Ms. Conway found that hundreds of thousands of patient records had essentially disappeared; she hopes that her film will turn up new clues as to where they have been moved.
Over years of research, Ms. Conway said, she was able to find only one complete patient record — that of Ormond J. McDermott, an Australian who was not trying to immigrate, but merely visit to New York, in 1921. He accidentally left his passport on a ship, and was detained at Ellis Island while the authorities investigated his claims to be a sales apprentice, rather than a contract laborer. While on Ellis Island, he developed scarlet fever; he died. Mr. McDermott’s file ended up at the State Department after his father, part of an influential Australian family, filed a complaint and asked for an investigation. [Link]