Bet you didn’t know this little known holiday existed. But if you have relatives who emigrated through Ellis Island (over 40 percent of the American population can trace its roots back to the landmark—including me), you may be interested to know this fun little fact. April 17 was selected for the honor because on this date in 1907, a staggering 11,747 immigrants were processed through the center—that’s the highest number in its history. To commemorate the auspicious record, head to ellisisland.org to look up your ancestors’ immigrations records, or browse the site for a peek back in time.
Not sure about the details of your parents’ (and grandparents’) pasts? Download our personal history worksheet, then use these tips to strike up a conversation with family members. And if you’re inclined, feel free to share your own Ellis Island story in the comments.