Island Passenger Manifest database, located at http://www.ellisislandrecords.org/
is a great resource to genealogists. It contains information
on over 22 million immigrants that came through Ellis Island
between the years 1892 and 1924. While there are millions of
users accessing the site from around the world, the majority
are from the U.S. Therefore, the best time to access the site
is 1AM - 6AM Eastern Time.
there are serious problems in trying to search the database.
These problems have to do with the inconsistent spelling of
surnames. Many passenger ship manifests are hand written, and
can be hard to read. Add to this the fact that ethic names may
not translate into English, and you get a great database where
it can be next to impossible to find your ancestors.
The Ellis Island Foundation sells copies of original ship manifests
at three times the cost that the National Archives and Records
Administration - a U.S. government agency. If you obtain the
data such as the person's name, date of arrival, ship, and line
number, you can order these EXACT same records at a reduced
rate directly from the National Archives and Records Administration!
information is here.
They have forms they will mail you for
free; request some forms from the Reference Services Branch
(NNRS), National Archives, Washington, DC 20408. After you fill
them out (they are not very difficult), they will send you a
letter if they found the manifest. If they did, they will then
request you mail back a confirmation and $10.00 USD and in a
couple weeks you will get a huge copy of the original manifest.
If you buy the manifests from Ellis Island, they are smaller,
and costs up to 3 times the amount!.