Same person listed on two passenger manifests within ten days #general
In researching my ggrandmother's family, the Taitelbaum's and
Berzhansky's, I came across something quite strange: two passenger
manifests, both listing a Mendel Bersansky, both 34 years old,
married, shoemakers, >from Utien (one says Zian but presumably a
spelling mistake). Both records are >from November 1904:
One sailed >from Hamburg, Nov 5th - 16th.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JNSW-SPK - line 9 in manifest
The other sailed >from Rotterdam, Nov 11th - 25th.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JNSC-WWL - line 2 in manifest
The dates (seemingly) make it impossible for it to be the same person
on both boats.
On the other hand, it seems incredibly improbable that there were two
people with such exact same stats, and in fact I can only find records
of one such person, a Mendel Berzhansky, shoemaker, son of Ezra, born
1871, >from Utien/Utena.
I wonder if anyone has run into something like this before and/or has any ideas.
I have a somewhat fanciful idea, that perhaps Mendel bought two
different tickets, and then someone else, perhaps his cousin's
husband, my gggrandfather Max Teitelbaum, travelled under his name.
Perhaps evading the draft or something similar.
I've also considered the possibility that it was the same person, and
he was rejected the first time, and "snuck back into another line",
but that also seems improbably, as the ship ought to have records of
who was supposed to be on. Also, on the earlier manifest, next to his
name is stamped "admitted", so I assume that means he wasn't rejected.
Can anybody think of a better idea? Is my idea of someone else
traveling under Mendel's name plausible?
Ps. Thanks for the responses to my earlier post. No resolution of the
mystery yet, but I did get a couple of nice responses, including some
very good info on the Taitelbaum's in Odessa.
A. E. Jordan
From: Yaakov Dovid
...it seems incredibly improbable that there were two people with such exactThere is a much simpler explanation .... Mendel missed the boat the first time.
Is his name crossed out on the first passenger list?
In all likelihood he failed to get to the port in time or he was ill when he
arrived at the embarkation port or something was not in order in the shipping
line did not let him board the first ship. However by the time the next
sailing was going everything was in order and he boarded the second ship.
Of course, I guess it is possible he came up with complex situation you are
suggesting of buying multiple tickets to share one with someone else but that
presents the question of where did he money for two tickets?
Remember most people arrived at the port with no identification other than
their word. Passports did not exist and many were in effect leaving their
countries without papers or even illegally. So unless there was a wanted
poster or something extremely abnormal about the person they passed through as
long as they seemed healthy and strong and had sufficient money in their pocket.
Remember the US authorities wanted to know that the person was healthy and had
some place to go when they arrived. They required a small amount of money as
well so the person was not indigent and walking the streets. For the shipping
lines it was important to ensure the person would meet the basic tests because
if they were detained on Ellis Island and sent back it was at the shipping
line's expense. It was the shipping lines responsibility if the person was
rejected to get the person back to their point of embarkation.
It is relatively common to have two cousins with the same name and
age and occupations often run in the family. It is also known to have
someone travel under a relative's name.
In this case, the first Mendel was flagged as "admitted" so he did
make the trip. Note that the two are going to join different people.
The first a cousin < Back in New York, and the second, a
brother-in-law David Rosenthal in Worcester, Mass. He does have a X
in the left column, but I don't know what that signified.
Lastly, Ancestry also shows the 2nd Mendel as being detained.
At 23/07/2019 09:23 AM, Yaakov Dovid Saxon email@example.com wrote:
In researching my ggrandmother's family, the Taitelbaum's andMODERATOR NOTE: An X in the left column of a passenger manifest indicated
that the passenger was detained. See the wonderful JewishGen InfoFile, "Manifest
The most plausible explanation is that two persons traveled under the same
name. Determining who was the "real one" and who was the "fake" is a
Since Alan Greenberg discovered that the first Mendel was admitted and the
second one was detained (was a reason listed? Is it know what happened to
him later?) the easiest assumption is that the first Mendel was the "real
one". Given the fact that the Russo-Japanese was in full swing by the late
1904, the second Mendel could well be someone else, e.g. 22 y.o., trying to
evade the draft and detained because he looked too young for his documents.
The real wild guess is that the first Mendel - for whatever reason - stood
vividly in memory of the immigration clerk who was surprised to see the same
name only 10 days later.
But these are all guesses. Researching both, the New York and the Worcester
families *may* shed light.
Barbara Sloan <bj1friends@...>
Allan Jordan stated, "Remember most people arrived at the port with no
identification other than their word. Passports did not exist and
many were in effect leaving their countries without papers or even
While I'm sure that is true in many cases and I can't speak to other
countries, I have a copy of my ggrandfather's passport >from Russia
from 1905, in which he traveled with three of his minor childrenlisted. It is written in Cyrillic (presumably Russian), German and
French. It is essentially the same format shown here:
It appears that he made several trips to and >from Russia until he had
brought his entire family to America, starting at least by 1897.
Russia had passports by at least early 1905, based on this. It's not a
stretch to think they existed in 1904, though a quick internet search
did not substantiate my opinion.