U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Genealogy
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 10-17-2017, 03:17 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
8,184 posts, read 4,476,416 times
Reputation: 15458

Advertisements

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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-17-2017, 03:31 PM
 
5,461 posts, read 5,487,998 times
Reputation: 10293
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-17-2017, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Mena, Arkansas
1,996 posts, read 2,842,856 times
Reputation: 3723
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-17-2017, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,524 posts, read 18,210,587 times
Reputation: 29698
My father's family name was changed from an Eastern European (hard to spell) version of Johnson to a UK version of Johnson.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-17-2017, 07:03 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
8,184 posts, read 4,476,416 times
Reputation: 15458
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-17-2017, 09:21 PM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,679 posts, read 9,161,790 times
Reputation: 8023
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)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-17-2017, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Ozark Mountains
634 posts, read 540,641 times
Reputation: 787
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-17-2017, 11:36 PM
 
2,934 posts, read 4,615,942 times
Reputation: 2815
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-18-2017, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,265 posts, read 14,330,048 times
Reputation: 12085
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Genealogy
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top