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The Myth of Ellis Island, Part 1

In my previous blog post, “What’s In A Name,” I used the example of my second great grandfather, Yussel Wilkimirsky (also known as Joseph Friedman) to illustrate a challenge faced by genealogists and family historians when researching an immigrant ancestor who changed their name (sometimes very drastically) upon coming to the United States. After placing the URL to this blog post on several Facebook pages, I was taken back when I was chastised by a competent, well-known and respected Jewish genealogist, who commented that I was “keeping alive the myth about having names changed at Ellis Island…never happened,” when I quoted a passage from “The Book of Tziril: A Family Chronicle,” written by

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