Tag Archives: Help! My ancestors changed their names

No Wonder Ancestors Are So Hard to Track


In America there are some who believe their original surname is “Williams” when it was originally “Vladovski”. The Hebrew name Rochel/Rachel became Rose. Gershenberg became anglicized to Gerson or Gersh. Baruch became Bernie and Herschel became Harold. The very ethnic sounding Jewish name of “Yekotiel” became Leopold. It was very common in America for Jews to change their names. It was still common during the depression era. For many, religion was not as important and at the time they felt that a name could either help you get ahead or hold you back. Ethnic sounding names like “Aronovsky” became Arnell.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors and Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. Available here:

Secret Genealogy: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Volume-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X

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Secret Genealogy