to the harbor of departure. In the direction of the end of the 19thcentury, part 90% that all ireland emigrants made the sea cross in iron hulledsteam ships.

These were big, v a resources B, contrasted with the cruising ships that hadtransported earlier waves of emigrants, and they necessary deep water ports, somost the the "trade" in transatlantic crossings departed from Liverpool inEngland and also then made stops in Queenstown (Co Cork) or Londonderry.

Ireland"s railways, 1906. Click/tap image for broadened view.

For those with houses in the west/southwest or the north it was practically tostay at residence until the papers or the local shipping agent lugged news thatthe ship had been cleared for departure in Liverpool. They can then take it atrain to Queenstown or Londonderry and also save accommodation costs in port.

Liverpool, however, readily available passengers the greater selection of crossings andthe shortest fares, and also the course from Ireland come England to be well-established.

Ireland"s rail network in 1906. Tap photo for enlarged view.

For those with dwellings in the west/southwest or the phibìc it was convenient tostay at home until the newspapers or the neighborhood shipping agent carried news thatthe ship had been clearing for leave in Liverpool. They could then take it atrain come Queenstown or Londonderry and save accommodation costs in port.

Liverpool, however, available passengers the greater selection of crossings andthe shortest fares, and the course from Ireland to England was well-established.

Although over there were various other routes to Liverpool, the bulk of emigrantstravelled via Dublin"s Kingstown port (now renamed Dun Laoghaire). This porthad had actually its very own rail line to Dublin due to the fact that 1834 and had been associated to themain network because 1856. From here, mail, livestock and cargo ships readily available deck passage throughout theIrish Sea, a notoriously fickle stretch of water.

By 1896 the shortest sea crossing, come Holyhead ~ above Anglesey, took under 3hours, if the steamer to Liverpool took four. In foul weather, the journeycould be twice as long.

In 1911, some 80 ships overcome from Kingstown come Britain every week, most ofthem crammed v migrants. Some already had onward tickets; others planned tosave your fare while functioning in England. No passenger lists were made.

The trip to Ellis Island: via Liverpool

Very couple of who arrived in Liverpool can go straight to a waiting ship. Theywere usually told to come in the city two days before sailing. Typically,they had actually to uncover themselves a ar to stay, visit the emigration agents orship brokers agency, and also make certain all remained in order for your departure.

What documents survive in Liverpool?

What documents survive in Liverpool?

Were her ancestors in Liverpool top top a census night? English census returns make it through from 1841 and ten-yearly after. They can be searched ~ above a number of websites because that a fee, consisting of Ancestry and FindMyPast.

The national Archives in London holds passenger lists for Liverpool and other brother ports indigenous 1890 to 1960s (refs BT26, 27 and 32). The external list BT27 is digital at FindMyPast (see link above).

Liverpool"s marine Archive & Library holds a repertoire of emigrant diaries, letters, photographs and also passenger tickets, which deserve to be searched in person.

The boarding homes had a reputation for being pretty awful, and the hugebustling city held numerous dangers because that unwitting and also unworldly emigrants. Allsorts that scams abounded such together charging exhorbitant fees for storing luggage,or overcharging for accommodation. By the turn of the century, these troubles were fewer because the steamshipcompanies started to watch after their passengers and restricted their exposure tothese potential dangers. They to be met top top arrival and also taken to boarding housesand hostels that were one of two people affiliated or own by the steam boat lines.

Unfortunately there are no documents of which properties the shippingcompanies owned, nor space there records of who stayed where (except those whowere in port on census nights, of course.... See attach box below). Passports orother state documentation was not required for emigrants indigenous Britain andIreland in ~ this time.

Passengers and also their luggage were gathered from their accommodation top top theday of exit (or the night before, depending upon tides) and taken come thequay whereby they either boarded their ship or were carried by boat to their shipwaiting in the estuary.

Onboard: the class-conscious trip to Ellis Island

The household TreeIrish genealogy Guide


Written through the creator of Irish genealogy Toolkit and Irish genealogy News, "The family members Tree Irish family tree Guide" is complete of advice, tips and strategies to ease what have the right to be a daunting journey.

Its guidance will be useful to any researcher of irish heritage, yet especially because that the target Irish-American researcher who"s struggling to work earlier to Ireland from your immigrant ancestor.

Publisher Penguin random House.

ISBN: 9781440348808 / 240 pages. 

By theend the the 19th century, the greatest transatlantic liners made their journey toEllis Island through 1900 people onboard. About 500 would certainly be employees and about1100 would be steerage passengers. The rest were "cabin class" passengers.

Steeragehad historically been a dark, noisy, smelly, stuffy deck of big bunkdormitories. There was little or no privacy, and access to open deck waslimited. Indigenous 1895, "closed" berths began to show up in steerage, and offeredsome privacy. By the outbreak of WW1, 30-50% of ticket were for this "NewSteerage" arrangement.

Anotherbig change to requirements of passage had actually been the advent of 2nd classtickets. Known as 2nd Cabin passengers, immigrant were offered improved food(and four meals a day instead of 3 as in Steerage), boosted ventilationand an ext space. It was a much far better option, and also came to be recognised as goodvalue, especially by families and single women.

From 1880to 1897, 2nd class comprised just 5% the passengers. Indigenous 1898 come 1913 that made up11% the those do the journey to Ellis Island. Fares average £8 (against £5for Steerage), and also was the preferred selection of countless Irish-born american whohad made their very first crossing in Steerage; having delighted in some success in theUnited States, they were prepared to salary the extra as soon as returning permanentlyor temporary to/from Ireland.

For first-class passengers, the trip to EllisIsland to be an opulent and luxurious experience. Cool Saloons, flamboyantballrooms and top-quality dining were available to those who might afford the£25 fare. Many of the ship"s 500 employee were assigned to cater to the cares andwhims the this group.

The trip to Ellis Island: arrival in brand-new York

In thesailing pearls of the middle 19th century, the cross to America or Canadatook as much as 12 weeks. By the end of the century the journey to Ellis Island wasjust 7 come 10 days. By 1911 the shortest passage, made in summer, was down to 5days; the longest to be 9 days. With problems having enhanced (although theywere through no means extremely comfortable for those in steerage), thetransatlantic crossing was no longer seen as a one-time ordeal. So together theships entered brand-new York harbour, and also the Statue that Liberty came into view,passengers more than likely felt much less trepidation and much more simple excitement. Thejourney to Ellis Island still had actually a few hours to operation for most, however.

Thesteamship would certainly dock at either the Hudson or east River piers come disembark itsfirst and 2nd class passengers.

Thebetter-off just passed through custom-mades at the pier and were cost-free to go.

The great Hall of Ellis Island, where immigrants to be registered and also examined.
Ellis Island"s an excellent Hall, wherein immigrants to be registered/examined.

ForThird-class or Steerage passengers, the final part of your passage to be made byferry or barge to Ellis Island where, in the great Hall, they hadto undergo 3 to 5 hours that medical and also legal inspections. (Since bothinspections were relatively cursory, this period was mainly spent waiting to becalled forward.) The legalinspection connected checking the immigrant"s identity against the ship"smanifest which had been prepared by the shipping company before leave inIreland/England.

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They were then complimentary to enter the united States and to begintheir brand-new life.

Therecords the the 51million people who do the journey to Ellis Island native 1892to 1957 have survived and also are obtainable online and cost-free at

Mary"s journey

Mygrandfather"s eldest sister, Mary, who made the journey to Ellis Island inOctober 1901, was one of thousands who received a pre-paid ticket. Agedseventeen, she showed up in the 1901 irish census a couple of months previously with noform of occupation, in spite of her formal education having finished two yearspreviously.

She wasprobably more than aware that her possibility of finding work-related was minimal if sheremained in ~ home. My household lived in the southwest of Cork and also subsisted ~ above asmall job of garden. ~ above the 1901 and 1911 censuses she father describedhimself as an egg dealer which sound a many grander 보다 the reality. Lock hada few chickens and sold eggs from a dare at Rosscarberry market. That gotlabouring tasks as and also when he could.

Mary wasone that five kids still living at home, mine grandfather and also his brotherhaving secured junior but welcome employment v the post Office in London.Her huge brothers sent out money home however they were still little more than kidsthemselves and their salary would have not stretched to much. Mary"s prospectswere bleak, and there would absolutely not have actually been any spare cash for buying atransatlantic fare.

When herfather"s sisters Bridget Cotter sent notice of a pre-paid passage, mar musthave experienced blended feelings. Right here was her opportunity for adventure andopportunity. The price, because that her, was leaving behind her family and also all the wasfamiliar.

Shedidn"t know it when she stated goodbye to her family members at Clonakilty rail stationin October 1901, however she would never ever again check out her parents, her little sistersor her homeland. She died in she 60s.