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Old 10-31-2017, 02:09 AM
 
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My fourth grandfather came to America from Germany and changed his name to "Kidd". I thought maybe he was Scottish. Funny thing is my father thought he was a descendant of Captain Kidd. Anyone have this happen to them and was this normal back then?
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque NM
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It happened all the time. What was his name originally?
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by aries63 View Post
It happened all the time. What was his name originally?
I don't know. It appears he just abandoned it to be an American. Reading a similar story another German guy had the last name liesch and changed it to Kidd.
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:45 AM
 
Location: North State (California)
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I read that the immigration officers would sometimes issue new names, if they did not know how to spell the name, or if the new immigrant had poor English speaking skills. Sometimes they would be given the name of the town or region they came from.
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Old 10-31-2017, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Originally Posted by evening sun View Post
I read that the immigration officers would sometimes issue new names, if they did not know how to spell the name, or if the new immigrant had poor English speaking skills. Sometimes they would be given the name of the town or region they came from.
That's a myth.

https://www.nypl.org/blog/2013/07/02...s-ellis-island
https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-ge...t-name-changes
Immigrant Names and Name Changes at Ellis Island - Genealogy.com

Name changes for immigrants were common, but it was likely by the immigrants choice.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lily4881 View Post
I don't know. It appears he just abandoned it to be an American. Reading a similar story another German guy had the last name liesch and changed it to Kidd.
The name would have needed to match the ship manifest. So whatever name he checked in with would have needed to correlate upon arrival.

Did he have siblings?
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
The name would have needed to match the ship manifest. So whatever name he checked in with would have needed to correlate upon arrival.

Did he have siblings?
It appears he came to America alone. His son and grandson were given the same first name.
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:25 PM
 
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Sometimes I have found people on ship manifests by finding other family members.

Have you found his naturalization record? It should have the immigration date, birthplace, and perhaps the ship name.

If you want to post his information (name, birth year, where he lived & his wife's name & anything else), I will do a quick look for you.
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Old 10-31-2017, 10:36 PM
 
Location: colorado springs, CO
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It was common to use names from maternal maiden names for first names. Do you know what was his mother’s ethnicity?

My 5th great-grandfather immigrated around 1860, from Germany but didn’t change his name. Now that I think of it ... given his name (Seeberger) ; it’s odd that I was the first one to think of this, but he wasn’t a “non-church going Lutheran” as he told people he was.

He was Jewish. And Germany at that time, required all Jewish to be registered as members of the Lutheran Church if they wanted to enjoy full citizen economic rights.

The surname Kidd is Jewish (as frequently as is English, it is found in both)If he picked a name from a maternal surname for his given name, or changed the surname entirely, he might have been Jewish on his mother’s side.

Was he born in Germany or Scotland? Do yo know what part of Germany he lived in? There was a large Jewish population in the area of Brandenberg/Posen during the mid 1800’s.

My grandmother was put on the spot to provide a middle name when she immigrated from Greece but she didn’t have one. So she gave them her husband-to-be’s first name & she hadn’t even met him yet! He had been here for over a decade & she was sent here to fulfill her arranged marriage obligation.

Last edited by coschristi; 10-31-2017 at 10:46 PM..
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Brusssels
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This is very common, especially in areas where new arrivals were treated poorly.
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