I received a call from a fellow member of the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society (http://www.cuyahogagenealogy.org/CVGS/) inquiring how to access Ellis Island records these days. A few years ago, when the Ellis Island records were first made available online, I created an account to look up ancestors who might have come to America through Ellis Island. At that time, the URL was www.ellisisland.org, and I was required to create a user name and password. I haven’t used this account in some time, so I was surprised to learn that the sign-in I had on file in my cloud-based password database (Roboform–for info go to http://www.roboform.com/ ) did not work. In recent times, I have preferred to do my Ellis Island searches through my subscription to Ancestry.com.
One of the options on the Ellis Island website was to create an account–or in this case, a new account, which I did. Rather than a username, the Ellis Island Foundation now requests an email address and a password. I guess that makes sense because the Foundation needs to appeal for donations to continue to operate. The account creation process was straight-forward. FYI, the new URL is: http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/.
My test case for passenger list searches is my grandmother Ida Maria Huuskonen, who immigrated in 1903 with four children. I had found her several years ago as Ida Hunskanen, which was how a volunteer indexer mis-transcribed her name from the passenger list entry. When I entered Ida Maria Hunskanen, I found no results. Then I tried Ida Hunskanen, and up popped her entry. Success.
One reason why I prefer Ancestry.com for passenger list research is that I have entered a correction to my grandmother’s index entry, so anytime I want to check her listing again, I don’t have to remember how her name was mis-transcribed to find her. Even though the wrong spelling still is the main index entry, my error correction entry also is there and her entry comes up. The same advantage applies to other passenger list entries I have researched on Ancestry.com.
In the interest of complete disclosure, you also can access the Ellis Island database through https://familysearch.org/