Arrival of the "Restauration"
October 9th, 1825 marks the beginning of the Norwegian immigration to America. That date the thirty - nine ton sloop "Restauration" from Stavanger arrived in the port of New York. Some Norwegians had been there before. Leif Eirikson at the end of the first millenium. Those who had joined in the Dutch New Amsterdam venture in the seventeenth century; and other individuals who had made the crossing earlier before 1825.
"Restauration" carried fifty-two passengers, but on the arrival they were fifty-three. During the 98 days long voyage, on Sept. 2, Margaret Allen was born. She was the daughter of the leader of the expedition, Lars Larsen Geilane and his wife Martha, both from Stavanger.
Over 12 million men, women and children entered the United States through Ellis Island, the nation´s chief gateway during the years 1892 to 1924. The first one to arrive was Annie Moore, a fifteen-year-old girl from County Cork in Ireland.
Not all immigrants had to pass through Ellis Island. Those with enough money to travel first or second class were quickly examined on board ship by a doctor and an immigration officer and could land without further ado.
The immigrants who went to Ellis Island were those who traveled third class, that is, in steerage, which in fact meant below the water line, in vast dormitories without windows and little ventilation or lighting.
On Ellis Island the arrivals first underwent a medical examination. Contagious diseases like trachoma, favus and tuberculosis meant automatic expulsion. The emigrants who passed this examination were questioned by an inspector and an interpreter. The inspector had about two minutes in which to decide whether or not the emigrant had a right to enter the United States. He made his decision after asking a series of twenty-nine questions. If the new arrival answered satisfactory, the inspector would stamp his papers and let him leave, after wishing him "Welcome to America".Only two percent of all emigrants were turned away.
The Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1924 limited immigration to the U.S. from any nation to two percent of its representation in the 1890 census. The era of American immigration history came to an end. Immigration dropped from more than 805,000 in 1921 to just over 309,000 in 1922. In 1925 the number of immigrants fell below 300,000. During the worst years of the Great Depression (1932-35) more persons remigrated than immigrated. When Ellis Island closed on November 19, 1954, the Norwegian sailor Arne Peterson was the last to leave.
For further reading:
In the Cities
Returnees and Newcomers