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Mathias Tobias Swanner Family Tree-Robert Vester Swanner

Updated November 9, 2000

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How we all got here...

When European immigrants first arrived in thee new worlds, it was often the immigration inspectors who decided whether or not to change a new arrival's name. Each immigrant's name had to be checked against the ship's manifest by officials before the new arrival could be released to start a new life. Many Europeans would would consider lucky to leave the immigration centers with their old names.

For various reasons, some immigrants’ names were changed. Sometimes it was due to mispronunciation, misspelling, or the inability of immigration officials to translate a Russian or Greek name into our Roman alphabet. Th practice of changing immigrants’ names was common among a variety of names, including Italian, Jewish, German, and Polish names.

Oftentimes, it was the immigrants themselves who changed their names, because they sounded “too ethnic”. Some immigrants wanted more “acceptable” names to help assimilate easily into their new life.

Have you ever had an experience where your name was misspelled – perhaps on an account or in a letter? What are the typical misspellings or pronunciation errors associated with the Swanner name? It strikes one very personally because the Swanner name is your possession and identification, and tells the world who you are. Historically, names have served as a fingerprint of lie, perhaps a basic clue to one’s personality. Knowledge of naming practices in our ancestral country of origin can help us trace our respective families back to a village or a place, tell us their original occupation. Or it can give us an idea about what our ancestors looked like.



 
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