I have been looking for my wife's grandfather's immigration for 25 years,
and unfortunately, EIDB and Steve Morse did not help. Here's what I have
documented >from various other sources, including his naturalization papers,
marriage license, and/or passport application:
1. His name when he was born in Nesvizh, Poland (now Belarus) was Benjamin
Farfel in the mid-1880's (exact year in discrepancy among documents)
2. At some point, probably after his immigration, he changed his surname to
Fine >from Farfel
3. Parents and siblings never came to US; most likely he travelled alone or
with another relative
4. His naturalization papers (both the 1910 declaration and the 1917
petition) say he came on or about July 10, 1901; the declaration says he
came >from Liverpool to New York on ship "unknown"
5. His 1922 passport application (he travelled back to Russia some time
between 1923 and 1925) indicates that he came in July 1901 sailing >from "Canada"
6. He lived on the Lower East Side first, then Borough Park. Never, to my
knowledge, lived outside NYC. Highly unlikely to have entered through
another East Coast port such as Boston or Baltimore.
7. Owned his own dry goods store in Brooklyn.
8. At some point, either on his initial trip or more likely a later trip, he
appears to have smuggled jewelry into the US containing about $100K or more
(current value) worth of diamonds and emeralds, meaning he had reason to
avoid leaving a paper trail
I have tried the following:
1. NARA index for both Fine and Farfel
2. EIDB/Morse - every immigrant >from Nesvizh or town names that look like it
3. EIDB/Morse - Every immigrant with the name Farfel or Fine
4. EIDB/Morse - All Farfel D-M soundex matches
5. St. Albans indices for 1900 through 1902
6. Every line of every ship manifest for ships arriving at Ellis Island in
I would appreciate any light-bulb revelations or ideas you may have. Feel
free to ask follow-up questions, I have more information.
Highland Park, NJ USA