How I finally found grandpa on the ship manifest #general

Roni S. Liebowitz

My very first post to the JewishGen listserv was soon after I got bitten by
the genealogy bug in 1997. I had managed to get a copy of my gp's (Morris
SEIBEL's) naturalization papers which stated his date of arrival in New
York (March 19, 1906), and the name of the ship (Giulia). I thought it
would be a no-brainer to find his manifest. According to Morton-Allen
Directory, the ship did indeed arrive in NY on the date he stated. I
spent many hours at NARA looking at that manifest, but no gp. Every time
I went to the archives, I checked the manifest again, thinking he would
magically appear.

When I was in Washington a year later, a volunteer at NARA took the
microfilm >from me and claimed he would find gp. Didn't happen. So how did
I finally find him?

Once the Ellis Island database was on-line, I continued my quest >from the
comfort of my home. Using Stephen Morse's search tools, I manipulated the
searches in every possible way. Months passed. Finally, frustrated, I put
only "S" in the surname space and "M" in the given name. I listed only
1906, male, and limited the age range. Still, a very long list of men
appeared. I decided to look at the manifests for ALL the Morris, Moses,
Max and Moische given names. I scrolled through several manifests and
paid closer attention to March, the month he claimed he arrived. Then I
came across the index for Moses SCHARFF. Why even bother to look? I was
desperate. When I saw the actual manifest, I noticed the name SCHARFF
looked more like SCHAFIR. That was gp's mother's maiden name!!!
Although many family members lived in Galicia, grandpa was >from the
Klimontow area, in nearby Poland. I remembered Mark Halpern explained
that many children in Galicia took their mothers' surnames since only
civil marriages (not religious ones) were recognized by the state. Could
this really be my gp---at last!? The person who indexed the manifest
listed "Runari" as his place of residence. Comparing the scribe's
handwriting of the letters "K" and "R", I realized this actually
said "Konary," a nearby town where gp's late mother's sister lived. Then
I scrolled across the page and saw that he was going to his father (drum
roll) Mendel SEIBEL at 218 Delancey Street in New York! *Bingo*! How many
times had I looked at the manifest on the microfilm readers and passed by
the listing for "Moses SCHARFF," never scrolling to the right and
discovering this is really gp Morris SEIBEL!

I know I wasn't alone in my search for a lost gp. I hope this helps some
of you find your ancestors too. Good luck.

Regards and Happy Chanukah,
Roni Seibel Liebowitz
New York

SEIBEL and SZAEFER ---Klimontow, Nadbrzezie, Konary, Grebow, Krakow,
Baronow Sandomierski, Rozwadow, Tarnobrzeg, Zukow in Poland; Lviv in
Ukraine (Galicia) KLOSS and OSER ---Klimontow, Konary, Radom, Tarnobrzeg,
Ozarow in Poland PRZYBYLSKI (later BILSKY) and PIASKOWSKI ---Belchatow,
Wegrow, Czerwonka, Warsaw, Minsk Mazowiecki, Radom in Poland

Join to automatically receive all group messages.