Many of us have ancestors who made their way from foreign lands to a small island at the mouth of the Hudson River. Once known as Little Oyster Island, Ellis Island acquired it's present name from a colonial New Yorker named Samuel Ellis. The immigration station opened in 1892 where 12 million immigrants were processed before it wound down in 1924 and finally closed in November of 1954. For every thousand weary faces that passed through there were a thousand different stories of hope, promise and anticipation.
An excellent new book on the topic is American Passage: The History of Ellis Island by Vincent J. Cannato. Learn more about this place and the people who came together to form this unique blend of customs and cultures we call America.