Vital Statistics
Salem History
Carter Salem
(Khatar Salem Moufarrage)
The Early Years
The Journey To America
Life In America
Carter Salem Vital Stats
Images of Ain Ez-Zaitoune
Images Family Ez-Zaitoune
Documents & Notes
Images of Carter Salem
Stories Remembered
Research Thanks
Printable Document
Chris - Melody Home
  • Khatar Moufarrage or Khatar Moufarrege - the “e” and the “a” are interchanged often in various letters and documents by various relatives.
  • Catter Maffarge – as recognized in Buffalo Enquirer Newspaper on May 4, 1916. If the newspaper article had the correct spelling it may be an indication that was the name he gave to the Ellis Island Immigration officials upon his arrival to Ellis Island.
  • The name Moufarrage is a relatively common name in Lebanon and there are several different spellings and derivations of the name. It may be why the translation was made from Moufarrage to Maffarge.
  • The word “farrage” when translated from Lebanese to English means “the relief of burdens”. “Mou” serves almost as a pronoun and personalizes it. Together the name “Moufarrage” means “a person who will relieve your burdens”. From my early memories of Grandpa it really appears that he lived up to his name.
  • Catter Maffarge petitioned the United States District Court in Buffalo, NY with a request to change his name in 1916. Catter had asked to have “Salem” injected into his name between Catter and Maffarge. He probably chose “Salem” and an American or English version of his father’s first name “Saleem”. The judge misunderstood Catter’s request and granted Catter a name change to “Catter Salem”. Further discussions with the judge would not prompt him to alter the petition. Eventually “Catter” became recognized a “Carter”. The US census records of 1920 indicate his name as “Carter Salem”. So, somewhere between 1916 and 1920 he became known as Carter Salem. But what’s in a name. I, along with many others, referred to him as “Grandpa Salem!” (When Colin wrote part of this he used the term “Great Grandfather”. Still the same guy!)


Birth date-

  • Social Security Death Index records indicates January 10, 1893 as date of birth.
  • An Identity Statement completed by Grandpa (for loan purposes) indicates his date of birth to be January 10. 1893.
  • Naturalization record indicates July 10, 1891 as date of birth.
  • I decided to base any age estimates using January 10, 1893 as the correct date of birth.

Arrival to America-

  • Internet searches of the National Archives, Ancestry.Com and have not produced a signed passenger listing for Khatar Moufarrage or Khatar Maffarge.
  • Many young men arrived from the Middle East during the period of 1912–1916.
  • Carter Salem’ s obituary stated he arrived during 1914. He would have been 21 when he arrived in 1914 if he was born in1893.


  • An identity statement completed by Carter and Mamie Salem indicated he was naturalized on July 12, 1912 in the US District Court of Buffalo New York. Carter would have been 19 years old. This date of July 12, 1912 does not correlate with obituary article that stated he arrived during 1914.
  • A Certificate of Naturalization indicated he became a naturalized United States citizen in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, NY on May 4, 1916. Carter would have been 23 years old. This is the preferred date at this time and it comes close to the United States entrance into World War I during 1917.

World War I-

  • We are still trying to locate WWI draft induction records or discharge records. At this time we are guessing he may have entered WWI in late 1917 through the summer of 1918. Interviews with family members recall he served in France.
  • That would mean that Carter was 24 or 25 when he entered the service.

Census Records 1920 -

  • 1920 census records state he was 25 at the time, with his birthplace listed as the “Syrian Arab Republic.”


  • Carter Salem was married to Mamie Thomas of Olean, NY on February 12, 1920 at the age of 26.

Social Security Number-

  • Grandpa applied for and was granted a Social Security number in 1952 or 1953. 


  • Carter Salem passed away on July 19, 1973.