My 2nd Great Grandparent's Entry Through Ellis Island

SS State of Nebraska, Allen Line

My paternal 2nd great-grandparents, Hugh and Anna (McFarland) Kerr were married in Ballygawley, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland on October 25, 1895. Within a year of their marriage, they would be living in America. I still have a lot to learn about their voyage, but here is some information I learn so far. The information taken down upon their entry into America at Ellis Island helped me to learn more than I had known, but it has also left me with more questions that I will have to explore.

In 1895 they traveled from Moville, Ireland to Glasgow, Scotland. From the Port in Glasgow, they boarded the ship, The State of Nebraska. The ship arrived at Ellis Island on May 21, 1895. They did not seem to be traveling with anyone else. They are listed as traveling amidship, which means their voyage was in the middle of the ship. Hugh's occupation was listed as a farmer and he was arriving with his wife, who had no occupation listed except for wife in the comment section. Ireland was listed as their Native County, which I had already known. An interesting item that I learned from the document was that they were planning to head to East Orange, New Jersey. From learning this bit of information I'm now curious as to why they were planning to head to East Orange, New Jersey. I have found no connection as to why they would have planned to go there yet. I have no idea if they made it to East Orange for a short amount of time before heading to New York. From research, I have done previously I know that they settled by at least 1896 in Orleans County, New York. Hugh and Anna would have five children, Massie, Margaret, Gladys, Anna, and Robert all born in Orleans County. Hugh farmed the land in Clarendon, Orleans County for decades and it would also be the final resting place of them both.

Hugh and Anna Kerr were the first and so far only ancestors that I had learned to actually step foot on Ellis Island while it was opened. Everyone always talks about immigrant ancestors coming to America through Ellis Island, until they learned that Ellis Island was only open between 1892 to 1954 and that there are other ports immigrants came through to America. Among the 12 million immigrants to came into America at the time, my 2nd great-grandparents were among those million who walked onto Ellis Island. Now I need to plan a trip to visit Ellis Island.

This blog post was written from a prompt “Landed” which is part of a year-long challenge to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. For more information on this series please visit

Until next time, take care.