One persistent problem in searching my maternal grandfather's side of the family is that my g-grandparents took all kinds of measures to obscure, twist, and disinform the world regarding their origins. Their daughter (my great aunt) insisted upon spelling her surname "Silverman" even though everyone else spelled it "Silberman" (which was always understood to not have been their surname in the old country); even her high school report card spelled it with a "v."
When I asked "Aunt Betty" about family history, she pleaded with me to not ask those kinds of questions and to "just leave it all alone."
Fast-forward 30-something years: In downsizing my mom's house I found, in the folder of "Aunt Betty's" nursing home admission (my mom had made all the arrangements), correspondence with a psychologist which noted that "Aunt Betty" lived in fear that Russian agents would kidnap her and take her back to the old country (she came here as an infant in 1901 +/-, and this was all during the Cold War years).
Though I found no "invented persons" in my own family in any Census record, one can readily imagine someone with a paranoia level on par with "Aunt Betty" and her parents inventing people in order to confuse their pursuers, real or imagined.
Ken Ryesky, Petach Tikva, Israel kenneth.ryesky@...
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