Digging for the roots

My name is Barry Wax or at least I think it is. But when I researched the past I came across the fact that my last name was changed. It took place when my great- great grandfather emigrated from Russia near the turn of the last century.

Being from Russia is different than being from a country in Europe. The language is in a different language with different letters. The trip was probably in a Liberty Ship. I have the berth records of my wife’s great great grandparents.

The destination was Ellis Island. That is where the processing begins. I have learned there was an A group and a B group. The A group came over with money and they were processed like rich people like on the airlines. The majority rest went through a long process. A few were sent back and the usual reason was disease. TB was a big no no.

So there is my ancestor. He speaks no English. His papers are minimal. His skills questionable. But there are some interpreters. His name is Maxovitch Vesbronik. At least that is the best I can make of it.

Ovitch in Russian implies son of. So Maxovitch is the son of Max. Right away his first name is changed to Max. No sense writing the long version over and over. The people doing the paperwork at Ellis took short cuts because the lines were long. The last name had to be looked at. The question asked was “What did you do for a living in Russia?”

He had something to do with candles. And thus the name Wax was put into motion. They could have gone with Wache, which is the German form I think, he could have been Wick, Tapir, or Parafin. So I guess Wax is not so bad. At least it is short.

By the By, I have no middle name. I tell people in those days it cost money for each letter. So my parents were smart enough to save the dough and give me an eight digit name.

My name is short and sweet. In Russian looks like this: Меня зовут коротким и сладким. But on my gravestone I will use Barry Wax. Remember it is a cost per letter.

Below is Ellis Island.  Now a tourist place.  Back then a place of hope.

<b>Ellis</b> <b>Island</b>

One thought on “Digging for the roots

  1. interesting! I see you have been doing some research on your genealogy!.. I believe my family had their name changed in Ellis island too.

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