Is this the real Annie Moore?

Irish teenager Annie Moore was the first person to arrive at Ellis Island when it opened on January 1, 1892.

This picture was found by Annie's great-nephew, Michael Shulman, at the National Park library at Ellis Island.

It appears to show Annie arriving at Ellis Island with her brothers on that fateful day back in 1892.

Roots expert Megan Smolenyak has launched an appeal for anyone who can verify if this is Annie Moore arriving at Ellis Island.

Smolenyak says she wants to find "smoking gun" proof that it is in fact Annie.

Shulman discovered the photograph among the donated items belonging to John B. Weber, who was the first Superintendent of Ellis Island.

Weber served only until 1893 so that increases the probability that the picture is of Annie.

Smolenyak also says there are other visual clues to imply that Annie is the girl pictured.

  • All three are approximately the right age.
  • They are dressed in the kind of clothing Irish immigrants wore at the time.
  • The three appear to have been singled out for the photograph.
  • "Annie" matches physical descriptions taken from newspaper accounts of the day ("bareheaded," "woolly sack (jacket) buttoned closely about her," "buxom")
  • The other travelers are wearing heavier clothes. Annie and her brothers were three of only eight Irish on a ship with 127 passengers who were mostly Russian.
  • The waiting benches appear to be in good condition.

 But, says Smolenyak, "Perhaps most telling is the fact that the girl bears a marked resemblance to the confirmed photos of Annie in later years."

However, Smolenyak says that "Ellis Island sources deny the photo is Annie and her brothers."

"They could be right, but the only substantiation I've heard to date is an assertion that the photo shows an anonymous trio of immigrants taken at the Barge Office in 1890. Those who have seen the photo at Ellis Island, though, state that while it's included with 1890 Barge Office photos, it stands out as being different from the others and is unmarked. And it there's any chance it could actually be Annie in spite of appearances to the contrary, I think it's worth checking and double-checking.

"Perhaps the same virtual team approach that unearthed the true Ellis Island Annie in 2006 will work again."

Shulman, who with his sister is one of Annie Moore's closest living relatives, says he wants to see the National Parks Service doing more on the sleuthing.

"With all due respect to the National Park Service, they are wrong and should be expending a bit of energy to determine if this is Annie and her brothers. And remember, they had the wrong Annie Moore and the wrong biography and the wrong picture of the wrong person until Megan discovered the truth."

If you can help Smolenyak solve this, contact [email protected] or  via Twitter or Facebook