Re: Irving BERLIN #general


On Wed, 31 Jan 2001 , "Stephen A. Cohen" <> wrote:
<< In the Jan 28th digest, Eleanor Weber Dickman asked for information
about Louis Berlin >from Bobr, Mogilev Russia.

While I can't help her directly and normally this response would be made
privately, I remembered seeing the Avotaynu Spring/Summer 2000 catalogue
which had on its cover the World War 1 registration record of the famous
composer Irving Berlin. Among his compositions was "God Bless America".

The registration shows that he was born May 11, 1888 in Mogilov Russia
which is now part of Belarus. Since the surname is the same as was the
district, it is possible that he was related to her family. >>

On 01 Feb 2001 , Betty Provizer Starkman ( wrote:
<< Irving Berlin was born Izak Beilin. Some of the family kept the
original surname, others use BALINE/ BERLIN. >>

On Thu, 1 Feb 2001 18:11:01 EST Alice Josephs ( wrote:
<< I have an interesting book I picked up once in a remaindered bookshop
called Irving Berlin and Ragtime America by Ian Whitcomb ISBN 0 7126 1664 0
which the blurb pronounces has the theme of the "creation of American
popular music in the early years of this century .." I enjoyed reading it
and it gives something of the background of Irving BERLIN, as well as a
number of other composers.

Born Israel BALINE in Temun, Siberia, an illegal settlement outside The
Pale. Child of Leah and Moses, a cantor, and had seven siblings. Arrived in
New York 1892. >>

Irving Berlin's origins have been the subject of much mystery and
confusion. "Irving Berlin: A Daughter's Memoir," by his daughter Mary
Ellin Barrett, reveals that his family came >from Tolochin in Mogilev
guberniya, and I've collected a number of records of his brothers and
sisters showing that this is true. That's why Irving's draft registration
and several other records give his birthplace as Mogilev.

But Irving, the youngest child, is also frequently said to have been born
in Temun, usually identified as Tyumen in Siberia. The family believes his
father, Moses, a cantor, had taken a temporary position there, but there
are no records one way or the other. I think it could instead have been
one of several villages named Tyumen or Tumen in Belarus or Ukraine.

Betty Provizer Starkman is right that the family name was originally
BEILIN. That's what their passenger arrival list shows. It was altered to
BALINE in the United States, and eventually Americanized to BERLIN by
some, but not all, branches.

Because of the name change, it's unlikely that Eleanor Weber Dickman's
Louis Berlin >from Bobr was a relative. Alexander Beider's "A Dictionary of
Jewish Surnames >from the Russian Empire" lists the surname Berlin as being
found in Mogilev district.

Alan Wachtel
Palo Alto, California

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