perpetuating misinformation about name changes at Ellis #lithuania


Carol Skydell <skydell@...>
 

To Barry and anyone else who thinks immigrants were "harrassed" and "given"
names at Ellis Island....

Names were *not* changed at Ellis Island as evidenced that
passengermanifests were *not* created at Ellis Island. The stories that
names were assigned at Ellis Island is pure myth, nothing more, nothing
less and only serves to perpetuate misinformation for those searching their
ancestry.
Passenger manifests were created (usually) by the purser of the ship under
the direction of the captain. Upon arrival at the port in the U.S. the
passenger manifest was *handed* to the immigration officials.
If a name was mispelled by the purser, and the immigrant was literate and
could point out the error to the immigration official, the name was
corrected on the manifest....
Most name changes came about as a result of the immigrant desire to
Americanize names and this usually happened some time after arrival. Try
comparing the passenger arrival record to what appears later in either city
directories, or on naturalization papers. Also bear in mind that
immigrants arrived with identification papers....and in some cases those
papers were false and can thus explain a name different than what the
family name actually was at the time....

There are legitimate reasons that names were changed, but the story that
they were changed at Ellis Island for whatever reason is not one of them.

Carol Skydell
Laguna Woods, CA

At 09:30 PM 3/21/99 -0500, you wrote:
Harris may have been the Anglicized name "given" an immigrant with a last
name such as Hersh (Gersh, or Girsh) or Hershowitz (Girshowitz, Girshovich,
et al.). In my family, Hyman Hirsh Perch (Peretz?) lost his last name to an
impatient immigration official who recorded his name as Hyman Harris. Just
another example of a Jewish immigrant being "harassed."

Barry Spinak