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Old 10-17-2017, 04:17 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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Did immigration inspectors have any legal authority to change names when people arrived at Ellis Island or other entry points? This seems to be an experience of European arrivals. Did this happen for Asian immigrants as well? I have a friend whose first name was changed to "Charlie" but the Italian last name was not changed.
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:31 PM
 
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A friend's ancestor came to the U.S. with the surname D'Ath. Guy at immigration said he needed a letter in place of that apostrophe, so he replaced it with an "e".


Now we're all hoping that at least one of his children enters the medical profession.
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:51 PM
 
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When my dad and his parents came from Germany their names were not recorded correctly mainly because of the accent.
I think it was mainly honest mistakes.
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Old 10-17-2017, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
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My father's family name was changed from an Eastern European (hard to spell) version of Johnson to a UK version of Johnson.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:03 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P47P47 View Post
A friend's ancestor came to the U.S. with the surname D'Ath. Guy at immigration said he needed a letter in place of that apostrophe, so he replaced it with an "e".


Now we're all hoping that at least one of his children enters the medical profession.
My wife's ancestors were D'Ath -- an old family from Flanders who followed William the Conqueror into England. The name morphed into Death in the middle ages and later to Deatherage.
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:21 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
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There is an extensive article re name changes at https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-ge...t-name-changes

Here is one paragraph:
"The report that the clerk "wrote down" the immigrant’s surname is also suspect. During immigrant inspection at Ellis Island the immigrant confronted an inspector who had the passenger list already created abroad. That inspector operated under rules and regulations ordering that he was not to change the name or identifying information found for any immigrant unless it was requested by the immigrant or inspection demonstrated the original information was in error."

My mother, who immigrated at age 7, had her first name changed by her grade school from Loreta to Rita.

BTW, I just learned an interesting bit that I had never heard before. At https://www.libertyellisfoundation.o...island-history it says: "First and second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. Instead, these passengers underwent a cursory inspection aboard ship, the theory being that if a person could afford to purchase a first or second class ticket, they were less likely to become a public charge in America due to medical or legal reasons."

My mother and grandmother came Second Cabin in 1927, so probably did not actually go through Ellis Island, which I visited 14 years ago, thinking they had. And their names are perfectly correct on the ship's manifest.

(you may need to sign up for a free account to read the whole story)
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Old 10-17-2017, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Ozark Mountains
635 posts, read 611,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
Did immigration inspectors have any legal authority to change names when people arrived at Ellis Island or other entry points? This seems to be an experience of European arrivals. Did this happen for Asian immigrants as well? I have a friend whose first name was changed to "Charlie" but the Italian last name was not changed.
I think the Asians arrived to America as contractors for the Rail Roads in the 1800s. They were not immigrants. They were foreign workers.
The Ellis Islands Immigrants were Europeans fleeing from the european wars (World War One and World War Two). They were refugees.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:36 AM
 
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Names were not changed by clerks at Ellis Island or any of the other U.S. ports of arrival.
The passenger manifests were filled in at the port of embarkation.


Many immigrants did choose to change their names once they were living in the U.S.
(sometimes more than once.)


Changing the first name was extremely common so as to sound more American.
A percentage chose to change their surname.


Some legally changed their name at the time of naturalization. Some made the legal name change in court. But, most who did choose to change their name just started using a different name without documenting the change.


Name changes are just one of many stumbling blocks in many people's genealogy research.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,611 posts, read 15,054,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slingshot View Post
When my dad and his parents came from Germany their names were not recorded correctly mainly because of the accent.
I think it was mainly honest mistakes.
That doesn't mean his name was officially changed.

There's dozens of articles out there about how names weren't changed at Ellis Island due to ignorant or overworked immigration officers writing them down wrong. Just google it.
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