Now that I look at the details in black and white, I can see just how lucky Opa was. He was allowed entry into the United States based on some flimsy foundations. He had no country, but rather a certificate of identification from Holland. This is pretty shaky. He was born in the capital of a hostile country. His only listed relative or next of kin was McPherson College, a small liberal arts school in the middle of Kansas.
Opa said he had a hard time at Ellis Island, but looking at the stats on him, I'm kind of amazed that they let him in, especially considering all the obstacles they had in place to give any official an excuse to turn away immigrants.
The questions that Opa (and all other immigrants) had to answer upon arrival are bizarre and confusing. Can you imagine English not being your first language and having to answer whether or not you were a polygamist? Who could have even understood such bizarre questions? The words "Protestant City Mission Society" are handwritten over the top of Opa's answers to these questions. My guess is that Alice Palmer was there to either answer these questions on Opa's behalf or at least explain the questions to him in a way he could understand and answer intelligently. I wonder if Alice spoke multiple languages- a skill that would be handy in this line of work.
For Opa, this simple sheet of answers obtained on a busy port of arrival- became a document almost as significant as a birth certificate. It is his record of his arrival and passing through the insane obstacle course put before hopeful immigrants to the United States. This is documentation of his first solid victory towards freedom.
PS- Opa was not 5'7". He was more like 6'2".... so I'm wondering if he was a late bloomer or if the person measuring him was more concerned with getting a number on paper than having accuracy.