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False Surnames #belarus
Jack R. Braverman <jbraverman1@...>
Carol K. Cohn's recent mention of a relative who arrived in the
U.S. under an alias, yet never spoke of it again, suggested a
research trick which may be of value to those who can't quite
find the passenger list for the arrival of a relative--even when
there seems to be other evidence pointing to such an arrival.
Ms. Cohn referred to a Certificate of Arrival that helped her
realize that an alias surname had been used.
As the 1930s came to an end, and as more and more immigrants
realized that there were serious problems in Europe, many who
had procrastinated in the matter of citizenship decided that
"papers" were, after all, important to avoid possible
By this time, however, the government had evolved procedures
far in excess of simple Passenger Lists. One requirement for
citizenship application was a Certificate of Arrival issued
by the port authority where the person had actually landed.
The one in my possession listed _all_ the names ever used by
the person, including the one in use at the moment of landing.
A photo and physical description were attached.
Had it not been for this document, I would have never been able
to locate the actual Passenger Lists of these relatives, inasmuch
as they had used an alias in 1903, or so.
Like Ms. Cohn's family, this temporary surname had been lost to
the family's memory. Even a granddaughter close to her gma did
not know of it till I found the name.
Certificates of Arrival were generally attached to the naturalization
petitions, although copies may have been retained by the family. When
ordering such papers, be sure to emphasize you want _all_ pages (both
sides) of the Petition and of the Naturalization Certificate.
Better yet, do the work yourself.
I'm unsure how the Certificates can be found otherwise. There were
issued upon request, so there may not have been any central archive.
I don't know for sure. If anyone knows, we'd all be grateful for such
information, I'm sure.
* * * * *
The mutilation thread has been interesting and even intensely human.
I wonder if we could now turn to the question of the alias surname
How frequent was this deception used? Was the substitute name merely
a transliteration of the true surname into another language, as it
seems to have been in my case? What other motives could there have
been? Where did false European papers come from, and was a false
name part of the bargan?
Was a false document fabricated in a country other than the Pale,
and thus the surname was randomly chosen, perhaps in a different
Could false papers be had in the Pale? (Remember that at some point
in the 1890s, the Port of Hamburg demanded that immigrants be in
possession of exit visas >from their country of origin.)
Any insights would be equally interesting for us all.
Jessica Schein <jesshschein@...>
This subject is dear to my heart, well, my main frustration.
My paternal gf left Belarus to escape the draft in late 1904. His
petition for naturalization was filed in 1931 and did not contain a
Certificate of Arrival. BTW, the reason he filed the papers then was
that it was the last time wives would be included in their husband's
In any event, we have always known that he changed his name on the trip
over in fear of the long arm of the czar's law. My aunt said it was to
the name of the ship's captain, and she sort of gave me the original
name. At another time she gave me a different name. Her memory on the
subject wasn't too clear.
His naturalization papers gave a port of embarkation and date of arrival
in NY, but no ship name. I found a suitable ship. But no grandfather. I
checked every male "Hebrew" on the manifest for some sort of fit, but no
one came even close. As far as I could tell, no one in the ship's crew
had the name Schein either. I also checked other ships leaving >from the
same port for a few months before and after and for the same season the
years before and after.
So I have been wondering if he came on someone else's passport. If so,
could that person have been >from a different town, be a different age
(5 years) and marital status? Would a forged passport have his real
vitals or those of someone else?
I'm still hoping for a miracle even after 5 tries at the Passenger
Manifest. Maybe when the LDS listing goes on-line I'll find something.
I couldn't find a draft registration in 1917 or his marriage certificate
(checked the brides' index too). He had no close family in NY. This guy
was really keeping a low profile, everywhere I turn, I hit a dead end.
So, I'd love to hear what others have found about false documents.
Dave Lewak <dlewak@...>
With regards to the question about false papers:toggle quoted message Show quoted text
My grandfather was born in Balta, in what was then Russia,
but near the border to what was then Bessarabia, and near
Romania. In 1921, after the Bolshevik revolution, he and
his mother were smuggled out of Russia to Romania. They
found that they could not get not get an American Visa to
enter the USA with their Russian passport, since at that time
US did not recognize the Bolshevik government as legitimate.
They were able to obtain a Romanian passport by paying off
a political figure, and with that obtained an American Visa.
I learned through reading a small autobiography my grandfather
left behind. When I looked up my great-grandmother's passenger
ship list record recently, I found that it lists her home as
Galatz, Romania, which is where she bought her passport.
Were it not for the autobiography, I might have found the shiplist
record and assumed that Galatz was the family's town of orgin!!
Berkeley, Ca, USA
Belarus: LEWAK (LEVAK?), DWINSKI, GOLDBERG, KIER (>from Drogichin);
FLAKSMAN (>from Pinsk). Ukraine:MISHURIMAN, POLISHER, FLICKSTEIN,
TOBERMAN (>from Balta, and maybe Odessa);
Galicia: WINZELBERG, WERTHEIM (>from Chekhoif?);
Lithuania: LIEBERMAN (>from Balbieriska)
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