A Canadian columnist offers these examples of people having their names changed by immigration officers. Too bad they're fictional.
A Chinese gentleman whose name is Jacob Rosenberg explained how he came by this name. “When I entered the country, the immigration officer asked me my name. I said Saim Ting. So he wrote down the name of the Jewish man who was in line ahead of me.”This last example reminds me of a recent post by Steve Danko, in which he examined the marriage record of Joseph Koscinczyk.
An elderly Jewish gentleman when asked for his name at immigration had a senior moment and replied, “Shoin fargessen (can’t remember).” So that’s how he got his name — Shaun Ferguson! [Link]
What’s so interesting about this record? Well, Joseph’s mother’s maiden name is listed as “Niewiem”, which is not a Polish surname at all. “Nie wiem” is a Polish sentence that means “I don’t know”.
It appears that, when asked for his mother’s maiden name, Joseph answered in Polish, ”Nie wiem”, and the clerk dutifully recorded that response in the register.