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Old 11-04-2017, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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My great grandfather was Smith. I always thought he was English. Come to find out, he was born in Norway, so perhaps he changed his name.
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:33 PM
 
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Lily, Kidd is a Scottish and Northern English surname, not Jewish. It means literally , Little Goat, deriving from someone who is always moving, frisky.
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by England Dan View Post
Lily, Kidd is a Scottish and Northern English surname, not Jewish. It means literally , Little Goat, deriving from someone who is always moving, frisky.
You can't always go by those generic surname origins. They do not necessarily always have every possible origin of a name, and they definitely don't always account for Americanization.

For example, my Nan's maiden name was Demore. If you look this up: https://www.ancestry.com/learn/familyinsights/Demore - it claims: "French: patronymic from the nickname More 3, 4, 5. Altered spelling of French D’amour."

But my Nan's father was from Italy, not France, and Anglicized his name from the Italian D'Amore, not the French D'amour. I have traced his ancestry in Italy back to the 1700s.

It's better to research your individual lineage and confirm the origins of the surname rather than assume a generic description covers everything.
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:09 PM
 
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No biggy. The British royal family did the same thing, changed their name from German to English.
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:26 PM
 
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OP, I don't understand how you know he changed his name if you don't know what his name was before he changed it.
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Long Island
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
Not necessarily the immigrants choice.
I know two German brothers who were registered with different names (they came over at the same time). One became "Stevens", the other "Stuven". They never bothered to change it.
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Old 11-05-2017, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elke Mariotti View Post
Not necessarily the immigrants choice.
I know two German brothers who were registered with different names (they came over at the same time). One became "Stevens", the other "Stuven". They never bothered to change it.
Did you read the articles I posted? Immigration officers worked off of passenger lists which were compiled at the point of departure. If a name was misspelled or recorded incorrectly, it was more likely to be the fault of the person compiling the passenger list at emigration, before they even reached the US.

Additionally, what time period was this? Most immigrants came over during a time when the concept of a legal name didn't even exist yet so the idea of their name officially being changed due to an error on the passenger list isn't even possible.

Also keep in mind that documentation like census records is not an accurate representation of the spelling of one's name. Errors can happen on any record, but particularly on census records, they are taken for demographic purposes, not for identification, meaning spelling wasn't a primary concern. So just because you see a different spelling one census records, it doesn't mean that was the official spelling.

Can you post the documents here so we can see them?
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Old 11-05-2017, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Long Island
9,337 posts, read 19,750,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
Did you read the articles I posted? Immigration officers worked off of passenger lists which were compiled at the point of departure. If a name was misspelled or recorded incorrectly, it was more likely to be the fault of the person compiling the passenger list at emigration, before they even reached the US.

Additionally, what time period was this? Most immigrants came over during a time when the concept of a legal name didn't even exist yet so the idea of their name officially being changed due to an error on the passenger list isn't even possible.

Also keep in mind that documentation like census records is not an accurate representation of the spelling of one's name. Errors can happen on any record, but particularly on census records, they are taken for demographic purposes, not for identification, meaning spelling wasn't a primary concern. So just because you see a different spelling one census records, it doesn't mean that was the official spelling.

Can you post the documents here so we can see them?
I don't have any documents, but know the brothers personally. They maintained it happened on this end. Not arguing anyone's point here, just stating what I heard from actual immigrants. When? I believe early 50s but won't swear to it.
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,254 posts, read 14,288,445 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aries63 View Post
OP, I don't understand how you know he changed his name if you don't know what his name was before he changed it.
Maybe the OP found records saying he was born in Germany, but his name being distinctly English/Scottish, knew he must have Anglicized it from something German?
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,254 posts, read 14,288,445 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elke Mariotti View Post
I don't have any documents, but know the brothers personally. They maintained it happened on this end. Not arguing anyone's point here, just stating what I heard from actual immigrants. When? I believe early 50s but won't swear to it.
Maybe they misunderstood that a spelling error didn't mean their name was changed. I would urge you to read the articles I posted, especially the one from the USCIS. Of course, procedures and laws did change over time, and much of it depends on whether one was born with an official birth certificate or whether they didn't exist yet. But an error on a passenger list didn't mean you HAD to continue using that error. The USCIS article does say that an error could later cause problems with other paper work, so perhaps your friends chose to use the erred name to avoid those problems, but again, it doesn't mean they HAD to use it.
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