I have been following this discussion of surnames/Soundex/pronunciation with great interest. A year ago, I wrote a little tale about how my gfather Pritikin (and his 4 brothers) magically became Pitkin somewhere between Ekaterinoslav and Ellis Island. In Russia, they wouldn't have had much trouble with Pritikin, I should think...and the story always was that the name got changed at Ellis Island.
I received four or five replies >from genners, informing me I didn't know what I was talking about. No names, they said, ever got changed at Ellis Island. A Jewish urban myth, they insisted. The inspectors never heard a name incorrectly because they only looked at the passport/papers!
And yet I keep hearing stories about names being changed, at or near Ellis Island, some changes subtle and some, not so. I imagine it's possible that an inspector trying to read Cyrillic might resort to asking the new immigrant for his/her name, no? (And in the early years of the 20th C, Polish was also written in the Cyrillic alphabet.)
And if the inspectors got the names >from the ship's manifest, even worse. I don't suppose much attention was paid to details if you were going steerage and one name was as good as another. It's probable that many many mistakes were made.
On a tangent, I have tried in vain to find my gmother, father, and aunt in the EIDB. A young woman and 2 little kids, nowhere to be found, and I don't even have to use Soundex as the name is straightforward: Kamien. I've tried all the various techniques--that I know of--to find them, to no avail. Yet I know they got here. They were counted in the NYC 1910 census and I have that paper. My father was born in 1903 and came over at the age of 4, which makes 1907, doesn't it? Does anyone have an idea for me, where I might find their arrival? My gmother talked about Rotterdam, so that must have been their port of embarkation.
Thanks in advance.
RESEARCHING: (in Ostrow Mazowiecka, Lomza Gubernia) KAMIEN, DYBER, BOROWICZ, ZYBERT/SIEBERT
(in Lubotyn or Kossowo, Lomza Gubernia) DYBER, BOROWICZ