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The Myth of Ellis Island, Conclusion, or, at least, My Current Thinking

Bess Waldman, The Book of Tziril: A Family Chronicle (New York, New York: Adama Books, Second Edition 1988)

Here I come to find that I have a way to go in the use of the GPS.

I began this series of blog posts with the (unrealistic) hope that I could use the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) to determine when my second great grandfather, Yussel Wilkimirsky changed his name to Joseph Friedman.

You might ask, why do I call my intention unrealistic? Easy enough answered. All one needs to do is to look at Step 1 of the GPS: Conduct a reasonably exhaustive search of available data sources. I do not believe I have yet to accomplish this.

I will summarize what I do have as follows:

From these three documents, it certainly appears that the change in his surname occurred between the beginning of 1885 and the end of 1887. I have come to believe that he did not use any legal process to change his surname, as I have searched the State of New Jersey Legal Name Changes 1847 through 1947 database and came up empty. My best guess is that my 2nd great grandfather just started to call himself “Joseph Friedman.”

As I explained in the previous post, I believe Yussel first came to the US in 1872. What name did he use when he first arrived? Did he use Yussel Wilkimirsky or perhaps he used that name only to travel back to Kovno where my 2nd great grandmother Tziril and my great grandmother Hinde waited for him? Is it possible he used “Joseph Friedman” in New Jersey before Tziril and Hinde joined him there in 1886? There are many unanswered questions here, and only the collection of additional data sources will help me to fill in the blanks. It will only be then that my inquiry into this event in my ancestor's will be complete by the GPS. Until then, no final conclusion can be reached.

Thank you for reading! Comments, criticism, and correction of fact always welcome.

End Notes

#1. "Passenger Record," images, ( accessed 24 Sept 2015), manifest German S.S. Bohemia, 16 January 1885, entry for Jossel Wilkomirsky, age 40; citing "National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm publication M237."

#2. William H. Boyd, compiler. Gopsill’s Jersey City, Hoboken, West Hoboken, Union Hill and Weehawken Directory, 1887-8. Pages 198-201; from “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” Digital Image., ( accessed : 30 December 2016) for Joseph Friedman.

#3. Hudson County, New Jersey, "Naturalization Records, 1749-1986," FamilySearch ( accessed : 1 January 2017), entry for Joseph Freedman of Russia Poland, 1888; citing Declarations of Intention 1888

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