Immigration Ledger


​My object is a United States immigration ledger. My great-grandfather, James McLaughlin, immigrated through Ellis Island on the S. S Celtic from Liverpool on August 15, 1921. The ledger is a manifest listing of 22 Irish steerage passengers. Steerage is the worst class you can be in on a boat. Many steerage immigrants got sick and died from disease. James was a 20-year-old, Irish Catholic boy living in Belfast and working as a bartender in his uncle’s bar.  Belfast was British-occupied and the Protestant mob was roaming the city killing Catholics.  While working one day, James witnessed his fellow bartender and friend being shot by the mob. James escaped out the back window of the bar and ran directly to his uncle.  His uncle told him to get out of Ireland and gave him the 105 dollars from the cash box.  When James arrived in the United States, the ledger was filled out with important information about all the immigrants’ identities. James became a citizen of the United States and worked as a doorman in New York City.  James later met Lily Walker, married, and gave birth to my grandmother on November 12th, 1939. The document was given to my parents by my grandmother, Mary Regan, 15 years ago. This story is very important to me because if James didn’t flee from the bar and successfully immigrate to the United States, my family wouldn’t be here today.  The ledger is framed and now hangs on my wall. It fills me with great pride when I see it and think about the bravery that my great grandfather had to cross the Atlantic and become an immigrant.

Place(s): Dublin, Ireland. United states, New York.

– RR

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant