Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

Joe & Carolyn Hoelscher

My great grandfather left Vistinetz (Vistytis) via Hamburg, Germany for the USA in 1867 aboard the ship Bavaria.  The ship record says he was from Wystetten, Russisch Polen.  His name on board the ship was Reuben Lauchtenstein (family members have always said his last name was Lichtenstein), and every record I have been able to find in the USA has his last name as Jacobs.  I think he changed his last name to Jacobs because he apparently had a couple of brothers who had come to the USA already, as well as a cousin named Jacob Purvin.  I did not really know about these brothers who arrived before Reuben until I started researching the family.  The brothers who came before Reuben chose to change the name to Jacobs, maybe because of the cousin’s name, and Reuben followed suit.  But the reason for choosing Jacobs is not really known.  I had heard of Jacob Purvin before doing research, but I didn’t know anything about him.  So I guess people were changing their names on their own, probably forever!


Carolyn Hoelscher

San Antonio

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