Name Variations (was: "His name was changed at Ellis Island") #names

jeremy frankel

Dear Genners,

I hope that group members are not too exhausted with this thread to read about a variant of the "name change" story that I've just come across—one which I cannot yet offer an explanation. (Maybe someone else can?)

I'm researching a cousin's wife's family in London who currently go by the name DAVIS. It was changed both informally and legally in the UK from NEEDLESTITCHER, which itself was an Anglicization of the name Nudelsztecher.

A couple, Davis and Rachel NEEDLESTITCHER traveled to America on the SS Manhattan in 1935 to visit relatives in Houston, Texas. The UK outbound manifest clearly states (as it is typed) that the family name is Needlestitcher. This is not really a ship's manifest per se, but the UK Government's Board of Trade's record (formerly BT27) of outgoing passengers

Davis Needlestitcher had also begun naturalization proceedings in 1923, which were not completed admittedly until 1936. The UK National Archive online records show that he was using Needlestitcher as his last name.

Slightly more peculiar is his 1927 marriage record to the woman he was already married to (since 1892). And here again he is listed as Davis Needlestitcher. The 1911 UK Census record shows the family using this name, though it is spelled Needlesticher [sic]. Many other secondary records also list him as Davis Needlestitcher. (Even his 1908 bankruptcy record in the National Archives refers to him as Davis Needlestitcher.)

However, when inspecting the American in-bound (totally typed) manifest it can be seen that the name is crossed out with a row of x's and Nudelsztcher [sic] typed above it instead. Incidentally, on the same US manifest, the London contact was his son, listed as Michael Needlestitcher [sic]

Admittedly the manifest was prepared ahead of time; it does state on the manifest that the travel documents were issued on February 2, presumably in London where the couple lived, and the ship departed on March 14th.

But for the life of me I cannot explain why a couple who had been using the Anglicized form of their name for at least thirty years prior to their trip had their last name changed on the manifest to the name used when Davis' family lived in Poland in the 1880s.

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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