Elayne Shapiro wrote: "Has anyone encountered cases in the U.S. where just the
first initial of the person's first name (rather than the whole first name)
plus surname is used?"
Yes. I was presented with a situation in which a ship arrival manifest for a
son listed his father, with whom he was expected to live, as B. Berman.
I found a B. Berman listed that way on a subscription Jewish burial database
for a grave in Waldheim Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois.
When I arrived at the cemetery office, their in-house database identified B.
Berman as Barnett Berman; however, when I found his gravestone, it was inscribed
I don't know whether having just the first initial on the grave marker has any
special significance; however, Barnett was probably an Americanization of Berel
(or of his Hebrew name, Baruch). It also could have saved a bit of money on the
size of the gravestone because B. Berman fit on one line, while Barnett Berman
would have taken two lines to fit on the stone.
Oak Park, Illinois