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April 17 is Ellis Island Family History Day

April 1st, 2003

By official proclamation of our nation’s governors, April 17 has been designated as “Ellis Island Family History Day.” Under the auspices of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. and the National Genealogical Society, the day has been set aside annually to recognize the achievements and contributions made to America by Ellis Island immigrants and their descendants.

Historically, April 17 marks the day in 1907 when more immigrants were processed through Ellis Island than on any other day in its colorful history -- 11,747 people. Over 40% of the U.S. population today -- 100 million Americans – can trace their roots back to the 17 million brave and hopeful immigrants who took their first steps towards freedom and opportunity by going through the “Golden Door” of Ellis Island.

In celebration of “Ellis Island Family History Day” the Foundation has instituted the “Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards” which are given annually to a select number of Ellis Island immigrants or their descendants who have made a significant contribution to the American experience.

Ellis Island Family History Day was first celebrated on April 17, 2001 to commemorate the opening of the American Family Immigration History Center® at Ellis Island and its companion website: www.ellisisland.org.

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