Above: Annie Moore flanked by her brothers, Anthony and Phillip.
ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY TWO years ago today (1892), seventeen year-old* Annie Moore became the first person to pass through the just-opened U.S. immigration station on Ellis Island, located on the Upper New York Bay just off the New Jersey coast. Twelve days earlier, the young woman from County Cork, Ireland, had departed her former home with two younger brothers, Anthony and Phillip, and 145 other steerage passengers on the SS Nevada.
The first of an estimated 12 million immigrants to pass through Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954, Moore would settle in New York City and live there for the rest of her life.
It has been estimated that nearly 40 percent of all U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island, which closed as an entry station in 1954. Among the Ellis Island entrants into the U.S. were Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, political leader Marcus Garvey, and comedian Bob Hope.
* Moore’s age on entering the U.S. is often given as fifteen, but New York Magazine in 2010 reported that she was actually seventeen.