Monday, September 24, 2012

Ellis Island.. Actually, Castle Garden

Nan's story tells us that Ann(e) Hoey was processed at Ellis Island.  If she arrived in New York in 1847 as our story suggests, she would have not have gone to Ellis Island -but instead, I think she would have entered via Castle Garden.

Castle Garden:  "Beginning in 1820, the U.S. Customs Service supervised the arrival of immigrants through Castle Garden at the Port of New York. An act of Congress on July 31, 1789 (1 Stat. 29) established customs districts and officers in every state, known collectively as the U.S. Customs Service. Following an act of March 2, 1819 (3 Stat. 489), the U.S. Customs Service assumed oversight of immigration. The act required the master of foreign vessels arriving at a port in the United States or its territories to submit a manifest of passengers to the local collector of customs. The U.S. Customs Service supervised immigration until the creation of the Office of Superintendent of Immigration in the Treasury Department in 1891. " (from NARA)

Via Castle Garden's web site, a search for Anne Edwards (the name we believe Anne traveled under - returns her on the Emma Prescott - arriving in New York August 10, 1847. The ship name and date match the stories passed down by Anne's daughter, Mary Nolan Gagan, to my grandmother, Anne Hughes McCarthy.

The family story discusses Anne' processing after disembarking from the Emma Prescott.    I have some images in my head about what that would have been like for her (The Godfather II provides most) but in doing some preliminary research - I found some interesting things.

According to some genealogists, prior to 1855, immigrants getting off ships were not processed at all - they merely got off the ship.  This descriptions actually makes a bit more sense to me - given what happened to Anne - losing her money and having no one to turn too.    I can surmise that after losing her money, she stayed at the arrival point, perhaps sleeping wherever she could find, until she found employment (as the story tells us) as a maid in Hell's Kitchen.

I suspect I will never full comprehend what these days were like for Anne.  We believe she spoke no English and are fairly certain she could not read or write.   While she is listed as 18 on the passenger list - family story and later documentation suggests she was only 13 years old - and from a small town in Ireland.  The three days before she left the arrival point must have been terrifying - full of noise and smells and confusion.   To have emerged from that and created a life in America is truly a testament to an inner strength - one I can only hope my daughter (sixth in a direct line of oldest daughters) has within her.

Hannah Anne De Groff - 2001
Amy Anne Begg De Groff 1968
Sheila Anne McCarthy Begg
Anne Theresa Hughes McCarthy
Mary Ellen Gagan Hughes
Mary Anne Nolan Gagan
Anne Hoey Nolan

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