The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Family stories are a wonderful thing. They often give you insights into the lives of your ancestors. However, beware! Not all family stories are true. Many such stories are fictional. Yet, even the stories that are either entirely or part fiction may contain clues to facts. Good genealogical practice requires that we admit the fiction. But the next step the genealogist takes separates art from science. Before we discard these stories altogether, we need to mine them for nuggets of truth. Let’s look at a few of the more common “family legends” to see which ones you can mine for real gold.
Myth #1: Our name was changed at Ellis Island.
Fact: No evidence whatsoever exists to suggest this ever occurred. In fact, Ellis Island had rigid documentation requirements.