$1,000 Reward for Ellis Island's Little Orphan AnnieOK, that’s a bit of a misnomer. The Annie in question wasn’t an orphan in the usual sense, but she is in a genealogical sense because her true story has been lost. What am I talking about?
Since then, she’s been commemorated in statues at both
This is all well and good, so what’s my point? Well, not surprisingly, since she’s a historical celebrity of sorts, folks want to know what became of her. And many sources gratify this curiosity. Here's an online example. And here are a couple of additional examples, the first from Coming to
Of course, this is a great story. It’s a classic go-West-young-woman tale riddled with tragedy. Who doesn’t like that? If only it were true.
The problem is that the Annie Moore whose story is told time and time again – and whose photo is even displayed in the American National Tree (and companion book) at
How do I know? I researched her for a documentary. Guess what? This Annie Moore was born in
I didn’t want it to be true. In fact, I tried for document after document, hoping to discover that it was just an accident that “
I actually did enough research to figure out how this myth started circulating. Let me be clear about one thing: there’s been no attempt to deceive on the part of anyone. What happened is that a family fell prey to an elderly relative’s fanciful tale – an innocent exaggeration that morphed into indisputable family lore. How many times have we all seen this happen? Over time, this now-deceased woman’s wishful thinking claimed more victims, as folks simply accepted her version of reality as truth without questioning it.
I’ve let this be for a while. Occasionally, I’ve made an attempt to learn the truth – to discover what became of the real Annie Moore of
I’m offering $1,000 for the first proof of what became of
I want to know the truth, and I’m hoping some great genealogists out there can unearth it. So try to solve the mystery yourself or join up with a research buddy and tackle it. For that matter, why not make it a project for your local genealogical society? Or just spread the word. Together, we can find out what happened to Ellis Island's Annie Moore.