“Restoration” arrives in New York
October 9, 1825 marks the start of Norwegian immigration to America. Then the sloop “Restauration” came to New York with 53 people on board. The youngest, Margaret Allen, was just over a month old. She was born on board, September 2. She was the daughter of the expedition leader, Lars Larsen Geilane and his wife Martha from Stavanger. A few Norwegians had been to America before. Leiv Eiriksson around the year 1000, and a dozen people who had traveled with Dutch merchant ships to New Amsterdam in the 17th century.

The city they came to was not big. In 1830, no more than about 240,000 people lived in New York. Then there were hardly any Norwegians there. One hundred years later – in 1930 – there were almost 70,000 Norwegians there. But then the population of the world metropolis had also risen to more than 2 million people.

Ellis Island More than 12 million people found their way to Ellis Island, the most important immigrant reception center in the United States between 1892 and 1924. The first to arrive was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old girl from Ireland.

Not all immigrants had to pass through Ellis Island. Those who had enough money to travel in 1st and 2nd grade were checked on board by a doctor and an inspector, and could go straight ashore. It was those who traveled in 3rd grade who came to Ellis Island. Here they went through a health check, and those who were so unlucky to have trachoma, ringworm or tuberculosis, were automatically rejected. Those who passed the test then had to answer a series of questions about why they wanted to immigrate to the United States. The test took about two minutes, and those who answered correctly were welcomed to America. Only two percent were rejected.

With the quota laws of 1921 and 1924, immigration to America was severely restricted. The annual immigration quota for the individual ethnic groups was set at 2 percent of the population in 1890.