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Re: Bell surname.

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  • allbell
    ... My great-grandfather (who was from Poland, not Belarus) started with the surname Sivak. He said he picked the name Bell because, when it was time to tell
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 6, 2002
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      --- In jewishgenealogy2000@y..., "minnesota1984" <Pab349@a...> wrote:
      > What are the surnames for Bell in the area around Mogilev. I think
      > the name must have been changed, but relatives do no know what the
      > name was.

      My great-grandfather (who was from Poland, not Belarus) started
      with the surname Sivak. He said he picked the name Bell because, when
      it was time to tell the officials at Ellis Island his name, he saw a
      picture of the Liberty Bell.

      My totally unsubstantiated suspicion is that some Jews with some kind
      of regulatory difficulties (maybe draft dodgers or tax evaders)
      traveled under fake names for some reason, and that "Bell" was on the
      documents my great-grandfather happened to use. If so, there might not
      be any ordinary equivalent to the surname Bell, because Bell might be
      more of a fake paper name than anything else.

      If Bell is ever associated with real
      Russian/Polish/Ukrainian/Belarusian names, maybe it could be names
      that start with "byelo-," which means "white."
    • digging4roots
      ... Not to rain on your parade: but I hope you realize that names were never changed at Ellis Island. Name changes occurred only in the courts. Briefly: an
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 20, 2003
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        --- In jewishgenealogy2000@yahoogroups.com, allbell <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > --- In jewishgenealogy2000@y..., "minnesota1984" <Pab349@a...> wrote:
        > > What are the surnames for Bell in the area around Mogilev. I think
        > > the name must have been changed, but relatives do no know what the
        > > name was.
        >
        > My great-grandfather (who was from Poland, not Belarus) started
        > with the surname Sivak. He said he picked the name Bell because, when
        > it was time to tell the officials at Ellis Island his name, he saw a
        > picture of the Liberty Bell.

        Not to rain on your parade: but I hope you realize that names were
        never changed at Ellis Island. Name changes occurred only in the courts.

        Briefly: an immigrant applied for an exit visa (or similar). With that
        in hand, he then purchased a ticket. The passenger manifest was
        created at the time the ticket was purchased -- in the country of
        origin. At Ellis Island they checked the passengers, visas and
        manifest. They had to all agree.

        > My totally unsubstantiated suspicion is that some Jews with some kind
        > of regulatory difficulties (maybe draft dodgers or tax evaders)
        > traveled under fake names for some reason, and that "Bell" was on the
        > documents my great-grandfather happened to use. If so, there might not
        > be any ordinary equivalent to the surname Bell, because Bell might be
        > more of a fake paper name than anything else.

        Some traveled under bogus names for much simpler reasons. In the case
        of my great-grandfather, he used his brother's passport and visa
        because his brother got drafted!

        Sometimes the person who was supposed to go, dies unexpectedly or for
        some reason is unable to travel. It was not uncommon to pass the
        ticket and passport on to someone else who could use it.

        Another ancestor brought over a friend's daughter on her own
        daughter's passport when her child died of consumption (or something).

        Bottom line: the simplest answers to the odd things which happened to
        our ancestors are often the most likely.

        Good luck in your research,

        Jeanne
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