May 16, 2007 (Ellis Island, NY and Provo, UT) – - The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., World Vital Records, Inc. and FamilySearch announced today at the National Genealogical Society Conference a partnership whereby the historic collection of Ellis Island passenger arrival records will now also be freely available to visitors of the www.worldvitalrecords.com and www.familylink.com websites.
“This is an exciting time in the long history of American immigration,” noted Stephen A. Briganti, President and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “Last month we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the busiest day at Ellis Island by hosting our annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards. Today, we’re pleased to announce the expanded availability of passenger arrival records which the Foundation has continued to provide at Ellis Island and as a free service online since first introducing the database in April 2001.” The records document the arrival of 25 million immigrants, U.S. citizens, and crew members arriving through the Port of New York from 1892 to 1924.
According to Briganti, the initial project was made possible through corporate and private donations, most notably by FamilySearch, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More than 12,000 FamilySearch volunteers donated 5.6 million hours over a 7-year period to transcribe nearly 25 million passenger records.
Wayne Metcalfe, Vice President of Records Services for FamilySearch commented, “We were pleased to provide assistance to the Foundation for the opening of their family history center in 2001 and are equally excited to see the expanded availability of these important records via the Internet. We were equally pleased to work in conjunction with World Vital Records in our new Records Access program. World Vital Records is part of a growing group of new breed online genealogical service providers who are seeking to promote the needs of records custodians and foundations like Ellis Island around the world.”
Since the records first became available online at www.ellisisland.org in 2001, the website has received 10 billion hits and has united countless families with their ancestral heritage. Current and upcoming FamilySearch indexing projects can be found at www.FamilySearchIndexing.org.
“This is certainly one of the single most important record collections available anywhere in the world,” stated Paul Allen, CEO of World Vital Records, Inc. “Nearly half of all American families have a direct personal connection to at least one individual who entered the U.S. through the Port of New York and Ellis Island, whose arrivals are documented on these passenger manifests.”
Through this alliance, the index to these historic records will be integrated into the overall search capabilities of the worldvitalrecords.com website. Individuals seeking additional details on the digitized manifests will be linked directly to www.ellisisland.org where copies of manifests, ship images, and commemorative passenger records can be obtained.