"His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

jeremy frankel

Dear Genners,

I am extremely reluctant to add my two cents to the plethora of emails on the topic of immigrants’ names (be it first, last, or both) being “changed” at a US port of entry, but I would like to offer this story. At last year's genealogy conference, I bought a copy of Michael Krasny's book on humor. As some may will recall he was the banquet speaker. Amongst the many stories he told (in the book) was one about a Cleveland childhood schoolfriend who told Michael that her grandfather's name had been changed at Ellis Island.

Hmm, I thought. There was sufficient information to do some research, and to show that no, the name had not been changed from "pfennig" to Venig (he thought the immigration officer was asking how much money he had). The name in the manifest was actually Wenig. It probably made a nice story to “explain” to his granddaughter the slightly unusual last name she had inherited, especially as he may well have told the story with a bit of an accent.

Sweltering in place in northern California

Jeremy G Frankel
ex-Edgware, Middlesex, England
now Sacramento, California, USA

Searching for:
FRANKEL/FRENKEL/FRENKIEL: Gombin, Poland; London, England
GOLDRATH/GOLD: Praszka, Poland; London, England
KOENIGSBERG: Vilkaviskis, Lithuania; London, England; NY, USA
LEVY (later LEADER): Kalisz, Poland; London, England
PINKUS, Poland; London, England
PRINCZ/PRINCE: Krakow, Poland; London, England; NY, USA

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