Finding Grandmother at Ellis Island

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EllisIsland2I found my dearly departed grandma near the Statue of Liberty this winter. Her name, and my grandfather’s are inscribed on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor.

So are 600,000 other immigrant names, people seeing America as a place of hope and opportunity.   That’s the detailed story told inside the three-story museum.

I have only fleeting little-girl recollections of my grandparents so I don’t know if they found their particular dreams. Perhaps.

With or without immigrant forbears, this is a good way to visit New York City.

NATJA AwardThis is one of three stories adapted from an award-winning newspaper feature by TMOM Christine Tibbetts experienced and published before Hurricane Sandy caused massive damage. The others are: Living History at Ellis Island and Contemplating Ancestors at Statue of Liberty.

All these determined travelers needed a long boat voyage; only thing required for my trip was an easy flight on Jet Blue to JFK. Easy shuttle connection to mid-town Omni Berkshire Place Hotel on 44th Street at Madison Avenue.

EllisIsland3The Wall of Honor is part of a big, wonderful National Park Service museum on Ellis Island, five or ten minutes by boat from the Statue; she has her own island named, of course, Liberty. Photo by Christine TibbettsContemplate the dreams and hopes of real people arriving in America at the National Park Service Museum on Ellis Island. New York doesn’t have to be hard to negotiate.

Looking back from the ferry en route to each island, everybody sees the emerging 9/11 Memorial, standing tall, pulling passionate memories from every passenger.

I found that a stirring connection to the hearts of the immigrants arriving more than a century ago.  Different issues. Giant emotions. 

Powerful, thoughtful tourism.

 

EllisIsland4This handsome building houses detailed, heart-wrenching and heart-warming stories of immigrants counting on all the Statue of Liberty symbolized for them. Photo by Christine Tibbetts

EllisIsland1Lady Liberty continues today as a beacon to visiting families yearning to learn more about America.
I’d recommend planning this package:

  • Subway to Battery Park, Bowling Green station?
  • Statue Cruises to Ellis and Liberty Islands?
  • Walk to 9/11 Memorial but arrange free timed pass in advance?
  • Visit homes of immigrants in Tenement Museum on Orchard Street?

There’s more, so maybe this end of Manhattan should be a two or three day holiday, especially if you like listening to stories with depth about real people and events.

Christine Tibbetts is Traveling Mom’s Blended Family Mom. This story is one of three TMOM blogs drawn from her 2012 newspaper travel feature receiving the silver award from NATJA—the North American Travel Journalists Association.

Top Photo: TMOM Christine Tibbetts found grandparent names on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor.  Some families share ancestor’s ashes at the sea wall.  Photo by Mary Alice Applegate

 

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