Category: Archive

Cardinal clears way for Annie headstone

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Moore, the widely celebrated first ever immigrant recorded at Ellis Island, rests in an unmarked grave in Calvary Cemetery, Queens.
After a personal appeal by New York City’s commissioner for public records, Brian Andersson, Cardinal Egan waived the existing prohibition against the use of limestone headstones at Calvary.
Limestone imported from Ireland will now be used for Annie Moore’s planned headstone, Andersson told the Echo.
“It is a much more durable stone than domestic limestone,” Andersson said.
The extraordinary contrast between the lack of any marker on the grave and the bronze statue of Annie Moore on Ellis Island was brought into stark relief in the fall of 2006 at a packed press conference at the headquarters of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society in Manhattan.
The gathering of journalists, officials and descendants of Annie Moore was convened by Andersson’s Department of Records and Information Records in order to present the startling results of research carried out by professional genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.
Through her research, she had found that the widely accepted record of Annie Moore’s later life, and her 1924 death in Texas, had nothing to do with the life of the young girl from Cork who made history by being the first immigrant to step ashore on Ellis Island in 1892.
There had been in fact two Annie Moores and their life stories had become interwoven through accident and happenstance, and a failure to fully research the lives of both women.
Ellis Island’s Annie Moore never left New York City and spent the rest of what was to be a tough and all too short life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Moore married a German immigrant named Joseph Schayer who worked at the Fulton Street Fish Market. The couple had 11 children though not all survived birth and early infancy. Annie herself died in 1923, aged just 47, from heart failure.
Six of Annie’s children would share her grave, a small plot covered with grass but now slated for a headstone that will finally follow in Moore’s pioneering wake across the Atlantic Ocean.

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