Once again, the myth of name changes #galicia

Carol Skydell <skydell@...>

Michele writes in part:
We are all familiar with the stories about name changes that occurred upon
arrival in America ....

Names were *not* changed upon arrival in America, despite the stories and
the jokes about this practice. If you understand the process, you'll see
why this is impossible.
1. The passenger manifest was created at the port of departure, usually by
the purser of the ship who created the record.
2. The purser wrote what he heard....or what he read >from the passenger's
3. The manifest was presented to the immigration officials upon the
arrival of the ship into whatever U.S. port was the arrival point.
4. Immigration officials created no documents....they checked off incoming
passengers >from the written manifest presented to them.
5. If grandpa's name was spelled incorrectly and grandpa could read, he
could in fact point out the error and it would be corrected....but changed
names were *not the creation of the U. S. immigration officials.

When names were changed in the old country it was usually to avoid
conscription or some other unwelcome experience, so it is not likely that
our ancestors would have gone through legal procedures. In many cases we
hear the stories of men buying the papers of younger or much older men in
order to avoid conscription. In my own family research we had one member
buying the papers of another man, marrying and having three children under
the assumed name and as soon as he set foot in Chicago where he had
relatives and felt safe, he changed his name >from KAPLAN back to SKIDELSKY.

Carol Skydell
Laguna Hills, CA

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