I think you are right about the casual attitude to surnames. Many an
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immigrant arriving in 1880-1900 might well have known a grandfather who
took the surname when it was first required. Not only are patronymics
more important, but the naming customs are also important for
establishing relationships. My father always said his father shortened
the name, but didn't remember the original. When I learned the village
he came from, and his mother's name, I started looking for a
Levi-surname with a first name corresponding to my grandfather's
patronymic. From the records I found a married couple Shmuel Levitan
and Liba just the right age to bear a son who would emigrate in 1886.
As additional evidence, my dad's oldest brother was named Samuel,
presumably named after his grandfather. Unfortunately my dad was
deceased when I learned that the name was Levitan. (There were no other
Levi- names that fit the time frame.)
On 7/9/2020 6:12 PM, collectorden wrote:
I was going to add this to the "His name was changed at Ellis Island"
thread, since one of the changes did occur at Ellis Island, but it was
actually a correction.
As a gentile who has spent several years tracing my wife's Jewish
ancestry (Thank You JewishGen and it's many great members), I've come
to the conclusion that her ancestors were not as concerned about their
surnames as they were about their patronymic names.
My wife's great grandfather Samuel was born in Siauliu, Lithuania as
Schmerl NUDEL. He immigrated to Liverpool England where he married as
Samuel NOODLE and had a daughter (her grandmother) born Fanny NODLE,
they immigrated to Dublin Ireland (1896 - 1908) and used NOODLE on the
census. He immigrated to the US in 1908 as Schmerl NUDEL and after
arriving became Samuel NADLE. Fanny departed Londonderry for the US
in 1909 as Fanny NADLE (UK Outward Passenger Lists). Her Arrival
Passenger List shows her AS Fanny NODLE in route to her father Samuel
NODLE. Her name is lined out on the passenger list and over written
with Fanny NOODLE, his name is changed from NODLE to NOODLE and his
address is updated so I assume this was done on arrival at Ellis
Island when they verified her destination. (She is on the detained
passenger list.) On the 1910 census she is Fannie NADLE. She married
Hersh MARCUS (formerly MARKUS) in 1915 as Fanny NADLE. On the 1915 NY
census she is Anna MARCUS. and from 1920 on she used Fannie MARCUS.
My Wife's great grandmother on the MARCUS side, born Pesa HIRSHFELD,
married Israil MARKUS in Riga Latvia. She departed Liverpool for the
US as Pessie MARKUS (UK Outward Passenger Lists) and arrived at Ellis
Island as Pessie MARCUS on the arrival passenger list. She kept the
MARCUS surname but alternately used Pessie, Bessie and Pauline for her
Being of Irish descent, where you're surname represents your clan, it
took me a while to absorb all the surname variations.