Family Surname Mysteries #general
Linda Shefler <linsilv@...>
Since I never fail to get great suggestions >from this group, I've decided
that it's time I throw this "situation" out to you and see if anyone has
some insight or ideas, as I am truly stymied.
Some background: My SILVERMAN family came >from Zinkov, Podolia in the
Ukraine. They emigrated to Providence, RI about 1887. Of course, the
family name in Zinkov wasn't Silverman; what it was is still open to debate.
One suggestion is APPLEBAUM.
My gg grandfather Mordechai/Max *SILVERMAN* was married to Sima Rivka
PLOTKER/PLOTKE/PLOTKA bat Yeruhim Fischel PLOTKER/PLOTKE/PLOTKA.
Sima Rivka's death certificate reads "daughter of Philip PLOTKER" but her
matzeva says: "Sima Rivka bat Yeruhim Fishel ZILBERMAN". I was surprised
when I read that and couldn't understand how the mistake could have been
made. My gg grandfather was very much alive at the time and he would have
known the proper name of his wife's father. Also, if it was an error the
family would definitely have changed the matzeva.
Then I found the matzeva for Sima's brother (who came to America with Max
and Sima as their son. He was about 20 years younger then Sima and
according to family legend, he adopted the Silverman name along with the
rest of the family). His death certificate reads "son of Philip SILVERMAN"
and his matzeva reads "Israel bar FISHEL ZILBERMAN". To have a mistake like
that once is well, a mistake. Twice is significant!
Please tell me if this logic makes sense: Since Fishel and
PLOTKER/PLOTKE/PLOTKA mean "fish", does it seem logical that in order to
keep the secret of the origin of the family name (and it was definitely a
secret) Max and Sima gave Yeruhim Fishel a redundant last name (in other
words he became Yeruhim Fish Fish) so that they could then use the SILVERMAN
A relative told me that her mother used to say that the family's name was
originally deSILVA/daSILVA; that they originated in Toledo, Spain and were
jewelers. This can be significant or it can be pure fantasy (the woman was
unstable and her daughter doesn't know if her mother made the story up).
The reason it can be significant is that the SILVERMAN family settled in
Providence, RI and at the time there wasn't much of a Zinkover population
there. What there was, was a large jewelry manufacturing industry, which my
family got into shortly after arriving.
Supposedly, Mordechai took a silver coin out upon arriving in this country,
pointed to himself and voila, got the name Silverman! I know it didn't work
that way, but when Mordechai applied for US citizenship in 1891, it was
under the name of Silverman. How could he legally change his name before
becoming a citizen?
I have not been able to find any immigration records either through Castle
Garden or Hamburg for a family fitting the description of my family under
the name of SILVERMAN/ZILBERMAN; APPLEBAUM (in all it's variations) or
PLOTKER (in all it's variations). I have also gone through the two volumes
of "the Road to Letichev" and wasn't able to locate anyone that seemed to
Question: Does the idea and the logic behind taking the name SILVERMAN and
adding the name PLOTKER make sense?
Question: How could Max and Sima have become SILVERMAN before becoming
Question: Is anyone familiar with Sephardic research aware of a
deSILVA/daSILVA family of jewelers >from Toledo, Spain?
Question: Does anyone have any suggestions as to where else or even how
else I might look for the immigration records?
If anyone has anything else that they want to suggest, I am totally open to
input, advise and suggestions!!
Thank you all for your time, and unless you think the information will
benefit the group, please respond privately.
Linda Silverman Shefler
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