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

Roger Lustig

Yale Zussman writes:

"Unless there is an actual proof that involuntary name-changes weren't
possible, you cannot reject the name-change narratives out of hand. 
Given the number of potential cases, around 37 million, and what is
known about the operation of the immigration stations (it's discussed in
the Congressional Record), the notion that involuntary name-changes were
impossible because the immigration process operated flawlessly is simply

The actual proof is in the facts:

--that no documentary evidence of a name-change by an immigration
official has been found;

--that there is no evidence that a procedure existed for doing such a

--that no form on which a name-change would be entered has been known to

--that no regulation regarding name-changes at the port of entry has
ever been found;

--that someone who purportedly received such treatment would either have
had to memorize the new name instantly or receive it written down in an
alphabet they might not even have been able to read;

--that there was no such thing as a database of people's names to which
such an event might be reported;

--and on and on.

For that matter, the first thing to keep in mind is that the immigration
officers didn't even write down the vast majority of the names of people
who passed by them. They compared the names on the passenger list to
those on the steamship tickets, made check-marks and the occasional
rubber-stamp, and that was generally it.

The immigration process did not operate flawlessly, but since we've
never found a way that an immigration officer *could* have changed a
name with any expectation that it would stick for more than 5 minutes,
how could a "flaw" lead to a name change? A flaw in what?

Oh, and the immigration officers spoke 40 languages in aggregate. They
were assigned to ships according to the languages expected to be found
among the passengers, and could in a pinch call on colleagues to help.

Roger Lustig

Princeton, NJ USA

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