More "name changes at Ellis Island"
- From: sorlen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Steve Orlen)
- Date: 20 May 2009 09:15:02 -0700
Whenever an acquaintance tells a cute & fanciful story about how the ancestors got
their names changed at Ellis Island, I always refer them to the The Myth of Name-Changes at Ellis Island & Why Can't I Find My Uncle Shlomo at Ellis Island? "American Names / Declaring Independence, by Marian L. Smith, INS Historian
But I was just reading my notes on naming practices in eastern Europe, and found the following, written by Roger Lustig on Feb 2007 on the discussion group. It answers at least some questions about the difference between an old country name and a new one in America."Northern European Jews a) for the most part didn't have
hereditary surnames until about 200 years ago; b) often had them written in Hebrew
or Cyrillic characters until they emigrated. So the first time the name got written
down in Roman characters, that transliteration (by whomever--perhaps a clerk) might
I presume that Roger meant by "clerk", not a functionary at Ellis Island, but a person who transliterated the name for the manifest, in the old country.
Best, Steve Orlen
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