Re: Name Changes on Passenger Lists #general

Marshall Lerner

Names that appear on passenger manifests (lists) were based on the information provided by the purchaser when a ticket was first acquired. Most of those purchasers did not speak English. That information was written down by the ticket seller whose first language was also often different from English and that's one explanation for the many variations in name spellings -- they are often transliterated. US Immigration Laws required those manifests to be prepared in advance of the ship's arrival + a physician had to attest to the health of the passengers and sign those manifests. As a result the names that people arrived with, when they immigrated, were the names from their tickets.

That said, the names on the passenger tickets can differ from the names people used after they settled in the US. Naturalization papers will frequently show both the "transit name" and the common name of the individual as well as the names of family members and their date of arrival. The extent of information in each case depends on the laws/regulations in force at the time. And those requirements changed as time went on.

Hope this helps.

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