Use of Patronyms for Last Names: MICHALOWITZ instead of LURYA #warsaw #records

Marilyn Robinson

Today I found my maternal grandmother & her family on a Hamburg to New York passenger manifest (1891). Surprisingly, the family was listed as MICHALOWITZ instead of LURYA (or another spelling variation of this name).  In other instances, I found family members used Michalowitz, as well (birth & marriage records). The family was from Warsaw, then part of Russian Empire. Why would they use the patronym, or were they simply following Russian style when asked for their name and responded with 1st name + patronym; the questioner not understanding that the patronym was not the last name.

Marilyn Robinson

Judith Singer

Hi - I think it's more likely that the questioner understood the question but your maternal grandmother did not - or rather, because the Lurya surname was used only in formal and government documents, and generally not by fellow Jews, who used the patronymic in everyday conversation, she used the "surname" she was most familiar with. However, I would be more confident of this suggestion if your grandmother was from a small town rather than from Warsaw. I have gotten the impression that in larger cities at that time, the formal surname was used more consistently than in small shtetls. 

regards, Judith Singer

CHARNEY (also CHERNOFF and other variations) from Kavarskas, Vilkomir, and Kurkliai

Marilyn Robinson

The patronym used as a last name for my LURYA/LEVINE family on their immigrant ship was actually their father's patronym: Zalman Michalowitz LURYA (his father was Michal Lurya, from Lodz). Yet, his family continued using Michalowitz when asked for their names. Why didn't they use their own patronyms: ZALMANOWITZ; and Zalman's wife, Riwka/Rebecca use her own (her father's first name, Morris/Mosha/MOSHEOVITZ) instead of Michalovitz??
Thank you,
Marilyn Robinson

Jill Whitehead

My father's father's ánd father's mother's families did the same as Mailyn's.

My great grandfather Joseph Servian (Josiel SerwianskI) had three children who came with him to Liverpool in c 1875. One of those children born Baruch Serwianski used the names Barnett Servian, then Barnet Silverman and then when he emigrated again to USA in 1905, he called himself Barnet or Bernard Maxwell - after Joseph's father Mordecai. Joseph's daughter Leah died young of typhoid aged 16 in North Wales, and she was buried as Leah Max (again after Mordecai).

My other paternal great grandfather Nathan Abrahams (born Chackiel or Casper Ceglarski) reverted to the family patronym when they came to Manchester in 1867.  Both his father and son were called Abraham Abrahams or Abrams.

The Servians came from Sejny and the Abrahams came from Suwalki both in Suwalki gubernia. 

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK