Topics

"His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names


Bob Bloomberg
 

I did not say that anyone wrote a name down.  What I said was that people make mistakes, especially when overwhelmed, over worked  and maybe not paying strict attention.  Name tag or no, manifest or no, questions or no, mistakes were made, and names INADVERTENTLY were changed.  You might want to read Dahn Cukier's response.
 
What I don't understand is why people blame the discrepancies on points of embarkation, faulty manifests, whatever, but NEVER at Ellis Island.


Bob Bloomberg
 

Once again, a perfect, flawless system.  I am surprised we haven't copied it in other places. Just think: Any errors occurred before the immigrant arrived.  All immigrants had name tags that corresponded exactly with the manifest, which was clearly legible.  No one was rushed, harried, or bored. I am truly impressed.


Michele Lock
 

I have an example of how a first name got changed during the journey from Lithuania to the US, which likely could also happen to a surname.

I was looking into the couple Abram and Rose Schiffman, who came here about 1891 and whose children were all born here in the US, and who came from Lithuania, but where I didn't know. So, I was looking for a young couple, likely in their 20s, no children. And I quickly found an Abram and Therese Schiffman from Schalen (Siauliai) coming from Hamburg to NY, early 1892. What puzzled me was the name Therese, which I haven't seen before for a Jewish woman from Eastern Europe. Maybe this was the couple I was looking for, maybe not. 

Luckily, I have a photo of the couple's gravestone here in the US, which shows Rose's Yiddish name as Etta Reiza. I believe what happened is when either the tickets were purchased or when the couple arrived at the ship in Hamburg, that when her name was pronounced, the clerk only heard 'Ta Reiza', and he missed the 'Et' part. So, her name sounded like 'Therese', and was written down that way. She and her husband must have been confused during their journey and at Ellis Island why her first name was suddenly Therese, which to them would have sounded like 'Ta Reiza'. or possible 'Ta Reiz'. Perhaps this had an effect on her going by 'Rose', here in the US.

But still, I also believe that immigration officials here in the US did not change names. Mistakes/Mis-hearings/Miss-spellings would have happened at other times, either when the tickets were purchases her in the US or Europe, or when they arrived at the German ports and gave their names to the ship clerks.

I have a great aunt Mollie (Yiddish name Malke), who traveled here to Philadelphia under the name 'Mary Lack'. I was puzzled by this until I found her older brother here in the US had purchased her ticket, and must have given the clerk the name 'Mary'. She must have been very confused as to why she kept being called by Mary during her trip. 


Michele Lock
Alexandria, VA

Searching for:
Olitsky - Alytus, Lith.
Leybman/Leapman/Lippman - Dotnuva, Lith.
Lock/Lak/Lack - Zagare/Gruzd, Lith.
Kolon/Kalen/Colon - Joniskis/Zagare, Lith.


Sherri Bobish
 


Bob,

Manifests of passengers incoming to U.S. ports were written before the ship left the foreign port.

The names of the passengers were written down on the manifest at the foreign port. 

It's just like today, when people fly on planes.  A manifest of passengers on each plane is prepared before the plane ever takes off.  The manifest is not written after the plane lands at its destination.  It is written before departure.  Of course, it's all computerized today.

Regards,   Sherri Bobish, Princeton, NJ



Jules Levin
 

All the mistakes and incompetence in the world could not a change a
person's name against his will.  Why is that so difficult to get?   The
US did not care what name you used, that is what people are trying to
get thru to all the myth-clingers.  Can our current IRS with all its
incompetence and errors change your name on your tax form such that that
will be your new name??  That is what you are saying.


On 7/11/2020 8:58 AM, Bob Bloomberg wrote:
I did not say that anyone wrote a name down.  What I said was that
people make mistakes, especially when overwhelmed, over worked  and
maybe not paying strict attention.  Name tag or no, manifest or no,
questions or no, mistakes were made, and names INADVERTENTLY were
changed.  You might want to read Dahn Cukier's response.
What I don't understand is why people blame the discrepancies on
points of embarkation, faulty manifests, whatever, but NEVER at Ellis
Island.


Dahn Cukier
 

Mr. Bloomberg, I do claim the changes were made at point of departure.

It is at point of departure that the manifest was made, and the passenger ship
company was very careful that the manifest was correct. So much so that
when my GF's wife was not listed correctly, they were sent to
have the manifest corrected.

If there are no changes at EI, there are no mistakes due to EI.

I have found only one grandparent's name in Romania, the spelling at
EI is the same as his family name in the book Dorohoi. My GF arrived in 1913,
the book was compiled after WWII. His brother arrived (1907) with the same
name, but by 1913 he had changed the spelling.

I support the theory that names were NOT changed at Ellis Island.
I propose the theory that names were changed at point of departure
by the purser who was responsible for making out the manifest and
the spelling variations and changes were the difference between the
pronunciation and the local - to the port - language. Not every language
has the sounds of every other.

The back of manifest documents (1920) document what may be changed
by the Ellis Island people, names are not included.

Dani

If a Mexican named Jesus walked to Canada and boarded a ship without
documents how would his name be spelt?

When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas
(Gunsmoke)


On Saturday, July 11, 2020, 07:35:44 PM GMT+3, Bob Bloomberg <rpbrpb2012@...> wrote:


I did not say that anyone wrote a name down.  What I said was that people make mistakes, especially when overwhelmed, over worked  and maybe not paying strict attention.  Name tag or no, manifest or no, questions or no, mistakes were made, and names INADVERTENTLY were changed.  You might want to read Dahn Cukier's response.
 
What I don't understand is why people blame the discrepancies on points of embarkation, faulty manifests, whatever, but NEVER at Ellis Island.


Bob Bloomberg
 

Obviously the name was written at the point of departure.  I believe I said that in one of my posts.  That doesn't mean that names weren't written illegibly, spelled incorrectly, heard incorrectly.
 


Bob Bloomberg
 

I think you missed several posts.  Long ago the idea that names were changed on purpose was put to rest.  No one's name were changed against their will


Bob Bloomberg
 

I agree.  Names were changed at point of departure.  I do not agree that the officials at Ellis Island NEVER NEVER NEVER made a mistake


C Chaykin
 

Yes, it's possible that officials at Ellis Island may have made mistakes. But those mistakes did not result in name changes. 


Bob Bloomberg
 

Well, at least someone admits that the system wasn't perfect.  


Jx. Gx.
 

Hello Michele Lock.

Your account about Abram and Rose Schiffman reminded me about a similar incident involving my ggm, Shulieh Devorah Epstein, nee Zalman.
 

On the ship manifest her given name is spelled "Dwoire," an obvious phonetic misspelling of Devorah.  Her ticket was purchased in New York by her husband. The name Devorah is not an unusual or difficult to spell so its hard to understand how the steamship ticket agent could have misspelled her name so badly. The only two logical explanations I can come up with are (1) her husband spelled her name incorrectly on the ticket application and handed it to the agent who copied it exactly the way it was spelled on the application, or (2) her given name was actually spelled correctly on the ticket, but at the port of embarkation when she was asked her last name and first name the official may have heard her say what sounded like, "Dwoire" and made the spelling change that showed up on the final manifest. We can't overlook the fact that our ancestors spoke with a thick Yiddish/Eastern European accent.

     Searching for:
EPSTEIN, Abraham (Slutsk, Russia)
EPSTEIN, Phillip (Slutsk), 
ZALMAN, Azriel (Russia)
SEGNER/SEGNOR, Eve
PLOTKA, Zelig (Poland)
HOLAND, Ephraim Fishel
HOLAND, Heneh Yuteh
PLOTKIN, Sarah 

         


Barbara Mannlein <bsmannlein@...>
 

No mistake was made.  
Dwoire is a Yiddish spelling of Devorah.  Yiddish was the common languagege of most of Eastern Europe’s Jews. Proncunciation differed depending on region.  But in all cases, the w is pronounced “V”, and in German and Yiddish a final e is pronounced “eh”.    Think of the more common Rivke, also spelled Rifke, or with a final a.

Some Dwoire’s used Deborah / Devorah in the US while others used Dora, Doris, Mabel, Scarlet or whatever they wanted. 

Googling Dwoire brings up the following women being researched:
    Dwoire Zimmerman, Dwoire Tremel,  Dvoire Lebedow, Dwoire Mischkin, Dwoire Flitman,
    Dwoire Kleinman, Dwoire Wishnapolsky, Dwoire Kirsch,  Dwoire Pastanak,  

as well as a woman with that name listed as a Shoah victim and another Dwoire’s naturalization record.

Jewish Gen’s databases hold the late Prof Easterson’s GIVEN NAMES DATA BASE PROJECT.  I hope that it will be up and fully functioning soon.

Barbara Mannlein
Tucson, AZ


On Jul 13, 2020, at 10:52 AM, Jx. Gx. <mrme1914@...> wrote:
On the ship manifest her given name is spelled "Dwoire," an obvious phonetic misspelling of Devorah.  Her ticket was purchased in New York by her husband. The name Devorah is not an unusual or difficult to spell so its hard to understand how the steamship ticket agent could have misspelled her name so badly.

The only two logical explanations I can come up with are (1) her husband spelled her name incorrectly on the ticket application and handed it to the agent who copied it exactly the way it was spelled on the application, or (2) her given name was actually spelled correctly on the ticket, but at the port of embarkation when she was asked her last name and first name the official may have heard her say what sounded like, "Dwoire" and made the spelling change that showed up on the final manifest. We can't overlook the fact that our ancestors spoke with a thick Yiddish/Eastern European accent.


Jules Levin
 

The name was not misspelled.  Dwoire is perfect Yiddish dialect spelling
of Dvora.  If you go to shul where Galitzianers pray, you will hear
"toire" for Torah.  "Misspelling" implies that there was some Academy of
Yiddish determining correct spelling in Latin letters.  It didn't exist.

Jules Levin


On 7/13/2020 10:52 AM, Jx. Gx. wrote:
Hello Michele Lock.

Your account about Abram and Rose Schiffman reminded me about a
similar incident involving my ggm, Shulieh Devorah Epstein, nee Zalman.

On the ship manifest her given name is spelled "Dwoire," an obvious
phonetic misspelling of Devorah.  Her ticket was purchased in New York
by her husband. The name Devorah is not an unusual or difficult to
spell so its hard to understand how the steamship ticket agent could
have misspelled her name so badly. The only two logical explanations I
can come up with are (1) her husband spelled her name incorrectly on
the ticket application and handed it to the agent who copied it
exactly the way it was spelled on the application, or (2) her given
name was actually spelled correctly on the ticket, but at the port of
embarkation when she was asked her last name and first name the
official may have heard her say what sounded like, "Dwoire" and made
the spelling change that showed up on the final manifest. We can't
overlook the fact that our ancestors spoke with a thick
Yiddish/Eastern European accent.

     Searching for:
EPSTEIN, Abraham (Slutsk, Russia)
EPSTEIN, Phillip (Slutsk),
ZALMAN, Azriel (Russia)
SEGNER/SEGNOR, Eve
PLOTKA, Zelig (Poland)
HOLAND, Ephraim Fishel
HOLAND, Heneh Yuteh
PLOTKIN, Sarah


Dick Plotz
 

Besides, the idea that names had a "correct" spelling was pretty much
confined to the upper classes until well into the twentieth century in
most of Europe and the United States. People spelled their own names
and other people's names however they sounded to them. I've seen 19th
century vital records from *cities* in Germany from the 19th century
in which the same person's name was spelled three different ways, in
the same document! Spelling simply wasn't a salient feature of names,
for most people.

Dick Plotz
Providence RI USA


On Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 10:06 PM Jules Levin <ameliede@...> wrote:

The name was not misspelled. Dwoire is perfect Yiddish dialect spelling
of Dvora. If you go to shul where Galitzianers pray, you will hear
"toire" for Torah. "Misspelling" implies that there was some Academy of
Yiddish determining correct spelling in Latin letters. It didn't exist.

Jules Levin

On 7/13/2020 10:52 AM, Jx. Gx. wrote:

Hello Michele Lock.

Your account about Abram and Rose Schiffman reminded me about a
similar incident involving my ggm, Shulieh Devorah Epstein, nee Zalman.

On the ship manifest her given name is spelled "Dwoire," an obvious
phonetic misspelling of Devorah.


avivahpinski@verizon.net
 

You did not say which country Dwoire was from.  This is not a
misspelling at all.  The "w" is pronounced like a "v" in a number of
languages.  This would be a correct spelling in Poland, for example. 
You can't assume that
a spelling is wrong because it is not the current American spelling.  
Have you found any records for Dwoire in Europe so you can see her
spelling was in Europe?  Can you find the information for the ticket in NYC?

Avivah Pinski
near Philadelphia


On the ship manifest her given name is spelled "Dwoire," an obvious
phonetic misspelling of Devorah.  Her ticket was purchased in New York
by her husband. The name Devorah is not an unusual or difficult to spell
so its hard to understand how the steamship ticket agent could have
misspelled her name so badly. The only two logical explanations I can
come up with are (1) her husband spelled her name incorrectly on the
ticket application and handed it to the agent who copied it exactly the
way it was spelled on the application, or (2) her given name was
actually spelled correctly on the ticket, but at the port of embarkation
when she was asked her last name and first name the official may have
heard her say what sounded like, "Dwoire" and made the spelling change
that showed up on the final manifest. We can't overlook the fact that
our ancestors spoke with a thick Yiddish/Eastern European accent.
--
Avivah R. Z. Pinski ,  near Philadelphia, USA


spolon@...
 

The real and official yiddish name is Dwoire (Dvoyre) which can be found in Polish and Russian civil records. Devorah is the Biblical name which was not used in dayly life. Look for references A. Beider, A dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names, Avotaynu, 2001, p. 493. 
Max Polonovski, CGJ, Paris


Judy Floam
 

And Devorah seems to be the modern Hebrew use of the name, in Israel and in the U.S.  I don’t know if it would have been spelled that way in the  19th century.


Jx. Gx.
 

My hearty thanks to Barbara Manheim, Jules Levin, Avivah Pinski, Max Polonovski, Judy Floam, and  Dick Plotz, and anyone else I might have missed for sharing their valuable and insightful knowledge about by ggm's name, Dwoire.  She was from Slutsk, Russia.  I only saw this Yiddish spelling of her name on the ship's manifest.  After she got to America she used the name Celia and much later in life occasionally called herself Dora.  These latter names I believe were derived from her given Hebrew names, Shulieh Devorah that are inscribed on her headstone.

Jeffrey Gee
Arizona
.   


James
 

I recommend those interested in this "name changed at Ellis Island" topic check this very good article posted at the NY Public Library which does document one name change (and sex as well) but she was outed by the official and still allowed entry and let's move on:

https://www.nypl.org/blog/2013/07/02/name-changes-ellis-island

James Castellan