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A Look At The People Coming Through Ellis Island

Cossack Immigrants, of whom about 5,500 were admitted in	1906.

Cossack Immigrants, of whom about 5,500 were admitted in 1906. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9a02a47b

The following series of illustrations, showing different types of the immigrants who are now pouring into the United States in even greater numbers than in 1905 and 1906, were obtained through the courtesy of Hon. F. P. Sargent, Commissioner General of Immigration.

The immigrants were photographed immediately after disembarking, and are here shown just as they landed, most of them were still clad in their native costume, which will be discarded, however, within a few hours.

No migration in history is comparable to the great hordes that have crossed the Atlantic during the past 20 years to enter our territory. In 1905, 1,026,499 immigrants were admitted; in 1906, 1,100,735, and in the present year the total will exceed the record of 1906 by many thousands. Since June 30, 1900, 6,000,000 have been admitted, of whom probably 5,500,000 have settled permanently in the United States.

The report of Mr. Sargent for 1906, recently issued, contains much interesting information about the character and qualifications of the immigrants. Perhaps the most striking fact is that less than 5 percent of the newcomers have reached or passed the age of 45.

Of the arrivals in 1906, 913,955 ranged in age from 14 to 44, 136,273 were less than 14 years old, and only 50,507 had reached or passed the age of 45. More than two-thirds of the immigrants were males, the figures being 764,463 men and boys and 336,272 women and girls.

About 28 percent of the total number were illiterate, which is a very large proportion when we consider that only 6.2 percent of the total white population of the United States and only 4.6 percent of the native-born whites in 1900 were illiterate.

The immigrants brought to the country cash amounting to $25,109,413. It is exceedingly interesting to note the difference in financial condition between certain of the races.

For instance, while the number of Hebrew aliens admitted was more than three times as great as the number of English, the former brought $2,362,125 with them and the latter $2,610,439, while the 144,954 Germans and Scandinavians brought $5,091,594; the 263,655 South Italians and Greeks brought only $4,183,398, and while 16,463 Scotch were able to show $820,759, more than twice as many members of the Slovak race produced only $526,028.

There were debarred during the year 12,432 aliens, of whom 2,495 belonged to the Hebrew race, 2,121 to the Italian, 1,000 to the Polish, and 1,867 to the German.

More than one-third of the entire number of immigrants-374,708 stated that they intended to stay in the State of New York, while one-sixth of them-198,681 —asserted that they were going to Pennsylvania; 86,539, or about one-twelfth, were avowedly destined to Illinois; 73,863 intended to reside in Massachusetts, and 58,415 were en route to New Jersey; 880,036 entered through New York, 62,229 through Boston, 54,064 through Baltimore, 23,186 through Philadelphia, 6,201 through Galveston, and 2,051 through New Orleans.

A German Family of One Daughter and Seven Sons.

A German Family of One Daughter and Seven Sons. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9a82ada7

While the proportion of Germans arriving is much less than in former years, considerable numbers are still seeking the United States, the total in 1906 is 86,813. Less than one-half of these, 37,564, came from Germany

A Scotch Family of Seven Daughters and Four Sons.

A Scotch Family of Seven Daughters and Four Sons. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9abf7d7b

The United Kingdom sent us 102,193 immigrants in 1906, as follows: England. 49,491; Ireland, 34,995; Scotland, 15,866; Wales, 1,841. More than two-thirds of our total annual immigration are men and boys, the figures for 1906 being 764,463 males and 336,272 females.

Typical Russian Hebrew Family.

Typical Russian Hebrew Family. 153,748 Hebrews were admitted in 1906. This year the number will be greater. They come principally from Russia. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9ad0eb97

Finnish Girl | Russian Sisters.

Finnish Girl | Russian Sisters. 14,000 Finns arrived in 1906. The Russian Empire contributed 215,665 of our immigrants in 1906 most of them being Hebrews. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID #1d9aebb665

Alsace Lorraine Girl | Finnish Family.

Alsace Lorraine Girl | Finnish Family. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9b8eb1ad

Polish and Slovak Women. Immigrant ID Tags Are Visible, Attached to the Outer Garment.

Polish and Slovak Women. Immigrant ID Tags Are Visible, Attached to the Outer Garment. 135,000 of these people were admitted in 1906. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9b7c3c28

Ruthenian (Belorussian) Girl | Typical Southern Italian Girl.

Ruthenian (Belorussian) Girl | Typical Southern Italian Girl. 286,814 Italians arrived in 1906, of whom 240,528 were from Southern Italy and Sicily. The Romanians come from Galicia, in Austria-Hungary, and numbered 16,257. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9ba56d04

Holland Children | Holland Women.

Holland Children | Holland Women. About 5,000 people from The Netherlands arrive yearly. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9be7e459

Typical Romanian Peasant.

Typical Romanian Peasant. Little Rumania sent us 4,500 of her men and women in 1906. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9c36c730

Romanian Shepherd's Family as They Appeared on landing in New York.

Romanian Shepherd's Family as They Appeared on landing in New York. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9c5ee829

Hindus and Parsis. Less than one hundred arrived last year.

Hindus and Parsis. Less than one hundred arrived last year. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9c5ee829

Group of Arabs. Only a few representatives of this people come to the United States.

Group of Arabs. Only a few representatives of this people come to the United States. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9caf4cc9

Hungarian Family at Ellis Island.

Hungarian Family at Ellis Island. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9cd3e442

Serbian Gypsies at Ellis Island.

Serbian Gypsies at Ellis Island. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9cfaa787

Children's Roof Garden at Ellis Island.

Children's Roof Garden at Ellis Island. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9d0c19a8

Excluded Gypsies About To Be Deported.

Excluded Gypsies About To Be Deported. National Geographic Magazine, May 1907. GGA Image ID # 1d9d19ff90

SOME OF OUR IMMIGRANTS

Immigrant Aliens Admitted into the United States, by Countries, During the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1906

Country or Region Immigrant Aliens Admitted
Austria 111,598
Hungary 153,540
Belgium 5,099
Bulgaria, Servia, and Montenegro 4,666
Denmark 7,741
France, including Corsica 9,386
German Empire 37,564
Greece 19,489
Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia 273,120
Netherlands 4,946
Norway 21,730
Portugal, including Cape Verde and Azore Islands 8,517
Romania 4,476
Russian Empire, and Finland 215,665
Spain, including Canary and Balearic Islands 1,921
Sweden 23,310
Switzerland 3,846
Turkey in Europe 9,510
United Kingdom:  
- England 49,191
- Ireland 34,995
- Scotland 15,866
- Wales 1,841
Other Europe 48
Total Europe 1,018,365
China 1,544
Japan 13,835
India 216
Turkey in Asia 6,354
Other Asia 351
Total Asia 22,300
Africa 712
Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand 1,682
Pacific Islands, not specified 51
British North America 5,063
British Honduras 80
Other Central America 1,060
Mexico 1,997
South America 2,757
West Indies 13,656
United States 32,897
All other countries 115
Grand total 1,100,735

The new immigrant law, which goes into effect July 1, contains important restrictions which will enable the immigration officials to debar imbeciles, weak-minded and other undesirable classes with greater effectiveness than in the past. It also includes a provision preventing the entrance of children under 14 years of age unless accompanied by, or plainly intended for, the parent or guardian.

The law also increases the head or entrance tax on each immigrant from $2 to $4. While the law defines more sharply the undesirable classes, it is doubtful if it will reduce the number of immigrants now seeking our land.

"Some of Our Immigrants," in The National Geographic Magazine, Vol XVIII, No. 5, May 1907, pp. 317-334.

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The GG Archives is the work and passion of two people, Paul Gjenvick, a professional archivist, and Evelyne Gjenvick, a curator. Paul earned a Masters of Archival Studies - a terminal degree from Clayton State University in Georgia, where he studied under renowned archivist Richard Pearce-Moses. Our research into the RMS Laconia and SS Bergensfjord, the ships that brought two members of the Gjønvik family from Norway to the United States in the early 20th century, has helped us design our site for other genealogists. The extent of original materials at the GG Archives can be very beneficial when researching your family's migration from Europe.