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Were surnames changed at Ellis Island, either voluntarily or involuntarily by Immigration Authorities, and then used in the U.S. after going through that Immigration Station? The current consensus is it didn't happen. But lots of Jewish (and Italian, etc.) families have surnames different from their "old country" roots. So what gives? Marian Smith came close in my opinion to the explanation for the legend by stating over two decades ago that the Ellis Island name change belief was an allegory of the immigrants felt experience in America which included pressures to adapt to their new culture, and outright discrimination and prejudice. It actually started with the immigration process that weeded out immigrants that could not fit into the U.S. and could be “Likely Public Charges”. That idea is called the "Ellis Island Experience". But then why didn't those immigrants and their ancestors just say, we changed our name to fit in, and it wasn't an easy decision? I think the answer may lie in a 2018 book by historian Kirsten Fermaglich: "A Rosenberg By Any Other Name: A History of Jewish Name Changing in America" where she documents a pushback of some Jews against the name changers. In that climate it would be easier to blame the system including Ellis Island then to take responsibility for the surname change. I'll address part of this controversy on the JewishGen Webinar series next month by looking at immigrant documents used during their transit from their European origins through Ellis Island. And I'll end with this Fermaglich quote from my submitted 55 minute video for the August 2020 IAJGS Virtual Conference: "I hope this book will replace mythical images of Hollywood movie stars [with name changes] and hapless Ellis Island immigrants with more nuanced portraits of American-born Jewish families escaping antisemitism at midcentury."
Dana Point, CA
Dana Point, CA
1. Фамилия, имя и отчество Браво Лев Беницианович
2. Год рождения 1922
3. Место рождения Город Гомель, Областной
4. Каким РВК призван, когда, В 1940, Гомельским горвоенкоматом
в какую часть и когда отправлен и отправлен в Каспийское Высшее
5. Военное звание Главный Старшина
6. Занимаемая должность в Сов. Армии Не известна
7. Когда прекратилась письменная связь В ноябре 1941 года
8. Воинский адрес по последнему Войсковая часть полевая почта письму или со слов товарищей 09291
9. Где проживал до призыва Город Гомель
10. Дополнительные сведения о 14 ноября 1941 года из училища
разыскиваемом: письма товарищей, направлен в распоряжение Военного
сообщение войсковых частей, Совета Северо-Кавказкого
свидетельские покозания, другие Военного Округа
(приложить к анкете)
11. При наличии сведений о гибели Не имеется
указать: где, месяц, число, где похоронен.
12. Кто разыскивает Браво Геня Лазаревна
13. Родственное отношение Мать
14. Подробный адрес заявителя БССР, город Гомель, улица Сазонова, 30
15. Личное заключение военкома После проверки по учетным данным целесообразно учесть пропавшим без вести.
ВОЕННЫЙ КОМИСАР ЖЕЛЕЗНОДОРОЖНОГО
РАЙОНА ГОРОДА ГОМЕЛЯ, гвардии
полковник подпись (ХМИЛЕНКО)
1. Surname, name and patronymic Bravo Lev Benitsianovich
2. Year of birth 1922
3. Place of birth City Gomel, Regional
4. What RVK is called up, when, in 1940, by the Gomel Military Commissariat
to which part and when sent the Caspian High military- Naval school
5. Military rank Chief Petty Officer
6. Position held in Sov. Army Unknown
7. When did the written communication cease In November 1941
8. Military address at the latest Military unit
field mail letter or from the words of comrades 09291
9. Where did Gomel
live before the call?
10. Additional information on November 14, 1941 from the Wanted: letters from comrades school sent to the Military
communication of military units, Council of the North Caucasus
testimonies, other Military District
(attach to application form)
11. If there is evidence of death Not available
indicate: where, month, date where buried.
12. Who is looking for Bravo Genya Lazarevna
13. Relationship Mother
14. Detailed address of the applicant BSSR, Gomel city, Sazonova street, 30
15. The personal conclusion of the military
commissar After checking the credentials, it is
advisable to take into account
to take into account the missing
MILITARY COMMISSION OF RAIL
AREAS OF THE CITY OF GOMEL, Guard
Colonel signature (KHMILENKO)
Re: 1764/1765 Revision lists #lithuania
The images are online. The view below was translated using Google Translate. You'll have to search among the records for the town. These are in Polish. so it should be recognizable.
Whitier Inn-NYC 1930s. More info on Sarah and grandson Tom #general
I am trying to confirm data appearing in someone's autobiography: Was
there a dance hall in NYC in the 1930s called Whitier Inn ?
To add to the data I wrote in my previous post regarding a Sara
ABRAMOWITZ and her grandson Tom: It seems that Tom's parents, Sarah's
daughter and her husband were divorced and Tom lived with his father
in Boston. Tom's mother and grandmother may have lived in the Sea Gate
area and Tom would visit his mother during the summers. Are Coney
Island and Sea Gate close to each other?
Yoni Ben-Ari, Jerusalem
p.s. If the general story sounds familiar to someone but have another
name rather than Tom I'd be happy to check it out.
JewishGen recruiting volunteer systems administrator #announcements
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It would be naive to think that every ship manifest was clearly readable. And it would be naive to think that every immigration officer, translator and immigrant spent enough time and cared enough to ensure that every name was written down exactly as it should have been. There are endless examples of name variations throughout the records, from one census to the next, from one document to the next. That said, I don't think any names were intentionally changed
Eva when the immigrants were called forward in turn they showed their landing card which contained their details including name, manifest page and number on page that had been copied from the original manifest on departure. The entries were then looked up on the appropriate manifest page. They had to confirm some details on the manifest and proceeded. It has been estimated that each immigrant might spend just 30 seconds with the clerk. See https://stevemorse.org/ellis/EllisMythNames.htm
Notice that your story is not about a change wrought by an official; ittoggle quoted messageShow quoted text
was merely personal advice, to be followed, or not, as the arriver
desired. No one is disputing that such events might have taken place.
Perhaps the immigration officer [by the way, half the immigration
officers at our southern border have Hispanic surnames] was himself a
landsman advising a new former countryman.
On 6/26/2020 4:39 AM, David Shapiro wrote:
Perhaps there was a difference between a full name change to a
Re: What "notions" means? #general
Deanna Levinsky <DEANNASMAC@...>
Notions used to mean sewing supplies, craft supplies and other small items women used. At that time most clothing was made at home or by a local seamstress so trimmings for a dress or hat or yarn to knit a sweater were bought from a store that sold “notions”
Also there was a notions section in department stores
Deanna Mandel Levinsky
Long Island New York--
Deanna Mandel Levinsky
Deanna M. Levinsky, Long Island, NY
Sara (ne ABRAMOWITZ) + grandson Tom b. about 1914 #usa
Very flimsy data but will try:
Researching a European born (1880s?) New Yorker Sara (maiden name
ABRAMOWITZ who had a grandson Tom who lived and/or studied in a
university in the Boston area.
Some other data possibilities: Sara came with her widowed mother to
New Haven probably around 1880s. Sara may have been married to a Sam
Cohen. They vacationed or lived on Coney Island during the mid 1930s.
Tom was born about 1912-14. His father may not have been Jewish. He
may have lived in the Sea Gate neighborhood in New York during the mid
1930s. He was Sara's grandson through her daughter (name unknown to
There are no official records for the above data and would be very
hard to extract such data with the scant info I have.
Yoni Ben-Ari, Jerusalem
1764/1765 Revision lists #lithuania
does anyone know where the 1764/1765 revision lists for Lithuania are available. I have seen some online for Sakiai, Yurburg and some others to name a few. I am looking for the Pasvalys revision list from this time. According to Miriam Weiner's Route to roots foundation website if you lookup Pasvalys it says that the 1765 revision list had survived and is listed with all the other Pasvalys revision lists under census . On Jewishgen however it is not there nor is it on Litvaksig . Is there another place where it could be? or is it not translated?
Thanks, Elani L. Joseph
For the record, there was a medical check as well, and people withtoggle quoted messageShow quoted text
cholera were not admitted. A significant % of passengers were not
admitted for health reasons, so passenger liners had an incentive to
check for health at ports of entry. Your dramatic script for the
arrival scene does not comport with the known facts. Actually, there is
a simpler theory to account for the myth: the real weak link in the
chain was not the arrival but the departure in Europe. By the way, all
ships' manifests still exist: an unreadable entry would not be a
hypothetical, but a matter of record. To quote Liza Doolittle: show me!
On 6/26/2020 6:02 AM, Eva Lawrence wrote:
This idea of a perfect bureaucracy is just not possible. No doubt it
I made an error in the numbers- 18,000 ships.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
On 6/26/2020 9:37 AM, Susan&David wrote:
What "notions" means? #general
In 1893-1903, in several editions of a City Directory, the occupation of a particular person was listed as "carpenter", then "grocer", and in the last listing "notions". No question about carpenter and grocer, but what the "notions" could mean in the context of occupation?
Name Changes on Passenger Lists #general
toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
As a member of the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) https://www.immigrantships.net/
I have seen thousands of ship's passenger list pages. Check marks, BSI notations, X marks, brief notations of many kinds are ubiquitous.
The ISTG requires a transcription to include every dotted i and every crossed t, with explanations of anything unusual, e.g. a name was spelled one way on the manifest but another way on the Detained Aliens list.
ISTG members have transcribed more than 180,000 ships, hundreds of thousand of pages. On their website is a search box. I entered "Name change" in quotes. and came up with 28 instances. This one is from one of my own ships, arriving Seattle from Japan in 1941 with Sugihara refugees. It is the one and only entry in the entire database with a name change notation on the manifest, and it applies to the given name. There are a small number within the 28 with alternate spellings, probably as clarifications, but not actual changes.
Almost all the ISTG transcribers will submit manifests for their own family member's arrival. They add notes to explain name changes within there own family as they took place in subsequent years, never at the time of arrival.
On 6/25/2020 10:52 PM, Roger Lustig via groups.jewishgen.org wrote:
> Check marks were most of what the officials /did/ write on the > manifests, and they're generally quite large. What manifests are you > referring to? > > Roger Lustig Princeton, NJ USA research coordinator, GerSIGoger: I agree with you. As a mw
(for girl in poland) - Nesseha
This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks
One of the most powerful Yizkor book passages I have read contains the words of Rabbi Nahum Moshele who spoke to a throng of Jews who were about to be slaughtered In Kovel (Ukraine). What he said was remembered by Ben-Zion Sher in a chapter from the Yizkor book titled “Thus the City was Destroyed.” This excerpt, subtitled “The Vast Slaughter in Brisk Square,” recounts the massacre and how Sher survived it.
Scholars have described what Moshele said as being in the tradition of “Kiddush Hashem” — religious martyrdom in a time of persecution. One writer cited Moshele’s speech in his exploration of how the Jews found the spiritual power to endure their suffering.
In a voice choked with tears, Moshele laments that “our flame is extinguished” and that “No one will come to prostrate themselves on our graves, no one will say Kaddish for us, no one will hold memories of us in his heart.” He says the people have sinned but asks the Lord what sins have been committed by the children and infants “that your wrath be spilled upon them?”
He ends with a confirmation of faith.
““Jews, we are approaching martyrdom. Let us be united as one person. Let us go to our deaths with gladdened hearts. This horrible moment shall pass, and the merciful Lord above us will give our souls repose under His wings.”
I should mention that, after more than 10 years, the Kovel book translation has now been completed.
Silver Spring MD
Re: JewishGen Discussion Group re: KAMINSKY #names
As for the red hair, king David was a red head and every unit in the Israeli army was supposed to have at least one individual who was a red head , a descendant of Zwingli David
In the left corner:
22 марта 1946
Москва 175 268
In the center:
Центральное бюро учета потерь Красной Армии.
г. Москва, 19, Ул. Фрунзе, 19
Копия: Браво Г. Л.
Уз.ССР, Андижанская Обл.
Станция Грунч-Мазар, до востребования.
Препровождая письмо гражданина Браво Г.Л. о розыске Браво Льва Бенциановича, прошу проверить его по вашему учету и ответ сообщить заявительнице.
На учете в управлении кадров Офицерского состава и по учетным данным Центрального Бюро учета потерь Военно-Морских Сил Баво Л. Б. не числится.
Приложение: по тексту только одному адресату
Зав. Бюро писем Коняева
Translate into English:
In the left corner:
March 22, 1946
Moscow 175 268
In the center:
The Central Bureau of Accounting for Losses of the Red Army.
Moscow, 19, St. Frunze, 19
Copy: Bravo G. L.
Uz.SSR, Andijan Region.
Grunch-Mazar station, on demand.
Forwarding a letter from citizen Bravo G.L. about the search for Bravo Lev Bentsianovich, please check it on your account and inform the applicant about the answer.
Registered in the personnel management of the Officers and according to the credentials of the Central Bureau of Accounting for Losses of the Navy, Bavo L. B. is not listed.
Appendix: in the text to only one addressee
Head of Department
Head of Bureau of Letters Konyaeva
This idea of a perfect bureaucracy is just not possible. No doubt it was in the authorities' interests to present a picture of infallibility, in order to scare people into compliance, but but you only have to think of a ship full of excitable and exhausted immigrants, some suffering from cholera, perhaps, many of them filthy from the long voyage in a crowded steamship belching smoke and reliant only on sea-water for washing, to realise that the situation at Ellis Island can't have been as orderly as some of you imagine it, and that the well-trained clerks or the people they were interrogating, may sometimes have suffered from an understandable impatience when the clerks couldn't read the captain's bad hand-writing on the manifest or didn't understand a particularly thick local dialect. The clerks wanted to get home for their supper, the passengers just wanted to reach dry land, so shoulders were shrugged and a name change sanctioned..
I'm not saying that name-changes were the rule, or aren't sometimes just a glib excuse for lack of research, but no-one can be positive that they couldn't have occurred, whether willingly or unwillingly..
St Albans, UK.