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Immigration
What's In a Name?



What's In a Name?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 2 to 3
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.94

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bonus, bosses, finkel, Finkelstein, immigration, lived, name, citizen, whatever, jobs, prove, history, what, become, movie, certain
     content words:    Ellis Island


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What's In a Name?
By Jody Williams
  

1     What is your name? Is that your real name? Many people think their names may have been changed. They believe their names were changed many years ago. Stories say that immigrants' names were changed. They were changed when they came to America. An immigrant is a person who leaves one country to live in another. Some believe that a name change happened at Ellis Island. Ellis Island was an immigration station. It was a stopping point. Immigrants stopped there before living in the U.S.
 
2     History tells us that names were changed. Were they changed at Ellis Island? Experts say probably not. If a name was changed, it was done by the immigrant. Most people came to the U.S. to get a job. Bosses thought that some names were too hard to say. They often gave jobs to people with easy names. Many immigrants decided to change their names. They did this to get jobs. Experts also say that bosses sometimes changed a name. A boss might have asked if he could call a worker by an easier name. He would explain that the real name was too hard. Then the worker would keep that "new" name.
 
3     Immigrants wanted to become Americans. Experts say that many immigrants wanted to fit in. They changed how they dressed. They changed their names. They made their names more American. Some found an English name that meant the same as their foreign name. The name "Schwartz" means "black" in German. A person named Schwartz may have changed his name to Black. Some changed the spelling so their name would be easier to say. Some had long names. They made them shorter. If a man's name was "Finkelstein," he may have changed it to "Finkel."

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