Date of Degree

2-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Linguistics

Advisor(s)

Cecelia Cutler

Subject Categories

Cultural History | European History | Genealogy | Jewish Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | United States History

Keywords

immigration, onomastics, Judaism, assimilation

Abstract

There has been a dearth of investigation into the distribution of and the alterations among Jewish given names. Whereas Jewish surnames are a popular topic of study, first names receive far less analysis. Because Jewish immigrants to the United States frequently changed their names, this thesis can serve as a guide to genealogists and other scholars seeking to trace the paths of Jewish immigrants from Europe. Data was drawn from about 1500 naturalization records from Brooklyn in order to determine the correspondences between the given names featured on passenger lists and their Americanized counterparts. More than three-quarters of surveyed immigrants were revealed to have altered their names during the naturalization process, with English-language cognates and other phonetic and orthographic similarities ostensibly informing these changes.

 
 

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