American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS

Daily Genealogist

RSS Feed

This Week's Survey: Immigration name changes

(Surveys) Permanent link
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock

Last week’s survey asked whether any of your ancestral surnames were changed. The results are:


65%, Yes, one or more of my ancestral surnames were changed.
35%, No, I am not aware of any changes in my ancestral surnames.


This week's survey asks whether you have a family story of how an ancestor’s name was changed by an immigration official. Take the survey now!

Posted by Jean Powers at 03/08/2012 11:43:03 AM | 

We had a story in our family that my grandmother's maiden name, Buss, came about when her illiterate grandfather immigrated from what is now Germany. The story was that the official at the port did the best he could to understand the name, but it wasn't quite right and the name was different after that point. When I started doing genealogy, I soon determined that he arrived in 1853 as Wilhelm Busse (it was on the passenger record), his name was written that way in church and civil marriage records two years later, and on the 1860 and 1870 census records. (Well, actually, it was written "Buzzy" on the 1860 record, which was close to being correct phonetically). It wasn't until the 1880 census that the last name shows up differently. I also realized that when someone walks off a boat, they aren't given identification papers that list their permanent name going forward. People were free to use whatever name they wanted. The fact that my g2grandfather couldn't spell his own name didn't mean that it had changed.
Posted by: Roxanne Richardson ( Email ) at 3/8/2012 1:36 PM

Your article shows tells me you must have a lot of background in this topic. Can you direct me to other articles about this? I will recommend this article to my friends as well. Thanks
Posted by: Scruggs Edward ( Email | Visit ) at 5/5/2012 11:13 AM

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society