Re: New Find Raises Questions about Family Name: #poland #names

Lee Jaffe

In answer to one of your questions, I'd guess (yes, it's a guess) that they adopted the name Grossman in the US as part of the general trend towards assimilation.  I've heard repeatedly from the librarians at CJH that German-sounding names were preferred because they were deemed higher status, as well as easier to pronounce and spell.  (My version only makes sense, however, until you discover your family was indeed named Grossman before emigrating.)

Also, as well as looking at UK Outward Passenger lists, you might want to see if your family appears on records of departing Hamburg passengers, which may have more information.  That is possibly the first leg of their journey and you know about when they got to Glasgow, which may help narrow your search. They may also be traveling under the same names -- approximately -- as found on the Glasgow to NY leg.

Your question raises another that has intrigued me: What paperwork did US Immigration issue to arriving passengers?  I've never seen -- or heard of -- a copy of any documents carried away by new immigrants.  The myth of name changes at Ellis Island presumes that people walked away with a piece of official paper with their new name assignment: otherwise, what compelled people to adopt the new name?  And it is hard to imagine in our day that someone could cross a border, much less immigrate to a new country without receiving paperwork to prove to arrived and took up residence legally.  Yet, for all the naturalization records I've reviewed -- many with arrival information left blank -- and all of the discussions about passenger records, I've never come across any indication of papers issued to new immigrants.   Can anyone on the list clarify what paperwork was produced during the arrival?  Thanks.

Lee Jaffe
whose ggf Mendel SZTEJNSAPIR travelled Hamburg to Hull and Liverpool to NYC as Mendel SAPIER and became an upstanding US citizen named Mendel STEIN.  My ggm Ella followed with 2 children, listed on the manifest as STEINSAPPER.

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