How to Find a Name Change #poland #names


Gail H. Marcus
 

Earlier this year, I posted a question (#655832) about a puzzling ship manifest someone found for me that looked like it might be my family (all 7 first names, birth order and approximate ages were right), but had a different surname (Penesuch instead of Grossman).  I received a number of helpful replies--many thanks to all who responded!!!  Since then, I have been trying to see if I can find some "proof"--that is, some record that connects the 2 names.  This has unearthed a new dilemma for me, and I am hoping someone can help me figure out a logical explanation for several discrepancies I am seeing.

Here is the background:  I have found a few records in Poland that "might" be some of my ancestors, but nothing linking the 2 names, or in fact, linking any of the names to each other, so I thought I would see if any of the naturalization records referenced the former name.  In the first place, I don't see where a name change should be indicated.  I don't see a place for it on the declaration and petition forms, so it would help me to understand where I should be looking for this information.  In the second place, I have 3 records for brothers who should have traveled together.  They all give different dates of travel, and all the dates are different than the Penesuch record we found.  One says the ship is unknown, and 2 give the same ship name, the same month and day, but different years!  And although I do see that there was a ship by the right name, I don't see any record that it arrived on that date in either year!  I thought the officials were supposed to check the manifests to verify the information in the naturalization forms, so I am seeking an explanation for how this could have happened.  Were the checks not as rigorous as I've been told?  Were officials bribed to sign off without checking?  Is there another explanation?

If there is a plausible explanation for what I am seeing, and/or if there are other records I should be looking for (along with information on whether they exist and where I can find them), that alone would be a great help. 

I wasn't sure if it was necessary to provide all the details, and doing so makes the message rather long, but in case my explanation above is not clear, the following are the details of what I have found and what they seem to show:

The details:  I searched for 3 brothers whose names I know as William, Max and Jack Grossman who came from the Lomza area of Poland (not sure if the city or the province).  William was probably Wulf in Lomza, and I know Max was Isaac.  Jack, of course, was Jacob.  All were born around 1880-1888.  The naturalization papers I have found include the following:  for William, a Declaration dated Nov. 27, 1909 and a Petition dated Sept. 19, 1912; for Max, a Declaration dated 1923, I think (the date is smudged), a second Declaration dated Oct. 3, 1941, and a Petition signed Feb. 3, 1944; and for Jack, a Declaration dated Nov. 12, 1913, another Declaration dated Aug. 23, 1923, and a Petition dated Dec. 18, 1925.

In their Declarations, Max and Jack Grossman said they sailed from Hamburg to NY on the Amsterdam, arriving Sept. 15 (Max said it was in 1896 and Jack said it was 1894).  William didn’t remember the name of the ship, but said he sailed from Glasgow to NY, arriving July 29, 1892. Let me qualify this slightly—most of the records for Max and Jack say they sailed from Hamburg, but Max apparently let his first Declaration of Intention expire, and his second one (almost 20 years later) gives the same ship name and same date of arrival, but says he sailed from Rotterdam.  The Penesuch record (or Pencsuch in the U.K. manifest) has the mother, these 3 children and 3 other children (for whom I have found no naturalization papers, and in 2 cases, I believe none exist--one was naturalized under her husband's petition and the other lied about her age so appeared to have been born in the U.S.) sailing on the State of California and arriving on Aug. 27, 1895. 

William, Max, and Jack were all minors at the time they came here, so it doesn't seem likely that they went back and forth.  I also wondered if they could have been confused and mixed up names a little bit (i.e., remembering that the ship was the name of a Dutch city, but getting the wrong city), so I tried to search to see if there was a ship named Rotterdam.  I did find a ship named Rotterdam that arrived from Amsterdam on Sept. 15, 1894, but I don’t see any Grossman family members listed.   I even tried to see if there was a ship named Hamburg, but it looks like there wasn’t one that sailed during that period.

In all the Declarations and Petitions, I find some piece of information (an address, a spouse's name, and/or the name of a witness) that I believe confirms that these are the right individuals.  

I hope this hasn't gotten too detailed.  Most of all, I'd be happy to know if there is anything else I could check to find out if there was a name change, but any other help or advice is certainly appreciated.

Gail H. Marcus
MODERATOR NOTE: Replies should be sent privately


 



Diane Jacobs
 

First thing that comes to mind is that you can look for the direct and indirect Hamburg 
Passenger lists.  Indirect indexes and manifests are those that stopped at a different
Port after leaving Hamburg and then continued on most likely on a different ship to the US.

Remember there could be other similar names they may have used.  In my maternal family my
Grandfather was Singman in NYC and Washington DC.  Schimkov on the 1888 passenger manifests from Hamburg to England and then on to NY.  But I have since discovered that the actual name was Sinko or Shinke
from Gelvonai, Sirvintos and Jonava in
Lithuania and from there I was finally able to find his father’s siblings and many others.

Hope this helps.

Diane Jacobs
Somerset NJ


On Oct 14, 2021, at 5:50 PM, Gail H. Marcus via groups.jewishgen.org <ghmarcus=aol.com@...> wrote:

Earlier this year, I posted a question (#655832) about a puzzling ship manifest someone found for me that looked like it might be my family (all 7 first names, birth order and approximate ages were right), but had a different surname (Penesuch instead of Grossman).  I received a number of helpful replies--many thanks to all who responded!!!  Since then, I have been trying to see if I can find some "proof"--that is, some record that connects the 2 names.  This has unearthed a new dilemma for me, and I am hoping someone can help me figure out a logical explanation for several discrepancies I am seeing.

Here is the background:  I have found a few records in Poland that "might" be some of my ancestors, but nothing linking the 2 names, or in fact, linking any of the names to each other, so I thought I would see if any of the naturalization records referenced the former name.  In the first place, I don't see where a name change should be indicated.  I don't see a place for it on the declaration and petition forms, so it would help me to understand where I should be looking for this information.  In the second place, I have 3 records for brothers who should have traveled together.  They all give different dates of travel, and all the dates are different than the Penesuch record we found.  One says the ship is unknown, and 2 give the same ship name, the same month and day, but different years!  And although I do see that there was a ship by the right name, I don't see any record that it arrived on that date in either year!  I thought the officials were supposed to check the manifests to verify the information in the naturalization forms, so I am seeking an explanation for how this could have happened.  Were the checks not as rigorous as I've been told?  Were officials bribed to sign off without checking?  Is there another explanation?

If there is a plausible explanation for what I am seeing, and/or if there are other records I should be looking for (along with information on whether they exist and where I can find them), that alone would be a great help. 

I wasn't sure if it was necessary to provide all the details, and doing so makes the message rather long, but in case my explanation above is not clear, the following are the details of what I have found and what they seem to show:

The details:  I searched for 3 brothers whose names I know as William, Max and Jack Grossman who came from the Lomza area of Poland (not sure if the city or the province).  William was probably Wulf in Lomza, and I know Max was Isaac.  Jack, of course, was Jacob.  All were born around 1880-1888.  The naturalization papers I have found include the following:  for William, a Declaration dated Nov. 27, 1909 and a Petition dated Sept. 19, 1912; for Max, a Declaration dated 1923, I think (the date is smudged), a second Declaration dated Oct. 3, 1941, and a Petition signed Feb. 3, 1944; and for Jack, a Declaration dated Nov. 12, 1913, another Declaration dated Aug. 23, 1923, and a Petition dated Dec. 18, 1925.

In their Declarations, Max and Jack Grossman said they sailed from Hamburg to NY on the Amsterdam, arriving Sept. 15 (Max said it was in 1896 and Jack said it was 1894).  William didn’t remember the name of the ship, but said he sailed from Glasgow to NY, arriving July 29, 1892. Let me qualify this slightly—most of the records for Max and Jack say they sailed from Hamburg, but Max apparently let his first Declaration of Intention expire, and his second one (almost 20 years later) gives the same ship name and same date of arrival, but says he sailed from Rotterdam.  The Penesuch record (or Pencsuch in the U.K. manifest) has the mother, these 3 children and 3 other children (for whom I have found no naturalization papers, and in 2 cases, I believe none exist--one was naturalized under her husband's petition and the other lied about her age so appeared to have been born in the U.S.) sailing on the State of California and arriving on Aug. 27, 1895. 

William, Max, and Jack were all minors at the time they came here, so it doesn't seem likely that they went back and forth.  I also wondered if they could have been confused and mixed up names a little bit (i.e., remembering that the ship was the name of a Dutch city, but getting the wrong city), so I tried to search to see if there was a ship named Rotterdam.  I did find a ship named Rotterdam that arrived from Amsterdam on Sept. 15, 1894, but I don’t see any Grossman family members listed.   I even tried to see if there was a ship named Hamburg, but it looks like there wasn’t one that sailed during that period.

In all the Declarations and Petitions, I find some piece of information (an address, a spouse's name, and/or the name of a witness) that I believe confirms that these are the right individuals.  

I hope this hasn't gotten too detailed.  Most of all, I'd be happy to know if there is anything else I could check to find out if there was a name change, but any other help or advice is certainly appreciated.

Gail H. Marcus
MODERATOR NOTE: Replies should be sent privately


 



--
Diane Jacobs, Somerset, New Jersey


David Harrison
 

Gail, I do not know how different the USA and UK procedures were at that period, but in the case of my grandfather, I was able to look into the nationalisation file at the Police report and other backing documents held in our National Archives.  I found a note to the effect that he was now know and traded under the name of Harrison because this was easier for his customers/clients to use, he was a tailor, and this was accepted without any requirement for any official document of change of surname.  this applied to him, his wife and the children, including my father and his siblings.
 
It maybe that there is no official document of change of name on file at that period.  This was after he had been in the UK for nearly 20 years and the law about who could vote (involving property had changed to include all the family. 
 
David Harrison
Birmingham, England
Searching HERSZKOWICZ, in Poland


From: main@... <main@...> on behalf of Gail H. Marcus via groups.jewishgen.org <ghmarcus=aol.com@...>
Sent: 14 October 2021 21:30
To: main@... <main@...>
Subject: [JewishGen.org] How to Find a Name Change #names #poland
 
Earlier this year, I posted a question (#655832) about a puzzling ship manifest someone found for me that looked like it might be my family (all 7 first names, birth order and approximate ages were right), but had a different surname (Penesuch instead of Grossman).  I received a number of helpful replies--many thanks to all who responded!!!  Since then, I have been trying to see if I can find some "proof"--that is, some record that connects the 2 names.  This has unearthed a new dilemma for me, and I am hoping someone can help me figure out a logical explanation for several discrepancies I am seeing.

Here is the background:  I have found a few records in Poland that "might" be some of my ancestors, but nothing linking the 2 names, or in fact, linking any of the names to each other, so I thought I would see if any of the naturalization records referenced the former name.  In the first place, I don't see where a name change should be indicated.  I don't see a place for it on the declaration and petition forms, so it would help me to understand where I should be looking for this information.  In the second place, I have 3 records for brothers who should have traveled together.  They all give different dates of travel, and all the dates are different than the Penesuch record we found.  One says the ship is unknown, and 2 give the same ship name, the same month and day, but different years!  And although I do see that there was a ship by the right name, I don't see any record that it arrived on that date in either year!  I thought the officials were supposed to check the manifests to verify the information in the naturalization forms, so I am seeking an explanation for how this could have happened.  Were the checks not as rigorous as I've been told?  Were officials bribed to sign off without checking?  Is there another explanation?

If there is a plausible explanation for what I am seeing, and/or if there are other records I should be looking for (along with information on whether they exist and where I can find them), that alone would be a great help. 

I wasn't sure if it was necessary to provide all the details, and doing so makes the message rather long, but in case my explanation above is not clear, the following are the details of what I have found and what they seem to show:

The details:  I searched for 3 brothers whose names I know as William, Max and Jack Grossman who came from the Lomza area of Poland (not sure if the city or the province).  William was probably Wulf in Lomza, and I know Max was Isaac.  Jack, of course, was Jacob.  All were born around 1880-1888.  The naturalization papers I have found include the following:  for William, a Declaration dated Nov. 27, 1909 and a Petition dated Sept. 19, 1912; for Max, a Declaration dated 1923, I think (the date is smudged), a second Declaration dated Oct. 3, 1941, and a Petition signed Feb. 3, 1944; and for Jack, a Declaration dated Nov. 12, 1913, another Declaration dated Aug. 23, 1923, and a Petition dated Dec. 18, 1925.

In their Declarations, Max and Jack Grossman said they sailed from Hamburg to NY on the Amsterdam, arriving Sept. 15 (Max said it was in 1896 and Jack said it was 1894).  William didn’t remember the name of the ship, but said he sailed from Glasgow to NY, arriving July 29, 1892. Let me qualify this slightly—most of the records for Max and Jack say they sailed from Hamburg, but Max apparently let his first Declaration of Intention expire, and his second one (almost 20 years later) gives the same ship name and same date of arrival, but says he sailed from Rotterdam.  The Penesuch record (or Pencsuch in the U.K. manifest) has the mother, these 3 children and 3 other children (for whom I have found no naturalization papers, and in 2 cases, I believe none exist--one was naturalized under her husband's petition and the other lied about her age so appeared to have been born in the U.S.) sailing on the State of California and arriving on Aug. 27, 1895. 

William, Max, and Jack were all minors at the time they came here, so it doesn't seem likely that they went back and forth.  I also wondered if they could have been confused and mixed up names a little bit (i.e., remembering that the ship was the name of a Dutch city, but getting the wrong city), so I tried to search to see if there was a ship named Rotterdam.  I did find a ship named Rotterdam that arrived from Amsterdam on Sept. 15, 1894, but I don’t see any Grossman family members listed.   I even tried to see if there was a ship named Hamburg, but it looks like there wasn’t one that sailed during that period.

In all the Declarations and Petitions, I find some piece of information (an address, a spouse's name, and/or the name of a witness) that I believe confirms that these are the right individuals.  

I hope this hasn't gotten too detailed.  Most of all, I'd be happy to know if there is anything else I could check to find out if there was a name change, but any other help or advice is certainly appreciated.

Gail H. Marcus
MODERATOR NOTE: Replies should be sent privately


 



Jill Whitehead
 

I think you need to look at the name Grossman. It does not seem very Lomza like, more an anglicised name, although as this area was on the borders with East Prussia, there were many German names . Also it is helpful to look at patronyms, as a number of my families reverted to their family patronyms on emigrating to the UK from the Suwalki Lomza areas during 1865-1875 e.g. Ceglarski became Abrahams, some of my Serwianskis/Servians (who went to USA) became Max or Marks.  As some Polish names were difficult, they were often simplified to something more understandable. 

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK


Kathryn Kanarek James
 

My great uncle (from Janow) changed his surname from Wang to Warren when he was naturalized in 1916 (last page of naturalization record). The children of my great grandparents came to EllisIsland under their mother’s maiden name, Singer, but became Kanarek (their father’s surname) in the US census. In Galicia, their parents had a religious marriage, but not a civil marriage. My mother’s father, grandfather and uncles changed their surname from Siduche/Seduch at Ellis Island to Sader. Some people changed their surnames at local courts.
--
Kathryn Kanarek James
Annandale, VA, USA
Names of interest: WEGODNER/WAGNER, SIDUCH  (Sokolievka/Justingrad Ukraine), GOLDSTEIN, LANDA (Shpikov, Ukraine), WANG (Janow Lubelski, Russia Poland), KANAREK, BROD (Tarnobrzeg, Tarnow, Galicia) SINGER/KATZENELLENBOGEN (Tarnow, Galicia)


Gail H. Marcus
 

Just wanted to thank everyone who responded, both online and privately.  There were several very useful takeways, particularly:  1) several people noted that the rules changed and the authorities handling citizenship applications did not check the manifests for immigrations before 1906 or 1907; and 2) a number of others reported both the kind of name discrepancy I am dealing with, as well as discrepancies in reported dates of arrival.  It's good to know I'm not the only one!   Several people also made helpful suggestions about other avenues I might pursue, such as possible reports of former names in Social Security applications, searching for other relatives, etc.  While I have not explored all avenues yet, and more than one person pointed out that the prospects of success might be slim, I've added these to my to-do list.  Thanks again to all, and good luck to those of you who are still trying to unravel similar mysteries!


skparker@...
 

The changing of the name via US Naturalization is noted on the back side of the Order admitting the person as a citizen. I can't tell you how many times I scrolled over the paperwork and never moved the page forward before I found mine!.  The other way to LEGALLY change a name is thru a court procedure. I Have also found them occassionally included on the 3x5 cards that some states have made available.   People were, however, free to call themselves whatever they liked, and there is frequently no record of a name a change. In Illinois, it is done via a case type called a Miscellaneous Remedy in the Civil Court.
--
Sandra Parker


jbonline1111@...
 

I have name changes on both sides of my family.  It is legal to change one's name without official documentation as long as it is not done to defraud.

On my maternal side, the spelling of both my grandfather's and grandmother's last names changed over the years.  I have no proof, but think this was to "modernize" or simplify the spelling.  I doubt there is any documentation in official records.  It is pretty much the same as first name changes.  For example, my grandmother also went from Baila to Bella and my grandfather from Yitzchak to Isidore.  

My father's first name was changed by his mother sometime before he was 3 years old, reasons unknown.  Later, he and his brothers changed their last names without going through official channels.  Therefore, when my father applied for Social Security his sister-in-law had to sign an affidavit stating that she knew him by both names.  Just to further confuse things, my father enlisted in the US Army under his later names--both first and last--while his brother enlisted using his birth name.  

In brief, you may or may not be able to find any official documents that explain name changes.  
--
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC