Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names

To Mashiach:  Thank you for correctly summarizing the Ellis Island name
situation in your maingroups note below.   As you noted, if someone did
not want to use their name on the manifest or change their name, they
had the option of putting the name they wanted to be their legal name on
their citizenship papers.  This was a standard procedure and did not
cost anything extra. I am mentoring many refugees who have come into
Philadelphia in the last ten years, and they continue to have name
problems for a variety of reasons, including the fact that many
countries have different naming patterns and alphabets. In many of the
Mideastern and African countries husbands and wives do not have the same
last name and have a number of names. These individuals can make name
changes and choices when they get their citizenship papers.  So things
haven't changed that much!

I grew up in NYC hearing an Ellis Island joke.  I just googled it and
found the story as follows:
Awell-worn joke in American Jewish culture
like this. A Jewish immigrant landed at Ellis Island in New York. The
procedures were confusing, and he was overwhelmed by the commotion. When
one of the officials asked him “What is your name?” he replied, “Shayn
fergessen,” which in Yiddish means “I’ve already forgotten.” The
official then recorded his name as Sean Ferguson.

The web site listed above has a full discussion of the name change
stories at Ellis Island, so I hope that this can put the whole matter to
rest on Maingroups.

Avivah Pinski
near Philadelphia

From: Mashiach L. Bjorklund
Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2020 08:56:58 EDT

Sorry if someone might have alluded to this answer earlier. This is a
long thread and towards the end I just skimmed the posts. As many have
said, names did not change at Castle Garden, Ellis Island, or any of the
many other ports of entry. The name on the manifest is the name they
used - period. So where did the name changes occur? Answer: When they
bought their ticket. Tickets were purchased at ticket offices across the
continent and in the UK. Steamship lines had ticket offices located in
most major cities. At the point they bought their ticket their name had
to be translated/transliterated into the language of the country of
their destination. For the USA that was English. For people from the UK,
Italy, Germany, etc. that translation was minimal if any at all and was
often very similar to their original name. For people from Russia,
Poland, AKA the Pale that meant Cyrillic or Hebrew/Yiddish to English. A
much more difficult translation. To compound the problem many people
were illiterate, so their name was given verbally to the ticket agent.
So how did the ticket agent choose the name they got? Many had postal
directories from New York City, as well as a few other major US cities.
They thumbed through the directories until they found a name they
thought fit the bill. This is often why people like brothers, or other
close family members, ended up in the US with different surnames. They
bought their tickets at different times or different offices or from
different ticket agents. The bottom line is they got their name and then
that name on their ticket had to match the name on the ships manifest in
order for them to board for passage. The manifest was then turned over
to the port of entry (unaltered) on arrival and their name had to match
the manifest in order for them to legally enter the country. Any
discrepancy and back they went, at the steamship companies expense. Now
*after they entered the country and became residents they were free to
change their name again if they so desired. *Many did to Americanize it.
For instance Pinkowitz became Pincourt, Kvint became Quint, etc.. *Many
changed their name upon becoming US citizens. Find their citizenship
documents and you will often find two names. The one they immigrated
with and the one they now choose to be called by which from the point of
citizenship became their legal name.* I hope this clears up some of the
Avivah R. Z. Pinski ,  near Philadelphia, USA

Re: USA passport research #usa

Molly Staub

Hi All, 

My paternal grandfather Einoch Harast arrived in New York (heading to Philadelphia) in 1907. HIAS located him as entering Great Britain in 1917, name now became Emil Harost,  because his father in Russia was dying. I know he wouldn't have needed a passport to come to the U.S., but wouldn't he have needed one to return to Russia? I've looked but can't seem to find one. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Molly Arost Staub

Harast/Arost,  Shtofman, Berenson, Groffman/Graffman

Re: ancestry look up #general

Lin Herz

Dear David,
I found the information you requested and sent it to you. Just wanted others to know so they needn't duplicate. Best of luck with your genealogical research. Stay safe and well.

Lin Herz
Palm Bay, Florida

Re: Settlements in Curaçao and St. Thomas #sephardic

John Anderson

With thanks to all the responders.....all indications are that U.S. Columbia refers to Panama.

John Anderson

Re: Question on DNA and Cohenim #dna

Adam Cherson

@Jeffrey Herrmann,

I had to giggle a little when I read your note because I have also undergone that journey ;-)
One thing is for certain: what we think we know today won't be the same as what we think we know tomorrow!
Most likely there are numerous persons on your twig, they just haven't taken the plunge into DNA testing. You are a pioneer into your sub-tree, which surely contains fabulous undiscovered mysteries.
Hopefully those mysteries will be made clear during our lifetimes.

@Jill Whitehead, Please see my next comment. If the Hammer report is correct, then there are some G persons who come from a Cohanic tradition.

@Stephen Weinstein: You raise some interesting points. For purposes of clarity I usually refer to Cohanim  and y-chromosome Aharons as being two distinct categories. Your explanation makes clear that not all y-chromosome Aharons are Cohanim, strictly speaking under Halakhic law. But one needs to be careful here because strictly speaking under Halakhic law, there can be no non-y-chromosome Aharons who are Cohanim, and yet there are apparently many R-M269 Cohanim (according to the Hammer report). I believe there has to be a Rabbinical interpretation of the definition of Cohanim to include also persons who by tradition have become Cohanim, but do not express Aharon's y-chromosome. The purpose of all of this is not to exclude some Cohanim who are not descended from y-chromosome Aharon from the priesthood but to explain and accept how the necessities of how random human reproduction sometimes require cultural adjustment to our ways of thinking.

What I find fascinating about today's discussion landscape is that it is becoming evident that certain parts of the Old Testament are more than postdictional metaphor; certain parts seem to be revealing actual geneaological and social facts which can be merged with DNA, linguistic, and archaeological evidence to build a fuller picture of human history and Jewish history.

Kudos to you and to everyone working in this field!

Have a Splendid Day,

Re: Genealogical Research in Argentina. corrections and additons to my previous post #latinamerica #general


Thanks for your detailed post. 
Following website provides some people search services in Argentina (for a fee). What do you think about this site: Is it worth trying? is it not a scam?

Semion Sucholutsky

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


Here's my name change story:

We arrived in the US in NYC on January 20, 1951, under the Displaced Persons Act. "We" means my mother and my two maternal grandparents, my Mom's younger brother Joe, and me. My biological father had died of food poisoning in September 1949, in Frankfurt, a few months before I was born. I was born in Amberg, in the American Zone of Occupation, and my family had been in Germany since 1946, having lived at DP camps at Hof-Saale, Degendorf, Regensberg, and finally in Amberg. 

We arrived aboard the troop ship General C.H. Muir. I caught measles on board, so Mom and I were quarantined for 10 days at Ellis Island, while the rest of the family disembarked normally at the West Side piers in NYC. HIAS housed and fed us for a few weeks in NYC, and then sent us by train to Baltimore, where our sponsor, Mom's Uncle Leo and his family, were waiting for us. 

Anyway, on to the name change: Even as a young child, I heard the name Przedborksi, and somehow knew that it used to be my grandparents' surname, which was now Preston. So I asked my Mom what happened, and she said "the man at Ellis Island changed it." So that was enough to satisfy a 7-year-old, and I didn't think about it for years.

Then, in my late 30's, at some family gathering, I related the story to a friend or relative, and Mom, overhearing me, said, "That's not what happened! I changed it."

So the real story is that we arrived in the US as Przedborski, and Mom, wanting to be a American, knew that this was not a "good American name." She picked up the Baltimore telephone book and looked for names starting with P-R-E (forget the "z", she said!) and once her eyes fixed on "Preston," she knew she had found her new name. So she went to court and had our name legally changed to Preston within the first few months of residing in America. 

In the late 50's, my Uncle Joe (my de facto big brother, just 5 years older than me,) and I used to watch "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" on our enormous Philco tv with the diminutive screen, and we thought we were somehow related to the heroic title character. 

ancestry look up #general

David Fisher

Would someone be so kind as to do the following look up for me-

Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974      
View Image
Record information.
Israel M Sklarman
location mm/1908

Thank you in anticipation
Dave Fisher

JGS of Greater Boston Zoom Program -The Lost Family with journalist Libby Copeland Tuesday July 14 at 6:30PM EST #announcements #events

Jessie Klein

Have you had your DNA tested? Were your results surprising? If so, you’re not alone. Journalist Libby Copeland will share some of the stories she discovered while researching her book, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are.

Tuesday July 14 6:30PM EST. via Zoom

The program is free but you must register at

Questions: Contact president@...

Jessie Klein

Re: #belarus #hungary #holocaust #belarus #hungary #holocaust


Dear Ms. Shamian Grunfeld                                                                                  10th July 2020

My apology, if my memory is not mistaken, we may have exchanged e-mails in the past: re our Grunfeld Ancestors.

I did attempt to contact Eva Grunfeld--in Budapest--unfortunately I was told that sadly she passed away.

Sadly, time and time again I experience 'I am attempting to navigate in a blind alley.

If I am not mistaken--Noach ? Grunfeld may have been a son / or grandson of the Litcheke Rabbi. 

There is a 'sefer' / book about the Litcheke Dynasty--unfortunately  to my knowledge it is not available in English. -- 

I wonder, did you try to contact the Editors of the Paper?  Hirek from the elhurcoltakrol?  News/Information about the Deported.?

If I receive any info, I will update you..

Best wishes

Veronika Pachtinger

Re: Settlements in Curaçao and St. Thomas #sephardic

EdrieAnne Broughton

Hi John,
I found that Hilda LINDO's married name is Hilda MADURO.
A 1927 passenger manifest shows Hilda MADURO & other family arriving in San Francisco.
That manifest gives her birthplace and citizenship as Panama.  The area that became Panama was part of Colombia until 1903.

Here is one scenario why 1900 census would give her birthplace as "US Columbia." 
The Panama Canal Zone was an unincorporated territory of the United States from 1903 to 1979.  That was officially.  Prior to 1903, as in 1881 the French began construction of the canal.  They pulled out due to sickness and engineering problems.  At that point it was controlled by Colombia but the US was pulling lots of strings.  By 1903 the US took over construction, but ownership was pretty fluid in the interim.   I found another ship's manifest from the summer of 1926, with Delia with husband Samuel and daughter Olga.  The purpose of the trip to San Francisco from Panama was pleasure, however Samuel,a merchant ,died in San Francisco in October and was buried in one of the cemeteries in Colma.  Delia went back to Panama, dying there in 1944.  Her ashes were returned to San Francisco.
EdrieAnne Broughton
Vacaville, California

Need translation from Yiddish #translation


I am in need of translation from Yiddish to English of a letter written from my great-grandfather from Russia to my grandfather in the US, written sometime between 1920-1940.
Any help would be appreciated.
Please e-mail me directly: sjrstrauss@...  

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

Diane Jacobs

As these are examples of spelling changes and not name changes, I would remind all
that the first rule of Jewish genealogy is
"Spelling does not count".  If you want to be successful, you need to cast a wide net.

Diane Jacobs 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: collectorden <collectorden@...>
Date: 7/9/20 9:12 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: main@...
Subject: [] Name Variations (was: "His name was changed at Ellis Island") #names

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 given name.

Being of Irish descent, where you're surname represents your clan, it took me a while to absorb all the surname variations.

Dennis Donovan
Florida, USA
Diane Jacobs, Somerset, New Jersey

Re: parents as "cousins" on #dna

Todd Leavitt

My wife and I share 85 cMs of DNA. The likely  MRCA would be someone from Bialystok, where both of our maternal lines resided. I concur with the challenges created by  Ashkenazi endogamy. One of my FTDNA kit reflects more than 30000 "cousin" matches! Unless the match exceeds 175 cMs (and at least a 20 cM longest block] I have never succeeded in connecting the dots to the individual.
Note that GEDMatch has a utility that will "predict" if your parents are "related" .

Re: Russian Translation #ukraine #translation


In Rusian:


На память дорогой сестре Иды Шифман от любящего брата Исаака Шифмана.


Художественная фотография Розенмана в Бердичеве.

Портреты сохраняются.

Специальное ателье художественных портретов. 


Translate into English:


In memory of the dear sister of Ida (?) Shifman from the loving brother of Isaac Shifman.


Art photo of Rosenman in Berdichev.

Portraits are saved.

Special studio of art portraits.

Translation request - Polish to English #translation #poland

Elizabeth Jackson

The attached record in Polish is a birth record for my great Aunt Krajndla Klepfisz.  I would appreciate as complete a translation as possible.  Thank you in advance for any assistance you may provide. 

You may respond privately to me at:  cattheater@...

Elizabeth Jackson


finding Yosef BARMATZ #poland #belarus #holocaust #israel


I am trying to locate any possible relatives of Yosef BARMATZ, who submitted the page of testimony to Yad Vashem regarding Tuvia EDERMAN (see attachment). If I am reading the testimony correctly, Yosef lived in Ramat Gan, Israel after the war. Yosef submitted a number of pages of testimony, and it looks like he submitted one for his brother, Elia BARMATZ (1911-1942) and that his parents were Ze'ev and Ester. These pages were submitted in 1956. If there is anyone can put me in touch with his descendants, I would greatly appreciate it.
Tammy Weingarten
searching: EDERMAN, SIROTA, KLESZCZELSKI from Bielsk Podlaski

moderated Re: ViewMate translation request - Russian #translation


VM 82958

In Russian:


Состоялось в посаде Янов, 17-го марта 1873-го года в 5 часов вечера явился еврей, верующий, Сруль Либерман с евреями Мошкой Желязо 20-и лет, сына Меера и Мнухи, супругов Желязо, проживающих в деревне Вроблин и еврейкой девицей Хаи Котляр, семнадцати лет, согласно метрическому свидетельству, дочерью Пейсаха и Шейны, супругов Кетляр, при родителях в посаде Янов проживающих, в присутствии Меера Желязо, отца жениха и Пейсаха Кетлера, отца невесты и свидетелей евреев Мошки Фейнбиха, торговца, 66-и лет и Гершки Мозел, торговца, сорока лет живущих в посаде Янов, объявили, что сего числа и года в этом городе заключен брак между Мошкой Желязо и Хаей Кетлер, что перед бракосочетанием последовало три оглашения в Яновской синагоге при боголужении в присутствии молящихся, 3-го, 10-го и 17-го марта 1873-го года и что препядствия сему браку не встречалось.  Новобрачные объявили, что они перед бракосочетанием никокого контракта не заключали.

Акт сей присутствующим и свидетелям прочитан и всеми подписан.

Подпись Подпись Подпись Подпись 


Translate into English:


It was held at Yanov Posad, on March 17, 1873, at 5 pm, a Jew, a believer, Srul Lieberman with Jews Moshka Zhelyazo, 20 years old, son of Meer and Mnuha, spouses Zhelyazo living in the village of Vroblin and Jewish girl Khaya Kotlyar appeared , seventeen years old, according to the metric certificate, the daughter of Peysakh and Sheina, the Ketler spouses, with their parents in the Posad Yanov living in the presence of Meyer Zhelyazo, the father of the groom and Peysakh Ketler, the father of the bride and Jewish witnesses Moshka Feinbich, a merchant, 66 years old and Gershka Mosel, a merchant, forty years of living in Yanov Posad, announced that this day and year in this city a marriage was made between Moshka Zhelyazo and Khaya Ketler, that before the wedding there were three pronouncements in the Yanov synagogue with prayer in the presence of worshipers, 3rd, 10th and on March 17th, 1873, and that there were no obstacles to this marriage. The newlyweds announced that they did not conclude any contract before the marriage.

This act has been read to those present and witnesses and signed by all.

Signature Signature Signature Signature

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


Hi Jeremy,

Your Noodle case is quite a puzzle.  All I can tell you is the identifying information (like name) on the US manifest in 1935 had to match their travel documents.  To enter the US in 1935 they would require both a passport and a US non-immigrant visa (he'd have to show the passport to get the visa).  You say he wasn't naturalized in UK until the next year, 1936, so would the UK have issued him a passport in/before 1935?  Or would he still have an older passport with perhaps an "older" name?

That might explain the amended manifest, which could have begun with the name he gave when purchasing the ticket but was updated after he showed his US nonimmigrant visa to the SS Company (all before the ship sailed).

It is important to understand the role of those travel documents in preparation of the US manifests.  The name change story really doesn't apply after 1918 when the US began requiring passports, since the manifest name was to be based on the passport document.  Any variation should be a typo or similar error.  Beginning July 1, 1924, the manifest information came from the US immigrant visa which included a certified copy of their birth record.  Non-immigrant visas (like the Noodle's), as noted above, would reflect a name on a passport.  My point is these documentary requirements beginning 1918 ended the previous "free for all" game of telephone that generated earlier passenger list data.

Marian Smith

Re: Trying to find family information #general #poland #usa


Can you be more specific about what you are looking for?  On,  I found your "Rose Miner family tree" under the user nameazcwgrl62 where you have a start at researching this family.

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