Handwriting analysis super sleuth needed (bring powerful magnifying glass)

+5 votes


There is a ship manifest documenting the immigration of a father, mother, and four children in 1900.  It has some known errors in transcription, and there are several other suspected transcription errors that I cannot read any better than the person who transcribed it.  There are also a few other things that I can't discern.  All the issues are (I am aware that names were probably changed later to Americanize them, but the names on this record are my best guess of what belongs in the Proper First Name field - links are to their profiles):

  1. (line 12) The child whose name is transcribed as Sulten was named Sonie in the 1900 census, but known as Louis ever afterward.  The "S" in the document looks like it might be an L and I'm not sure what the rest of the name is there.
  2. (line 13) The child whose name is transcribed as Lersine is known to be Sara.  The "L" in the document looks identical to the first letter in line 11 that was transcribed as "S" and I can't guess what the rest of the name is, but "ersine" doesn't look right to me.
  3. (line 14) The child whose name is transcribed as Heili is known to be Helen.  I don't know what this looks like, but it doesn't look like Heili to me.
  4. (line 15) The child whose name is transcribed as Berhard is identified as Bennie in the 1900 census and known as Benjamin ever afterward.
  5. In line 13, columns 8 and 9, what was written has been overwritten.  I would love to know what is written there, as well as what is written in columns 13 and 16.  I also would like to know what the heading is for column 16.

The document is HERE



in Genealogy Help by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (871k points)

4 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer

The document is easier to see on Ancestry if you have a subscription. When looking this up, I also found their Hamburg departure records - have you taken a look at this? It may help answer more questions and provide some context for the transcription.

  1. Hamburg records have the name as Sultan
  2. Hamburg records have the name as Serina - Sara would make sense as an Americanization
  3. Hamburg records have Herli
  4. Hamburg records have Bernhard
  5. I think this says Hungarian and Varos, which aligns with the Hamburg records (Varos Nameny)
  6. Column 13 says "brother" as who paid the passage, and Column 16 says Whether to join a relative, and if so, what relative, their name and address. The relative is brother Josef Deitel but it doesn't provide the address.
by Andrew Van Duyn G2G6 (7.2k points)
selected by Gaile Connolly
Thank you so much, Andrew.  That is really good information for me.  The Hamburg record is obviously much better and probably also less likely to have errors made by the writer since German is closer to Hungarian than English, plus the area they came from is also closer geographically.  The town they lived in is a real find - I was going with the transcription of the US record that said Vaines and it was a real stretch to pick the most likely town that could have been.  When I looked at the actual record, I could see that it's not Vaines, but I couldn't be sure what it is.

You are the greatest!!!
+2 votes
I thought that was an L in Sulten too.  

On line 20, the S is completely different but on line 17, the last name looks like Samuelshon. And the S looks like the one in Sulten.
by Maureen Rosenfeld G2G6 Pilot (181k points)
Just looking at Sulten and Lorsine, I couldn't decide if it is an S or an L, but the first letter definitely looks the same to me on both of them.  THANX!
+4 votes
I believe the issue is that these are Hungarian names and that in US Census they have been translated.  My husbands father's family are from Hungary.   It can be a challenging language for Americans.   ilona is helen in American.  So you can see how names can morph.

some links that might help:





Herman is name on the Hungarian name list

Marie is name I have seen on Hungarian records

Line 12 is a male  I would think this might be Jullen  look at other capital J on the page... looks a lot to me like the first letter of that name  

Line 13 and 14 are female 13 might me Jersine or Sersine or Irmsine

14 is more of a problem.  because it could be a form of Heidi which is more Germanic.  

Line 15 is male and I would think it is Bernhard which is not Hungarian but more Germanic.  

Sachi means blessed child.  And might be line 14 but that leading letter I doubt is a an S.  

Hope something here is helpful.  My guess is that someone tried to Americanize Hungarian names and it failed...

Try going the other way...

Helen is ilona (that was my husband's grandmothers name)

Herman and Marie are fine

Louis is Hungarian would be Lujza   Lorinc is Laurence.

Sarah is Sara or Sari

Column 16 is asking if they are going to meet a relative if so who and address

Column 8 and 9 deal with country and where they are coming from.  Hungary and Hungarian are in 8  I think column 9 might say Tompa

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (660k points)
Laura, I greatly appreciate all the trouble you went to for that analysis of all the names, which is extremely helpful to me.  I assume Tompa is a real place (or was in 1900) in Hungary.  It sure looks much more likely than what the transcription said, which is Vaines and that's a place in France but not Hungary, so it made no sense to me.

Yes it Tompa is a real place and I translated this from the Magyar (Hungarian) language page for the location on Wikipedia..

settlement history goes back all the way to BC times 

Tompa has been its name sine 1055.  Here is where it is located.  It is SE of Budapest and NW of Belgrade.  I hope this helps in some way.  


+2 votes
by Ian Winton G2G Crew (810 points)

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