Mary and I visited our friend Carrie in New York City last weekend. I also saw two college friends who live in the area. They were all game for visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island so I could geek out in my genealogical way and check off two birthday list items.
Being a genealogy geek, it was quite moving to see the Green Lady and read about the history of the statue and what it meant to millions of immigrants. We spent about three hours walking around the grounds, taking in the views from the pedestal portion of the statue as well as the front of the statue.
Unfortunately that left us with less an hour to walk around Ellis Island. We walked straight to the Immigrant Wall of Honor so I could try to find the names of my second-great-grandparents, Jacob and Sarah Howell. A distant relative of mine had paid to have their names engraved on the wall. Strangely enough, we found their names on the first panel that we stopped at.
I got a chill when I walked into the Registry Room of the building. This is where immigrants were interrogated by inspectors and were asked to confirm the information that they had provided to the ship staff (name, age, occupation, their final destination, etc.).
I hope I can find some time this summer to continue my genealogy research. I haven’t worked on it in months. My current task is to make my way through a microfilm of birth certificates from Gioia Tauro, Italy, where my great-grandmother was born. I spent an hour looking through it a few weeks ago. I probably have a few more hours to go. There are hundreds of certificates, which are all handwritten in practically illegible cursive. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
We ended our NYC trip with a lunch at Junior’s, near Times Square. It’s most famous for its desserts. We split a couple of divine slices of cheesecake.
I’ve decided that I should visit NYC more often. At least once a year. It’s a fairly easy 4-hour bus ride from Boston. Next time I visit, I am headed to Brooklyn. There’s so much buzz about it that I just have to check it out. If you’ve been to or live in Brooklyn, tell me what I need to see and do there!