Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>
"I need to clarify something about the dates. My paternal ggf, the one who "bought" the false papers in Russia (I think the Odessa area) arrived in 1884, which was well before the opening of Ellis Island. He came under the surname Meyer. "
In 1884 nothing was needed to enter the US. What he probably bought was a ticket and perhaps the deceased Meyer's papers, as Russians were required to carry papers in Russia.
A cousin of mine came about the same time, and the family still has the ticket and internal passport. A gril's fiance was in the US, and he sent her a ticket to follow; but the girl died before leaving. My cousin's family bought the ticket (why waste the money), and the cousin left in the girl's place, with her papers. She left Russia and could have thrown the papers out, but all Russians didn't know that. Of course, once in the US, she used her own name.