Can anyone clarify the circumstances that might cause an immigrant to
travel fraudulently using someone else's name and identity?
This happened at least twice in different branches of my family -- in
both cases with young men leaving the Russian Empire.
In one of the cases, the "fake" Elie SITKOWESKI >from Bershad, Podolia
Gubernia (my great-grandmother's brother, actually named Leizer
SCHMIDT) emigrated to Philadelphia in 1906. Then the "real" Elie
Sitkoweski emigrated to Philadelphia in 1907. Their names, ages and
hometowns on the manifests match exactly, as does the name of the
person in the U.S. who sponsored them and paid their passage. Their
two sets of naturalization papers, including certificates of arrival,
make it clear that both men traveled under the same identity, but were
not the same person. (This is backed up by other documents, too.)
I haven't been able to trace any family relationship between the real
Elie and the fake Elie, although I have proof that they did both come
from Bershad, and their family plots are adjacent to each other in aPhilly cemetery.
Might the fraud have to do with draft evasion?
A further mystery -- maybe also a clue? -- is that the person who paid
both men's passage, identified on the manifests as their "uncle,"
apparently was not closely related to either one, but instead was a
prosperous "landsman" who had emigrated 25 years earlier.
GUTHARTZ/GITARTS/GITGARTS: Chechelnyk, Olgopol, Bershad, Balta, Gershunovka (all
in Podolia Gubernia), Beltsy (Bessarabia), Odessa; SUDMAN: Kamenets-Podolsky,
Studenitsa, Stare Ushitsa (Podolia),Beltsy, Telenesti, Kishinev (Bessarabia);
TENENBAUM: Balta, Savran, Chechelnyk (Podolia); SELTZER, SCHMIDT: Bershad,
Trostyanets (Podolia); KATZ: Dunaevtsy, Kalyus (Podolia);
FEIN: Peschanka, Olgopol, Bershad (Podolia), Bender (Bessarabia)