3. Around 350 Babies Were Born on Ellis Island

Female immigrants who were examined and deemed pregnant were marked with a chalk “PG” in their initial arrival onto Ellis Island. Being pregnant meant a burden to their new country and they were often detained. That is, unless they could prove they would be taken care of and supported. Some of these women were sent back to their home countries— especially if unmarried— others were taken to the hospital where they gave birth.

According to our tour guide, these new mothers were treated well. They were taught English and literacy skills to help them successfully transition to the mainland. However, one consequence of being born in limbo was that these babies were not initially issued birth certificates. When they did obtain them, the certificates didn’t state where they were born.