What's in a Letter?
- The subject may appear as a simple question... But in reality it has
many items attached.
If you are in school a letter is the difference between passing and
failing a course.
If you are looking for an address it could be the difference between
one direction or another.
But, in Genealogy it could be a major difference. I recently learned
For years I have been searching for my Great-Grandfather immigration
records. I knew that he came from Russia via England and then South
America, but could never locate him. I was able to find his wife's
(my Great-Grandmother's) records of arrival in the Ellis Island
system, but could never locate him. I searched for any male with or
without his first name or letter, determined to locate him, I would
check at numerous ports of entry for the US from Boston to Miami on
the east coast to New Orleans and Texas in the Gulf and even the West
coast of the US. My search took several years, but got no luck
To add to my search I have attempted to locate his Citizen papers and
numerous other documents, like draft papers or military papers. I
even check with the cemetery on what they have on record. But
everything including the entire family claimed that the name was
spelled correctly. So finding the records became more difficult.
So I ask what is in a letter for a name???
With my Great-Grandfather I did not learn that there was a different
spelling of his last name until I was finally able to locate a
distant cousin in England and learn that there is a letter that is
not on any documentation (including Census). So with this newest
information I was able to quickly learn a great amount on him and
other items. Including how he came to America and what ship he took.
So in the end it was all in a letter.
Just thought I would share a bit.
BTW... The name I had was Shuster and the name provided by my cousin
- --- In email@example.com, "Joel E. Natt
<nattjo@y...>" <nattjo@y...> wrote:
> The subject may appear as a simple question... But in reality it hasKeep in mind that Polish spellings can be especially strange-looking
> many items attached.
to English speakers.
Example: "Cz" represents the "Ch sound," and the letter "C" represents
the "Tz" sound.
Even if you're not so great with language, it might make sense to try
to at least learn a tiny bit of Russian, Polish and German just to
understand why names might be spelled the way they are.
- It's also a good idea to use the DM to find alternate name spellings.
An easy way to do this is to plug the name into the CJSI (Consolidated
Jewish Surname Index) at:
For example, plugging in my families original name (for which I have
so many different spellings all for one person as to be unbelievable),
Goldglejt, I learned that the DM code for it is 583583.
With that in mind, I took note of all the other names listed with the
same DM code which could be remotely similar to mine and, when
searching, tried these alternate names.
Of course, this doesn't always work. My great-grandfather, whom
everyone knew as Max (Motl) Gold, arrived under the name Abram
Goldblum! (Turned out his name was Abraham Mordechai (Motl) Goldglejt.
He dropped the Abraham when he naturalized and Americanized the Motl
to Max. But how did he get the name Goldblum? I can only assume
someone made a transcription error somewhere back in the old country.