On 6/26/2020 9:44 AM, JoAnne Goldberg wrote:
About "changing the spelling" -- the manifests I've seen have all been
written in English or German, in any case, using our Latin alphabet.
Whereas many of our ancestors would have written their names in Russian
or Yiddish, totally different alphabets. The name on the manifest might
have been an undecipherable scribble to them (assuming they were
literate at all)
Jews in the Pale of Settlement (Poland, Lithuania) and nearby areas
would have been at least as familiar with the Roman alphabet as with the
Cyrillic. Very few Jews were completely monolingual in Yiddish. Most
people, even many Russian serfs, could hock a chainik in more than one
language. By the 1890's most Jews had at least a couple years school,
and both Cyrillic and Roman were taught in all grammar schools, and Jews
in Yeshiva picked up enough. In the 19th Century the first 2 years of
school everywhere were better than 6 grades today. Remember, Lincoln
had no more than a year and a half of school. When you think of your
grandparents arriving in the US, don't think of the elderly people you
remember--think of the young bright eager to work and to learn people
Also, there was a comment yesterday about names beginning with G or H.
The Russian (Cyrllic) alphabet has a guttural H, like the beginning of
Khrushchev, but a soft H is rendered with a G, hence, the Shakespearean
play Gamlet or Hirsch spelled as Girsh. I am guessing these names were
pronounced correctly, but written in the Russian alphabet with an
initial G, which of course looks nothing like an English/German G.
Curious if anyone has more information on these -- could be helpful in
understanding the name-change stories that so many of us have.
JoAnne Goldberg - Menlo Park, California; GEDmatch M131535
BLOCH, SEGAL, FRIDMAN, KAMINSKY, PLOTNIK/KIN -- LIthuania
GOLDSCHMIDT, HAMMERSCHLAG,HEILBRUNN, REIS(S), EDELMUTH, ROTHSCHILD,
SPEI(Y)ER -- Hesse, Germany
COHEN, KAMP, HARFF, FLECK, FRÖHLICH, HAUSMANN, DANIEL -- Rhineland,