Re: Changing of Last Names On Way to England from Russia #general

Judith Singer

Hi - The best source for information about the emigration process is
JewishGen. Go to "Search Website", the last item on the menu below
"About Us" on the JewishGen homepage, and enter "emigration from
Russia". There is a wealth of information in articles, memoirs, etc.
Some helpful details I've found that may help David Goldman track down
his family members:

1. Hamburg was the port >from which most of our ancestors left mainland
Europe, and luckily, most passenger lists >from Hamburg for the period
of mass immigration and later have been digitized and are available on If they left >from a Dutch or Belgian port, the records
are not as easy to find, and frustratingly, the UK did not keep
records of immigrants arriving >from Europe.

2. It is not likely that the family members arrived at Southampton.
The voyages >from Germany to England generally arrived in London or
Grimsby or other ports on the North Sea side of England. Transmigrants
then took a train across England to Liverpool or other ports on the
North Atlantic to begin the voyage to America. Voyages >from Dutch or
Belgian ports to England probably arrived in Southampton.

3. The fact that the great-grandfather had fulfilled his military
service made it much easier for him to obtain an exit permit from
Tsarist Russia, so that's why the service would have been noted on the
permit. It was young men who were not yet subject to conscription and
their families who found it most difficult to obtain exit permits. The
family was not allowed to leave either because the fine of 300 rubles
for evading conscription was levied against all remaining family
members, and they could not obtain exit permits until the fine was
paid in full. 300 rubles was at the time a huge amount.

4. It was not unusual for children to risk illegal departures. It was
usually not that dangerous as long as sufficient bribes were paid to
the border guards. Rose Cohen wrote in her autobiography "Out of the
Shadow" about being smuggled out at age 12 in a wagon covered with
hay, while another wagonload of emigrants in the same group were
betrayed to the guards by a crying baby.

5. Within a few years after mass emigration >from Europe had begun,
there was a system of shipping company agents throughout Eastern
Europe that furnished assistance with obtaining exit permits - or
other means of crossing the Russian border - for those who purchased
tickets. The price of the ticket included the cost of the bribes that
were necessary to be paid to government officials to obtain permits or
to the border guards. I read in "Moving Here: Migration Histories" in
the UK National Archives that the shipping agents sometimes added
unrelated people to exit permits and that's where some name changes

6. The fact that English first names were used for the voyage to
America suggests that the family spent some time in England before
taking the final stage of the journey to the U.S. Many thousands did
so, sometimes because they had intended England as their destination
and later changed their minds and some because they could initially
afford only the trip to England and then earned enough money while
there to continue the voyage.

Good luck - Judith Singer

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