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Megan Smolenyak

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120 Years Ago: Ellis Island Opens Doors and Welcomes Annie Moore of Ireland

Posted: 12/29/11 04:58 PM ET

Jan. 1 has long been regarded as a day of fresh beginnings, and never was that more appropriate than 120 years ago in 1892 when Ellis Island first opened its doors to hopefuls from around the world. First down the gangplank was an Irish teenager named Annie Moore who subsequently became the poster child for the immigrant dream in a nation of immigrants. Unfortunately, her place in history was usurped by another who shared her name, and it wasn't until 2006 that the true Ellis Island Annie was identified. The photos that follow tell her tale and events since her rediscovery.

Annie Moore and her brothers at Ellis Island
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This photo from the Bob Hope Memorial Library at Ellis Island captures an iconic moment in American history – the arrival of the first immigrant at Ellis Island. Annie Moore is seen here flanked by her younger brothers, Anthony (left) and Philip (right), who traveled from Cork to New York to rejoin their parents and other siblings who had made the journey earlier. The final chapter of my forthcoming book, Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing, explains how this photo was recently found and identified.
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