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Ellis Island Special

2019-12-28 06:54:03

An Ellis Island Special is a family name that is perceived or labeled, incorrectly,[1] as having been altered or anglicized by immigration officials at the Ellis Island Immigration Station, when a family reached the United States, typically from Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.[2][3][4] In popular thought,[5][6] some family lore,[1][7][8][9][10] and literary fiction,[3][11] some family names have been perceived as having been shortened by immigration officials for ease of pronunciation or record-keeping, or lack of understanding of the true name—even though name changes were made by the immigrants themselves at other times.[1] Among the family names that are perceived as being Ellis Island Specials are some that were supposedly more identifiably Jewish, resulting in last names that were not identifiably so.[1][4]

The phrase "Ellis Island Special" has also been adopted by some food vendors and applied to sandwiches, among other foods.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Horn, Dara (Summer 2010). "The Myth of Ellis Island and Other Tales of Origin". Azure (41). ISSN 0829-982X. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  2. ^ Murtha, Tara (August 6, 2008). "Laptop Anthropologist: Meeting my sister from another mister". Philadelphia Weekly. Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Maniaty, Tony (1989). Smyrna: a novel. Penguin Books Australia. p. 135. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Toor, Rachel (April 2011). "Riding an Elephant". Ascent. Concordia College. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  5. ^ Christensen, Linda (2000). Reading, writing, and rising up: teaching about social justice and the power of the written word. Rethinking Schools. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-942961-25-6. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  6. ^ Caracciolo, Mike; Benson, Michael (2007). Go F*** Yourself: The Kid from Brooklyn's Rants and Other Stuff. Citadel Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-8065-2865-6.
  7. ^ Gertz, Kaitlin; Gertz, Thomas (October 28, 2007). "Around the world in 500 days". North County Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  8. ^ Cohen, Leah Hager (1994). Train go sorry: inside a deaf world. Houghton Mifflin. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-395-63625-1.
  9. ^ Bell, Charles Greenleaf (2006). Millennial Harvest: the life and collected poems of Charles Greenleaf Bell. Lumen Books. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-930829-60-5. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  10. ^ Gorenberg, Gershom (March 2, 2008). "How Do You Prove You're a Jew?". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Schneider, Ilene (2007). Chanukah Guilt. Swimming Kangaroo Books. p. 310. ISBN 978-1-934041-31-4.
  12. ^ Pahigian, Joshua; O'Connell, Kevin (2004). The Ultimate Baseball Road-Trip: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums. Globe Pequot. p. 378. ISBN 978-1-59228-159-6. Retrieved June 10, 2011.