Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,
I attended a wedding last week-end in New York and went out a few days early to do a little sight seeing. One of the things I did was visit Ellis Island and it was such a great day that I just have to tell you about it.
My experience with my culinary tours to Italy is that it really is best to book your tour before you leave home. So I went to the Ellis Island web site at www.ellisisland.org and booked space on the Staten Island Ferry which took us past the Statue of Liberty (an amazing sight) and then to Ellis Island. Admission to both sights is free, but you must book and purchase tickets for the ferry. (total of $18.00 for ferry tickets and audio cassette tape, which is a must.)
Our group actually spent 4 hours touring the museum with a short lunch break. It is a wonderful and informative tour and the 25 minute movie that we viewed, "Island of Hope, Island of Tears" was very moving.
The best part of the day for me was the Family Learning Center where I had hoped to find my father's records of his immigration from Italy to the United States. I was greatly disappointed to learn that it would not be possible for me to get his information as they only have records from 1892-1924 and Dad came through in 1930. But Bob and I quickly decided to try and located my Grandfather's records as he came through Ellis Island twice.
Having some information on my Grandfather and doing a little quick math, we figured the second time he came through, after WWI was 1921. We quickly entered all of the data that we had in the computer and got his information. We learned that Francesco Tursi arrived on April 30, 1921 from Terravechia, Italy through Naples, Italy. We were able to get a copy of the ship's manifest and that he was number 17 on the record and we were also able to get a photograph of the ship that he sailed on which was the Palasciano. We have it all mounted in a beautiful frame and will give to my father as a gift.
Since we still had a bit of time we did some research on my great-uncles as well and now have that information to pass on to my cousins. It was so much fun getting this information and I suggest that if you are interested in doing something like this that you go to the Ellis Island web site and find out how and when your own family members made their way to the "New Land."
Carmela Tursi Hobbins