Name changes before emigrating #romania #names

Nina Tobias

Hello again to everyone,

There is a story floating around my family that I would very much like to debunk or establish as fact. 

My great-uncle Max Swarttz was the first of my maternal grandfather's immediate family to emigrate to the United States. I have not yet found an arrival record for him but various other sources point to 1881, most likely in Philadelphia.

The story, according to a first cousin of mine, is that the name in Iasi was not Swarttz but Markowitz and that Max took on the name of some orphans he was traveling with. Max had great success in the clothing business (surprise!) and, in 1902, sponsored the emigration of his widower father and his much younger siblings, Leon (my grandfather) and Clara. According to the documentation from the Special Board of Inquiry, the family name for those about to travel was Schwartz - obviously a misspelling of Swarttz.

My question is this: if the family left behind in Iasi were indeed Markowitz, how easy would it have been for the Markowitz's to establish themselves as "Swarttz" to travel to the United States? Was there any formal documentation required when travelers purchased tickets?

With thanks,

Nina Tobias
Scottsdale, Arizona

Researching: HOROWITZ (Iasi, Romania; Odessa)
                      SWARTZ (Iasi, Romania; Philadelphia; Chicago)
                      TOBIAS (Rymanow, Galicia; Chicago)
,                     VOROBYEV, GOLDMAN, VERB (Russia; Chicago)

Peninah Zilberman

Hi Nina,
Interesting Swarttz spelling, double " tt"
There were many ways for traveling
Possible the person who purchased and paid for the tick. Had a different last name  , at the time of traveling something came up and couldn't they sold under the same name
Once u were on the boat , no one checked  and if they did u would give them money, a piece of Jewlery, 
Everyone knew how important it is to be away from the home country
When arrival in usa, entered by the tick.
No judgements
Have u tried to contact IASI, ARCHIVES, to get a birth certificate under the MOSCOVICI last name?
Good luck
Peninah Zilberman

Fundatia Tarbut Sighet
+40 74 414 5351

Peninah Zilberman

Sorry Marcovici

Fundatia Tarbut Sighet
+40 74 414 5351

j <antiqco@...>

As far as the spelling variants are not necessarily wrong. You can find different spellings for the same family. My own Scheuer family in official records has several spellings from Scheuer to Scheier, to Sczayer. In American records it is sometimes Schoyer. That's why Jewishgen and other genealogical sites provide soundex searches. 
There are many strange stories about how names got changed. In my own family, I know that his grandfather definitely came to the US, the family here paid his passage, but no one in the family ever saw him here. He changed his name and disappeared, abandoning his wife and child. Sadly, it wasn't that uncommon. In other cases, the person just didn't like their name. My granddad from Lithuania got on the boat as Scharje Nuran and got off the boat as Reuben Neuren. In your case, coming from Lasi, Rumania, you may never be able to figure it out. I think Lasi had the largest Jewish population or the second largest in Rumania. Interesting, my husband's lost grandfather was Davod Marcus married to Yetta Schwartz, all from Lasi.
Janet Marcus

Linda Lang

My family also emigrated from Odessa. Because my grandfather was already conscripted into the army, he had to change the family name before leaving to avoid detection from the Russian army. Papers were forged to achieve this. Hope this helps.