Searching: ZENETSKI, ISHMA and FRIEDMAN from Narewka #general

David Ziants <davidz@...>

Wishing everyone a happy Pesach.

It has been quite a while since I published my search interest to
Jewishgen's discussion group, and I wish to put it out again in case
there are some new subscribers with ideas.

I am trying to find out about my paternal great-great grandparents and
their community life in Narewka (Narifka) which is in the Bialystok region.

The ancestry on both my grandfather's and grandmother's side, migrated
from there to the East End of London, UK, at the beginning of the century
with the wave of immigration >from Eastern Europe. My grandparents had met
and married in the mid-30s when my grandfather, through the "landsman"
connections, worked in the bakery owned by my grandmother's parents.

My grandfather (who passed away just over a year ago) was the youngest of
seven sisters. The oldest two sisters were sent to England a number of
years ahead of the rest of the family, I guess to earn money to bring the
rest of the family over. The family eventually left when my grandfather
Moshe (Morry) was 4 years old. My grandfather's father Mordechai ZENETSKI,
adopted the name Marks ZIANTS. Mordechai's father's name was Aryeh, he was
married to Alka (became Alice) and worked as a shoe maker in the old
country, and possibly also in England.

Concerning my grandmother's side (may she have many more years):
Her parent's family name ISHMA was changed to DAVIDSON and their names
were Alter Yossef and Esther.

My grandmother's maternal grandparents' family name was FRIEDMAN.
A descendent of the FRIEDMAN branch was the late Lord Samuel FISHER of
Camden, who became the head of the Board of Deputies of Anglo-Jewry.

I have already been told that the name ZENETSKI might indicate that the
family could have migrated >from the village of Sanniki, a generation or
two earlier.

Why ZENETSKI was "anglicised" to ZIANTS, which does not sound very English,
and is Russian/Polish for hare, is still a mystery. Possibly they didn't
realise that names beginning with "Z" are not very palatable on the
British tongue, until it was too late. Could they have started using the
name ZIANTS in the shtetl after the oldest daughters had left for England?

A big curiousity is the family name ISHMA, because of its unusualness.
Some of this family (or the FRIEDMAN family - am not quite sure which)
lived in Warsaw and perished in the Holocaust.

I have already made contact with a number of people whose families also
came >from Narewka, and a small mailing list was formed by someone in the

If you either have ideas about the names in question, or you have any
information on Narewka, please be in touch.

With thanks in advance,

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

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