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Ellis Island, Without Tears
12/1/2002
Still can't find your Ellis Island ancestors, even with the new online passenger lists database? Try these tips for unlocking the "golden door" to the immigration records you're after.

Some 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, but those "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" are far outnumbered by their millions of descendants logging on to the Ellis Island Web site to look for them. Since the site <www.ellisisland.org> launched in April 2001, it's recorded more than 2.5 billion hits, and 60,000 users visit every day.

For some researchers, finding their immigrant ancestors in Ellis Island's massive database of passenger arrival lists proves to be a snap. But for others, Ellis Island's sobriquet of "Island of Hope, Island of Tears" takes on new meaning. You know your ancestors are in that giant computer file somewhere — but where? And why can't you find them? Or you do find them — you think — but the records don't show what you thought they would. You're tired, you're poor, and you're yearning for some answers.

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