I’m reading an excellent book right now titled Island of Hope, Island of Tears. The book features actual interviews of immigrants to the United States and highlights their experiences at Ellis Island and some of the reasons why many left home. It is interesting to note that during the great migration period of 1892-1918, many individuals crossing the ocean were sponsored by a family member already living in America.
Such is the case of my great grandfather John Reilly. John Reilly left Ireland from the port of Queenstown, Ireland on January 19, 1905. He traveled for nine days aboard the ship “The Baltic”. Upon arriving in New York on January 28th, John listed his aunt, Ms. M. Cusack of 851 Lawndale, Chicago, as the “relative or friend” that he was going to join in the United States. His ship passenger record also states that it was his “aunt” who purchased the ticket on his behalf. John arrived with $8.00 to his name. One can only imagine how he managed to get to from New York City to Chicago on $8.00.
Here is a copy of the front page of the New York Times on the day John arrived in America.