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Trouble finding relatives in Ellis Island Passenger Lists #names #records


davidelevine@...
 

Hi 
Does anyone have advice on how to find a relative who know landed at Ellis Island but cannot be found easily in the lists?
Are there lists of equivalent Jewish names? 
Or, has anyone dealt with this brickwall problem?
Same with naturalization docs. 
I know they did it but I cannot find it under any number of spelling attempts.
thanks


Steven Usdansky
 

One of my techniques to deal with spelling problems is to write the name in my sloppiest handwriting, and then consider various misinterpretations of the letters.

My paternal grandmother came to the US using the passport of one of her sisters. I knew the year she arrived and the names of her sisters, but it still took me over a decade of periodically searching at ellisisland.org until I finally came close enough to the actual misspelling of the family surname to find the record I was looking for.

--
Steven Usdansky
Owatonna, Minnesota
usdanskys@...


sterncohen@...
 

Keep going in wider circles.  In addition to variations in last name, the first name may be completely different from what the person came to be known as in the US, the year may be different from what you think, etc.

It took me forever to find the records for my grandfather - unsurprising, in retrospect, since Morris Cohen is shown in the ship's manifest as Mordche Ber Katz.  (If your ancestor was by any chance a Cohen or Katz, or something similar like Kahan, try all those variants.)  And the person who transcribed the records had trouble with the handwriting and/or wasn't familiar with Hebrew/Yiddish names, so the index lists him as "Marduke Per Katz."

Good luck -

Steve Cohen


ahcbfc@...
 

My great grandfather was not found on the traditional Ellis Island search because he had been detained for 24 hours. On his naturalization papers was the arrival date and ship. With that information, I located the ship's manifest on Ellis Island and there was his name and an explanation of those 24 hours.
Barbara Cohen


jbonline1111@...
 

Along with various spellings, try wildcards in Soundex records.  My father's family name was Slonimsky, but recently when I asked for help here, people found some records I had never seen with the spellings Sloninsky and Slominsky.  
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Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC


Susan Lubow
 

First of aall, use the website stevemorse.org.  You can search by first name only, last name only, or first and last together.  Try to narrow down the year of entry.  Omit all other information, especially nationality because it is so variable.

Susan Lowy Lubow
Morristown, NJ


The Becker's Email
 

If you have not used stevemorse.org, that website will allow you to choose "starts with", "sounds like" or "is phonetiIcally" for a surname and somewhat similar options for a first name.  I've had success using the various surname options and then scrolling through the list of  names.  I would suggest leaving the first name blank and including a likely range of years for the immigration and likely range of years for year of birth.  I've also left the name fields blank and put in a town name and date range in the hopes of finding the immigrant that way.
With regard to naturalization papers, I've had instances where the nat. papers were under the name on the ship's manifest, not the new, Americanized name which was quite different.
Johanna Becker
Newport, RI


Michele Lock
 

The main reason I've had difficulty finding a person in a manifest was due to their significantly changing their surname soon after coming to the US, and my not knowing the original surname.

I agree that doing broad searches increases the chance of finding someone, even if it means you need to scroll through a lot of hits. 

I rarely fill in the 'comes from' or 'nationality' fields because I've seen instances where the wrong country was in the manifest.

I don't fill in gender either, because I've seen numerous times where this was wrong.

For dates of arrival, I only add the year +/- 3, due to immigrants getting mixed up about their year of arrival.

For dates of birth, I only add the year +/- 3, due to immigrants not knowing exactly when they were born.

I try German spellings mainly, such as 'Schaler' for 'Shaler', and 'Lewin' for 'Levin'. Occasionally I've tried Polish spellings, like 'Szaler' for 'Shaler'.

Oftentimes, for the first name field, I only enter the first letter of the name and then a wildcard. That is, for Jacob or Jankel, I use J*
--
Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon in Zagare/Joniskis, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Minsk gub., Belarus


Henry Carrey Boston,MA . Carey/Kirzhner/Berestyaner , Belous , Isenberg - Lutsk ; Postolov/Herman/Kolovsky-Zhitomir
 

I've used all the techniques that other responders have mentioned . In some cases where I knew the ship name and estimated  year but couldn't find the record until I looked at the ship manifest for the approximate date and went through each page of the manifest . I used the Steve Morse form to find my grandmother where the name Kirzner/Kirschner had been transcribed as Kirschaer by using K*R.  For missing naturalization papers , I would suggest searching on the name of spouses and children which often appear on Naturalization forms .. For example , a relative named Louis Gilman never turned up . However, when I searched on his wife Esther , the naturalization papers for Louis turned up showing that he was originally Leyzer Gerkel ( which was later confirmed by other documents ) and I was able to find his ship manifest as well.  
Henry H. Carrey


Diane Jacobs
 

I would not put in a first name or letter when doing searches, ie. Jankhel can start with a Y or I. And for Shaker I would get very creative with Sh, Scz , Sch. The more varied the better.  And for years , I would do a +/-5
for all.

Good luck to all in this endeavor. 

Diane Jacobs

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: Michele Lock <michlock77@...>
Date: 11/30/20 4:14 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] Trouble finding relatives in Ellis Island Passenger Lists #records #names

The main reason I've had difficulty finding a person in a manifest was due to their significantly changing their surname soon after coming to the US, and my not knowing the original surname.

I agree that doing broad searches increases the chance of finding someone, even if it means you need to scroll through a lot of hits. 

I rarely fill in the 'comes from' or 'nationality' fields because I've seen instances where the wrong country was in the manifest.

I don't fill in gender either, because I've seen numerous times where this was wrong.

For dates of arrival, I only add the year +/- 3, due to immigrants getting mixed up about their year of arrival.

For dates of birth, I only add the year +/- 3, due to immigrants not knowing exactly when they were born.

I try German spellings mainly, such as 'Schaler' for 'Shaler', and 'Lewin' for 'Levin'. Occasionally I've tried Polish spellings, like 'Szaler' for 'Shaler'.

Oftentimes, for the first name field, I only enter the first letter of the name and then a wildcard. That is, for Jacob or Jankel, I use J*
--
Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon in Zagare/Joniskis, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Minsk gub., Belarus
--
Diane Jacobs, Somerset, New Jersey


Lee Jaffe
 

I just found my great-grandmother, traveling with two children, one of them my grandmother, despite some daunting handwriting and transcription problems, but only because of a lucky break.  The family surname is Zarov (Zharev or Joroff) but the bursar wrote Barov.  You can see that there was an attempt to correct it by hand with a Z written over the B.  But it was transcribed Barow in the database.  To add to the problem, the bursar's elaborate handwriting caused the transcriber to render my great-grandmother Dora into Gora and my grandmother's name Ida into Jola (the lowercase d became ol).  The lucky break was that the three were traveling with other Zarovs, whose names were transcribed correctly in the database.  It also helped that one member of the second family had the same given name as my grandmother's brother.  Thus the results for Zarov produced one likely entry, Abram Zarov.  When I looked at the manifest I was initially disappointed to see his mother identified as Feige,  Luckily, I still have sufficient peripheral vision to notice the other cluster of Z/Barovs nearby.  I don't know that any of the search modes (soundex. etc.) will help with mistakes in the first letters of a name or mitigate a radical change like Z to B.

A friend of mine who likes slogging through records was able to find one of my great-grandfathers' manifest record by brute force.  His name in Bialystok was Menachem Mendl Sztejnsapir but he changed it to Stein in the US.  Despite the fact we had purported ship name and arrival date from his naturalization petition, no amount of searching on likely variations of the two names could locate him.  My friend went page-by-page through manifests until she found a candidate – Mendel Sapir – who matched my great-grandfather on enough points to make him the likely target.  Again, I don't think there is a reliable way to conduct a database search that would retrieve a Sztejnsapir if you didn't already know or guess he was traveling as Sapir.  

Sometimes your only options are luck (and a touch of peripheral vision) or brute force labor.

Lee Jaffe
JOROFF / SZTEJNSAPIR


Adelle Gloger
 

My late mother-in-law said that when she, 2 older brothers and father entered the USA around 1909  the name was HAMSHANSKY. That was the name she indicated on her naturalization papers was the name she entered the country with.  In the 1910 US Census they were listed as Hamshansky.  I could never find anything with that name.
I started saying the name with a heavy accent -- they were from Zlatapol. Finally, I found them and 2 older sisters, who had arrived earlier, on different passenger lists as Chramzenke / Chramzanka.
So.............you must be creative and think outside the box.  Next mystery was on the 1920 US Census the name was then ORCHEN.  Go figure.
 
Adelle Weintraub Gloger
Cleveland, Ohio
agloger@...


Bob Silverstein
 

Have any manifests been lost?  That could explain being unable to find people.
--
Bob Silverstein
bobsilverstein@...
Elk Grove Village, IL

Researching Kaplan (Krynki, Poland) Tzipershteyn (Logishin, Pinsk, Belarus), Friedson/Fridzon (Motol, Cuba, Massachusetts), Israel and Goodman (Mishnitz, Warsaw, Manchester).


Susan&David
 

Joel Weintraub has addressed the problem of missing manifest entries on this forum before. 
I recommend his Jewishgen Info File on the subject.  

https://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Degradedmanifests.html

David Rosen
Boston, MA


On 12/3/2020 8:23 AM, Bob Silverstein wrote:
Have any manifests been lost?  That could explain being unable to find people.
--
Bob Silverstein
bobsilverstein@...
Elk Grove Village, IL

Researching Kaplan (Krynki, Poland) Tzipershteyn (Logishin, Pinsk, Belarus), Friedson/Fridzon (Motol, Cuba, Massachusetts), Israel and Goodman (Mishnitz, Warsaw, Manchester).


Joel Weintraub
 

Thanks David for reminding people I have a JewishGen InfoFile on finding difficult people on manifests at Ellis Island.  The link to that is: https://www.jewishgen.org/infofiles/degradedmanifests.html  I gave an on-demand talk based on this InfoFile at the IAJGS meeting last summer, and put that video (with a link to a handout) on my YouTube channel.  Viewers can find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dzaug6_pdo&feature=youtu.be
Enjoy
Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA



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--
Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA


Murray Sperber
 

No one in the family could find my father-in-law or his brother on EllisIsland.org.  A cousin claimed a fire had destroyed the files.  A visit to the National Archives in Southern California yielded an email contact for the National Archives in New York.  Knowing the name of the ship and approximate arrival date a researcher at the National Archives found my father-in-law.  Not only was the name reversed, i.e., first name listed as last, last name as first, but it was also misspelled.  We knew it was my father-in-law as the number on the Certificate of Arrival matched the number written in on the line above his name on the manifest.


BobRosenthal
 

In my case, my grandfather immigrated from Ukraine in 1919. His name, Solomon Swerlick was noted on the record as Solomon Shlakman. It took a long time to validate the was the same person. Carelessness, language barrier, or simply not caring, is a fairly common theme.
--
Bob Rosenthal
Palatine, IL USA


Deborah Blankenberg
 

This may not apply in your case, but a lot depends on how you know they arrived at Ellis Island. I "knew" that my paternal grandfather, who died long before I was born, immigrated from France to Ellis Island. I don't know if I had ever actually been told this, or if I had just always assumed it because my grandparents lived in Paris before coming to this country, and my father was born in New York. I could never find my grandfather at Ellis island, though, no matter what search techniques I tried. Eventually, with the help of someone much more experienced than I was, I learned that the reason I couldn't find him was that he sailed from Liverpool, not Le Havre, and landed in Philadelphia, not New York. 

So, unless you have other documents, such as naturalization papers, that indicate a New York arrival, try expanding your search to other ports of entry. Good luck!
--
Deborah Blankenberg (JewishGen ID #613395)
Lodi, CA
dtblankenberg@... 
Researching BLOCH/BLOCK (Germany to New York, Colombia and Missouri), BLINDER (Kishinev to New York via Poland? and Paris), KUSHER/KUSZER (Lodz vicinity to New York via Paris), GOLDSCHMIDT (Germany)