Ellis Island, Castle Garden, or bust

UPDATE: Newer information has been published in Fresh Starts.

A cousin once asked me, which of our ancestors came through Ellis Island? They say that at least 40% of the current American population can trace their ancestry to someone who came through Ellis Island. I told my cousin then, that I didn’t think anyone in our line passed through Ellis Island. And I am still at that conclusion. But at the writing of this blog, I realize we have one who came through Castle Garden: Ohlrich Kucks. This is one of the benefits of writing down what you know. You see things you missed earlier.

A history of immigrant arrivals:

Ellis Island became the immigration processing station on January 1, 1892 and stopped operations in 1954.

Castle Garden (now Castle Clinton), Manhattan, New York operated as an immigration processing station from August 1855 until 1890.

Before Castle Garden? Well, there was no primary immigration processing station. Immigrants arriving in America prior to 1855 did come through New York and various other points of entry. Ship captains provided the customs office with a list of passengers and those passengers were responsible for checking in with the customs office to make their declaration. For those traveling overland in remote areas, they just didn’t get registered unless they crossed at a designated point (operational for only certain years). For those who didn’t register, you wouldn’t pick up their tracks until they began the naturalization process.

Our list of immigrant ancestors and their years of arrival are as follows (note this is not a conclusive list – we have other family names that I haven’t had time or enough clues to follow):

  • Aleck – arrived from Germany in 1850
  • Cobe – from Ireland c. 1840 most likely overland from Canada
  • DeJean – c. 1795 from France into New York
  • Gage – still researching but likely colonial 1600’s, of English origins
  • Johnson – still researching but before 1820
  • Rhoades – still researching but likely pre-revolution or close to that time, from Prussia
  • Russell – still researching but before 1840, possibly of Irish origins
  • Stockford – from England c. 1840 via New York
  • Kuck – from Prussia/Germany in June 1870

Ohlrich Kuck is my 2xgreat-grandfather and I have yet to write his entry. He will be confused with his father, also named Ohlrich, and who also arrived just a few years after his son.

Needless to say, since I have just now (for the first time) put this list together, I have yet to find his immigration records. I only know of his date of immigration based on passenger lists, but not port of entry lists. Guess what my next action is for Ohlrich? Searching for Kucks at http://www.castlegarden.org/. 😎