31    Dec 20092 comments

First Immigrant Ellis Island Pictures Found

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Statute of Annie and her brothers in Cork, Ireland

New York's Ellis Island's first immigrant was Annie Moore, who, at the age of 17, set foot January 1st, 1892- an event memorialized in song and in two bronze statues found at the New York Harbor and in Ireland.

It was long thought that Annie and her two young brothers, who accompagnied her onboard the SS Nevada, and their family who were in New York already, settled in Texas, where Annie married a descendant of Irish liberator Daniel O'Connell and then died tragically under the wheels of a streetcar at the age of 46.

But that story was proven wrong a few years ago, when her relatives joined forced with a genealogist to reveal she never left New York, rather, she had lived on the Lower East Side in New York until she died in 1924.

Their genealogical search, initiatiated by family history expert Megan Smolenyak, who had long had the suspicion the woman from Texas was not the Annie that had come from Cork, Ireland, to New York, proved Annie married the son of a German-born baker at St. James Church on James Street in 1895. Her husband was an engineer and salesman at the Fulton Fish Market. And they were said to have had at least 11 children, 5 of whom survived to adulthood. Her granddaughter even lived in the same area of New York until 2001, when she passed away.

Annie in her later years

Having proved their Annie was the 'real Annie', the family kept searching for documentation of their relative. Now, almost exactly 118 years ago after the was the first recorded passenger of the world famous Ellis Island immigration station, they've added a chapter to her history. Family members have revealed they've found two photographs of her under the name Schayer; her married name so that we can now picture her at a later age.

The first photograph is of a woman with an infant, a second photograph, believed to be of Mrs. Schayer in her 40s, was found by Maureen Peterson, one of Mrs. Schayer's great-granddaughters, in a scrapbook. The second one is displayed here.

A third picture is believed to depict Annie and her brothers after their arrival, but that is yet to be confirmed. Megan Smolenyak has called on the public to help her with that search.

And so Annie's distant relatives prove once again the journey of a genealogist is never ending...and that discoveries can be made at its every turn!

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  1. I have done extensive research on several of my lines, including LITTLE, DODSON, BURKHALTER, FULLER, INGRAM, HINDS, GALLOWAY,MORTON, and USSERY. There are others, but these are the main lines. I am particularly interested in the Dodsons and the Burkhalters, because we have traced them the farthest back.
  2. Researching the Echols Family...I go back to George C. Echols who first married Sara Tully in Limestone Co. AL. They had a son we know nothing of. Next, George marries Hannah Durham in Chambers Co. AL early 1800's. They migrate to MS and have Thomas Jefferson Echols (my decendant) as well as other children.
    Thomas goes to N. Little Rock, AR where he was a traveling photographer.

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