Thursday, August 06, 2009 I was asked the following question:
I am researching my wife's Odessa's roots and I have found an
ancestor whose name was 'Schachne Brickman'. He arrived in the US in 1906 and
promptly became 'Charles Brickman. Is there a logical connection between the two
names or does it appear that he might have simply settled on 'Charles' as a
matter of fancy?
was my response:
Back in those days, it was quite normal to anglicize a Yiddish
or foreign name by using phonetics.
The joke going around many years ago was that a man named John Kelly applied for
membership at a local shul. The name, of course, made him suspect. Upon
talking to the man, who had a very obvious Yiddish accent, it turned out that
when he entered Ellis Island, the agent couldn't spell YANKELE.................so,
he made it John Kelly. It was a joke based on reality.
you have questions about a personal matter, or jewish practices
and customs, you can submit them to me by e-mail.
I answer all queries directly, or through this column, when the
question is informative to our community.
you for your kind attention and this opportunity to share with you,
Rabbi Dan S. Wiko
to the list