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Castle Garden

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1820 to 18 Apr 1890
Location: New Yorkmap
Surname/tag: Immigration
This page has been accessed 120 times.

Originally, the United States government was not responsible for immigrants going to their shores. Each individual state had the task of documenting and screening all of the people coming to their soil.

New York’s was named Castle Garden. It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans have ancestors from this time period of immigration.

Starting in 1820, each ship’s captain had to prepare a Customs Passenger List before arriving at port. This list would then be filed with the collector of customs when they got there. This is the beginning of official and systematic data collection and recordkeeping in this area. It was a huge step for not only official and societal information but started a great benefit for genealogist in the future.

Officials and employers were very non-ethical. They would charge immigrants extra money whenever they could and the employers would make getting work very difficult. Lodging was as troublesome to find as jobs were.

Due to the issues with unethical people the State of New York felt they had to do something. This caused the Board of Emigration Commissioners to establish the Emigrant Landing Depot at Castle Garden.

Castle Garden became the first official American immigration center. It was a cooperative pioneering step between New York State and New York City. Immigration would never be the same.

The records, walls and historic landscape are all that is left of the Castle. It is now named Castle Clinton National Monument. Being federal govenment owned, its administration is handled by the National Park Service.

All records have been turned over and made the property of the National Archives and Records Administration.


1820 Customs Passenger Lists became required for each ship

1855 Emigrant Landing Depot at Castle Garden was established by State of New York’s Board of Emigration Commissioners

August 3, 1855 Castle Garden becomes first official immigration center in America

April 18, 1890 The U.S. government decided to take control over all ports of entry and immigrants. The Castle was closed and processing reception enter was temporarily moved to the Barge Office on the eastern edge of The Battery waterfront.

December 1891 The Barge Office’s immigration duties ended

January 1, 1892 Ellis Island began accepting immigrants


Castle Garden: America’s First Immigration Center, The Battery, Castlegarden.org: http://castlegarden.org/

Castle Garden Immigration Center: https://www.nypl.org/collections/articles-databases/castle-garden-immigration-center-1830-1892

Immigration and Castle Garden - A Gateway to America: https://www.recordclick.com/immigration-and-castle-garden-a-gateway-to-america/

Castle Garden: America’s First Official Immigration Center, ThoughtCo., Humanities, History & Culture: https://www.thoughtco.com/castle-garden-americas-official-immigration-center-1422288

Immigration Process at Castle Garden (1871), GG Archives: https://www.gjenvick.com/Immigration/CastleGarden/1871-TheImmigrationProcessAtCastleGarden.html

Understanding Your Immigrant Ancestors: Voyage to the U.S.: The Entryway at Castle Garden, Before Ellis Island: The Immigrant Entryway at Castle Garden, Understanding Your Ancestors: http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/ia/entrywayAtCastleGarden.aspx

Immigration Archives - A HIstory of Castle Garden Immigration Station (1888), GG Archives: https://www.gjenvick.com/Immigration/CastleGarden/1888-AHistoryOfCastleGardenImmigrationStation.html

Castle Garden: The Forgotten Gateway, Ancestry Magazine, Vol. 21 No 2, Ancestry.com, by Barry Moreno - 3/1/2003, March/April 2003: http://www.istrianet.org/istria/history/1800-present/immigration/castle-garden1.htm

Surprising facts about immigration to New York, NYG&B, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Monday, November 27, 2017 - 2:45pm: https://www.newyorkfamilyhistory.org/blog/surprising-facts-about-immigration-new-york

Gastle Garden: Where Immigrants Came Before Ellis Island, Behind the Scenes, New York HIstorical Society Museum & Library: http://behindthescenes.nyhistory.org/castle-garden-where-immigrants-first-came-to-america/

Castle Garden: Immigration Before Ellis Island, Family Search, July 14, 2018 - by Sunny Morton: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/ny-castle-garden-ellis-island/

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