Shugaevsky Family

Part 14    A New Identity

Forging a New Identity – Why and How

Click on images to enlarge.

We now arrive at the conundrum of Leonid's name change. He entered the country as Leonid Shugaevsky and sometime soon after became Marcus Terbey, born in Liege, Belgium. Did he know of someone from Liege when he made the switch? And how did he choose his first and last names? I have found no other Marcus Terbeys.

Certainly, as a fugitive, a false identity would make it easier for him to visit Russia. Also, U.S. naturalization rules forbade Marcus from returning to his country of birth for five years. The name “Terbey” is found in Germany as well as England, Ireland and other places. In Germany it is sometimes spelled as “Ter Bey”. In Belgium I have found the name spelled “Terby”. In New York Russian communities Marcus was known as Leonid and he continued to selectively use “Shugaevsky” after he arrived in the United States.

Marcus may have chosen Belgium as a birthplace because he knew French and French is one of the official languages of Belgium (if you falsely claim to be from a country, please know the language). Also, the same rules about not returning to Russia would apply to Belgium and France, and Leonid could keep France available to travel through instead of Belgium. These are just my ideas – there’s no evidence for them.

Here is a portion of the US naturalization rules formulated in 1907:

If any alien who shall have secured a certificate of citizenship under the provisions of this Act shall, within five years after the issuance of such certificate, return to the country of his nativity, or go to any other foreign country, and take permanent residence therein, it shall be considered prima facie evidence of a lack of intention on the part of such alien to become a permanent citizen of the United States at the time of filing his application for citizenship, and, in the absence of countervailing evidence, it shall be suficient in the proper proceeding to authorize the cancellation of his certificate of citizenship as fraudulent,... 

Why did Leonid maintain that he emigrated from Liverpool in 1905. I think I found the reason. Naturalization rules changed for immigrants who arrived after 1906. If Leonid wanted to change his identity he had to give a false (earlier) emigration date.

Naturalization Records After 1906

……Petitions for Naturalization after 1906 have information that has been verified and matched to an immigration record. Any immigrant arriving after June 29, 1906, could not naturalize until their immigration record (a passenger list) was found.

Marcus managed to get naturalized after 1906 without providing his immigration record. On his naturalization petition he claimed that he departed Liverpool on the “Umbria” in June 1905, arriving in New York on July 2. The SS Umbria did arrive from Liverpool on July 2, but Marcus was not on the ship. I found the passenger list and couldn’t find anyone with a similar name (the entries are handwritten and not always easy to read). Leonid was obviously very intelligent. He researched his options and considered the future consequences of his decisions when he crafted his new identity.

Sometime before 1923, Leonid had become Marcus Terbey, born in Liege, Belgium who emigrated to the United States in 1905 from Liverpool.  His claims that his father is dead and his only residences in the U.S.A. have been Fort Hancock and New York City He receives mail ℅ the American Mill Owner’s Corp., Room 1019, 52 Broadway, NYC.

1923 record-image_3QS7-99DQ-MYCP detail

Detail from the 1923 passport application

1923 record-image_3QS7-99DQ-MYCP detail
USA Manhattan detail.jpg

Detail from a 1901 map of Manhattan courtesy of the New York Public Library.

The red star is the New York Stock Exchange. The other shapes mark business addresses that Marcus used. The circle is the 52 Broadway address and the square is the 75 Maiden Lane. The hexagon is at another address Marcus used, 36 Wall Street. He also used an 11 Broadway address. 

 Next, we will explore what Leonid was up to after he arrived in 1910 .