Thanks in large part to many of you, I now know most of the story of my
father's older sister, who died in 1906.
Rachel ABELOVITZ/ABELOWITZ was born in Kartuz-Bereza in the fall of
1902, 100 years ago. She came to the US with her mother, Feige Leah, on
the Kroonland, docking at Ellis Island on April 12, 1906. They were to be
met by husband/father H. ABELOWITZ, whose address was given as 241
Division ST, NY.
Rachel was sent directly to a hospital (according to the burial order,
it was Kingston Ave Hosp - the only one of that name I've been able to
find was one in Brooklyn - Kingston Ave and Fennimore St), where she died
on April 28.
Her mother was released >from Ellis Island on that day. Rachel was buried
at Silver Lake Cemetery on Staten Island, the arrangements having been
made by the Hebrew Free Burial Associations (which is still providing
burials for about 400 indigent Jews each year). I was unable to find a
death certificate, nor could I determine the cause of death.
Feige Leah and Henoch ABELOWITZ went on to become the parents of 4 more
children: George (my father), Jack, Celia, and Abraham. By the time my
father was born in 1907, their names had become Harry and Elizabeth
My search for Rachel's grave has been a great success. Last week my
cousin and I visited Silver Lake Cemetery, and with the aid of Rabbi Shmuel
Plafker of the Hebrew Free Burial Ass'n were able to determine the exact
location of her grave. We placed a temporary marker, and hope to replace
it with a headstone in the near future.
Now that this quest has been successful, I am seeking information about
my grandmother's family, which has a confusion of surnames. I know she
came >from Kartuz-Bereza, which is now in Belarus, but there is no
consensus about her original surname. I have seen spellings of:
SUCHOWITZKY, ZSUCHOWITZKI, and other variants. The name became SUROFF in
the US. I have found a couple of SUROFF cousins, but have had no luck in
finding any of the family names on the EIDB.
According to a memoir written by my grandmother's half brother, this is
what I know about the family : his father(my ggfather), Naphtali Zev
SUCHOWITZKY was a locksmith, living on the main (and only paved) street in
Kartuz-Bereza. He had been married twice - at least one son and daughters
from the first marriage: Reizel BERNSTEIN, my grandmother Feige LeahABELOWITZ, Menasche ZSUCHOWITSKI (Max SUROFF in the US), Ida, and Elka.
Reizel was the oldest, and Feige Leah was born ca. 1878. Both Reizel
(Rose) and Feige Leah died in 1953.
Naphtali Zev's second family with wife Chinke(?) included Hymie (the
uncle who wrote the memoir) who was born around 1904, and was the
youngest. Others included Sadie SCHUSTER (b.1893), and Becky UDOWITZ. I
believe that Becky and Sadie were married after they came to the US in
1910 and 1911, but even after trying as many possible variations of the
surname as I could think of, I have not been able to locate them on the
I am posting this letter to both JewishGen and to the Belarus group, in
hopes that someone may recognize the names.
My thanks to those of you who have read through this posting.
Toby RABINOWITZ RODNEY (RUDNITZKY)
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