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Immigration
Changing Your Name on Ellis Island



Changing Your Name on Ellis Island
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.07

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    abound, landing, misunderstanding, paks, prior, unpronounceable, yosem, ridiculous, originally, adjustment, original, easily, tests, change, jobs, bosses
     content words:    Ellis Island, Social Security, Gertrude McFuzz, Napoleon Donothing, Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, Louis Nachimovsky, Louis Levine


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Changing Your Name on Ellis Island
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Immigrants faced change in all areas of their life. They moved away from their families. They faced tests on Ellis Island. And to top it all off, some of them even had to change their names. A name change may not seem like a big deal, but for the immigrants who had almost nothing, it was another big adjustment.
 
2     Today, our names are recorded on our birth certificates. Names are on Social Security cards, driver's licenses, and credit cards. It is hard to change your name today. Even if your name is ridiculous, like Gertrude McFuzz or Napoleon Donothing, you have to go through a court proceeding to change it.
 
3     At the turn of the century, things were different. Millions of people were arriving at Ellis Island to enter the new world. Many people had their names changed by an official or even a ship's officer. No rules existed for changing a name. There were lots of ways to do it. For example, names could be simplified. A name with lots of syllables could be shortened. Names with lots of letters combined in unusual ways could be changed. Names could be "Americanized." The Japanese name Tamio might become the more American-sounding "Tommy."

Paragraphs 4 to 10:
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