In an earlier post here, I threw the idea out there that maybe George's name change came about just because he got somebody else's ticket for the trip to Canada. But I wondered, if that was the case, why did he keep the wrong name for the rest of his life?
Two heads are always better than one, and my cousin Jack added his to this question. He has a theory that goes something like this:
When George arrived in Canada, he was asked for identification, and all he had was his ticket, with the name Thomas Smith on it. He told the immigration official that it wasn't his name, and why he had that ticket, but the official didn't care - his job was to fill out some paperwork and it had to have a name on it, and the name on the ticket, which of course matched the name on the passenger list, would do just fine. So George became Thomas Smith, thinking he would straighten things out later. But as time went on and Thomas got a job and a home, other things took priority, everyone came to know him as Thomas, and he never got around to officially being George Cockram again.
This seems like a reasonable possibility. But I don't know what immigration 'processing' he would have gone through when he arrived, so I've sent an email to the Canadian Museum of Immigration, in hopes of finding out whether a scenario like that could have happened or not. I had a quick reply from them saying that I had asked a very good question, but they didn't have the answer at their fingertips, and promised to get back to me with some information soon.