For the record, there was a medical check as well, and people with
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cholera were not admitted. A significant % of passengers were not
admitted for health reasons, so passenger liners had an incentive to
check for health at ports of entry. Your dramatic script for the
arrival scene does not comport with the known facts. Actually, there is
a simpler theory to account for the myth: the real weak link in the
chain was not the arrival but the departure in Europe. By the way, all
ships' manifests still exist: an unreadable entry would not be a
hypothetical, but a matter of record. To quote Liza Doolittle: show me!
On 6/26/2020 6:02 AM, Eva Lawrence wrote:
This idea of a perfect bureaucracy is just not possible. No doubt it
was in the authorities' interests to present a picture of
infallibility, in order to scare people into compliance, but but you
only have to think of a ship full of excitable and exhausted
immigrants, some suffering from cholera, perhaps, many of them filthy
from the long voyage in a crowded steamship belching smoke and reliant
only on sea-water for washing, to realise that the situation at Ellis
Island can't have been as orderly as some of you imagine it, and that
the well-trained clerks or the people they were interrogating, may
sometimes have suffered from an understandable impatience when the
clerks couldn't read the captain's bad hand-writing on the manifest or
didn't understand a particularly thick local dialect. The clerks
wanted to get home for their supper, the passengers just wanted to
reach dry land, so shoulders were shrugged and a name change sanctioned..
I'm not saying that name-changes were the rule, or aren't sometimes
just a glib excuse for lack of research, but no-one can be positive
that they couldn't have occurred, whether willingly or unwillingly..
St Albans, UK.