Forgotten Ellis Island
, a documentary based on film producer Lorie Conway’s book of the same name
about the immigrant hospital at America’s busiest port of arrival, is set to air on many PBS
stations Feb. 2 at 10 p.m. (It'll air Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. in some places.)
See the Forgotten Ellis Island Web site
and check local TV listings for updates. (The online schedule for our PBS affiliate let me set up an automatic e-mail reminder.)
I interviewed Conway for the November 2008 Family Tree Magazine
, and the Ellis Island hospital is among my favorite topics I’ve covered. Conway shared photos and stories of immigrants treated there, revealing the hospital’s history and how the staff handled patients' varying cultures, languages and illnesses—while trying to balance a mission of humanity with a duty to protect the US population from diseases.
As mentioned in the November 2008 article, patient records are missing except a few documents scattered in other files. The hospital buildings are under the care of Save Ellis Island
and awaiting restoration.