Actually he is right. At Ellis Island the processing inspectors had stamps with predetermined simplified names, one of those stamps of course was PAPPAS. The Inspectors as I have been told would stamp the paperwork of the immigrant with this new name.
My Grandfather (Papou) walked into Ellis Island off the boat in 1907 with the name "Antonios Patoyainnis" when he left Ellis Island he had a new name given to him by US immigration which was "Anthony Pappas". So you see that not only was Pappas a creation of Ellis Island inspectors it was used for most all Greek names simply starting with PA- during a certain time period at the turn of the century.
When I asked my Grandfather(Papou) as a child why he never changed his name back he told me that he really didn't care much about the name - he was just proud to be an American.
It is also interesting to see the large number of Greeks in Greece with the name Pappas. They too had ancestors that went through Ellis Island at the turn of the century only to leave the US and go back to Greece. Most of these Greeks in Greece with the name Pappas have Ancestors that went back to Greece to fight in the Balkin Wars in 1913 by way of a mandate of the Greek government - and simply never made it back to the United States. The reason for this was that there were more Greek men in the US than in Greece...The mandate read that if they.."did not go back to fight for thier mother country Greece that they would not be supplied Visas to return again. If these men had not gone back to Greece they would have lost all contact with thier families and property in Greece.
I hope this helps you to understand the meaning behind the name PAPPAS. If the name says nothing else it says you are from good people who suffered to gain a better life. "To have the Heart of a Greek and the Freedom of an American." Something to be proud of.
John A Pappas
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