When Ellis Island officially opened on 1 January 1892, the first passenger processed through the now world-famous immigration station was an Irish girl named Annie Moore (on her birthday).
The 15-year-old girl was travelling with her two younger brothers, Anthony and Phillip, on the S.S. Nevada. The ship had departed from Queenstown (now Cobh, Co Cork) on 20 December 1891, carrying 148 steerage passengers. The trio would spend 12 days at sea, including Christmas Day, arriving in New York on Thursday evening, 31 December. With Annie leading the way, they were processed through Ellis Island the following morning, New Year’s Day. All three Moore children were soon reunited with their parents who were already living in New York City.
Annie Moore’s arrival record can be found in the Historical section of Ellis Islands’ Famous Passengers page.
Annie Moore is memorialised by bronze statues in New York Harbour and Cobh, Co Cork as well as cited in story and song as the first of 12 million immigrants to arrive at Ellis Island. Her story, as it has been recounted for decades, is that she went west with her family to fulfill the American dream — eventually reaching Texas, where she married a descendant of The Liberator Daniel O’Connell and then died accidentally under the wheels of a streetcar at the age of 46.