Will the Real Ellis Island Legend Please Stand Up?

New York magazine has been putting out some little gems lately. Don’t miss “Immigrant Number One,” in which reporter Jesse Green explores the identity of the immigrant known as Annie Moore, who in 1892 made history by being the first arrival across the gangplank at the newly opened Ellis Island.

After that, Annie married an Irish-American in Texas and moved to New Mexico … or did she? As the article explains, Annie Moore’s real identity has been something of a mystery until pretty recently, despite (or because) of her legendary status.

I’m telling you, this article has it all — tall tales, hard-luck immigrant stories, plus top-rate detective work by Megan Smolenyak, the first genealogy pro to sniff out the discrepancies in the “New Mexico Annie” story.

Green presents it all in fascinating detail and poses interesting questions about how we Americans like our popular legends served up, and why the real Annie Moore story may not have been quite the “right” sort of legend. Do read it.

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