One hundred twenty-five years ago, the nation’s first federal immigration station opened on Ellis Island in New York Harbor, built to handle the throngs who were coming to America during the late 19th century to escape famine, war and poverty.
They hoped to settle in a promised land that was opening its doors to many, especially those capable of doing manual labor. But even though many may have had unusual names—at least to an English speaker—it is a persistent myth that Ellis Island inspectors altered birth names of the weary immigrants.
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