Welcome to Tortorello.com,
Above is a picture of Giuseppe Turturiello shortly after he arrived at Ellis Island on 10/26/1899.
Ellis Island also lists 104 immigrants named TORTORIELLO, and hundreds of others named TURTURIELLO, TORTORIELLO, TORTAROLO, TORTELLI, TORTELOTTI, TORTOLANI, TORTOLANO, TORTOLO, TORTOLONI, TORTORELLI, TORTORETE, and TORTORICI. Any of them may now be named Tortorello.
For example, here is an email from Charles Junior Tortorello, grandson of Francesco and Vitoantonio Tortorello:
"Grandpa expired in 1929 and Grandma in 1941. Grandma was waked in the house at 7020 S. Honore (in Chicago), as was the custom of the depression era. Visitors would donate cash in envelopes to the family and the eldest son would officiate. Sam was the elder and he logged the names of the donors in a journal. Reviewing the journal, there are 7 names spelled TURTURIELLO. There is a Warranty Deed from 1906 to a vacant lot at 7004 S. Honore St. granted to Frank TURELLO. Also grandpa joined a lodge which issued an insurance policy in the name of Frank Tortoriello and signed by him the same spelling. A fire insurance policy dated 1921 has the name Frank Tortorello. Summing up, we have TURTURIELLO, TURELLO, TORTORIELLO, and TORTORELLO. I think our name is JONES!!!"
How did the names get corrupted?
Many people think it was at Ellis Island where officials wrote down pretty much whatever they wanted. But experts say this never happened. They claim that the government officials used the ships' manifests to prepare documents for immigrants, and the manifests were prepared in the country of origin with input from the passengers.
Also, they claim that the processing facilities at Ellis Island had many translators and that the immigrants had to approve of the name on the documents.
The experts believe that corruption of names usually was the result of US employers who had problems spelling and pronouncing the foreign names, or more likely, by the immigrants themselves seeking to make their names more American and easier to spell and pronounce.
So how did Turturiello become Tortorello? Who knows? But it was not likely at Ellis Island.
If you are researching your roots, perhaps some of these sites will help.
http://www.ellisislandrecords.org Ellis Island contains a wealth of inf o including ship manifests. They advertise "You can find and purchase your immigrant ancestor's ship manifest and ship picture that document your family's historic voyage to the US. These unique documents are suitable for framing and are available for purchase. All proceeds support the continuing work of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation."
http://www.italgen.com. A cool Italian geneology site.
http://www.ancestry.com. Another good genealogy site.
http://www.ngsgenealogy.org. Yet another good genealogy site.
http://gens.labo.net. A geneology site in Italian. They offer geneological research, and a very cool map of Italy that shows population densities of people with the surname of your choice (click here). You can even order a T-shirt with a map of Italy, your surname, and where your relatives are located in Italy.