Re: Questions about Identity #general


I have read with great interest the different points of view with regard to
our ancestors and their birthdates. In 1946 my cousin Morris, age 61, wrote
his autobiography for his children. Here are some lines >from his work
explaining why he did not know his birthdate. Note that three Old Russian miles
were the equivalent of 13.92 American/British miles according to an online
converter. Morris has used a slightly larger multiplier in his description

"In order to give the exact date when I was born I would have to search of
my certificate of birth somewhere in a village that used to be in Russia. At
present time that village belongs to Poland. The name of the village is
Wielka Hlusha or in shorthand the Jews called it Lusha. The main city which was
located nearby the village Lusha is named Kovel. The distance >from Lusha to
Kovel was Russian nine miles. This is something like sixty American miles.
In order I should at present time get my birth certificate I would have to go
to a different city named Kobrin which is also the same amount of miles. My
recruiting ought to be in that city of Kobrin but being that I left Russia
before 21 years of age so I never have been in that city, the same I have
never seen Kovel. I am therefore not certain with my age and I do not know
exactly when I was born. The only thing that I do know my yearly time that it
happened in a certain day of September. In according with my estimation I
believe that the year of my birthday starts >from 1885. I am not still sure with
it, it is possible that I was born in 1884."

On the subject of the amount of traveling done by ancestors in this region,
Morris wrote about his father's birthplace [please remember again to use the
multiplier of 13.92 to convert Russian miles to American / British miles]:

"A secluded place somewhere in Russia far away >from a town. All you could
see over there was mud and dirty water. You could also see some fields and
farms..... There were living in that vicinity a round number of 10 thousand
people or more. That vicinity had about a hundred villages and about four
small towns.... Here is the name of one of the small towns: Divin, a small town
population of about 25 hundred. The most of the people were Jews. It
belonged to the state of Grodno. My father's family were born and raised over
there. I knew some of my grand uncles lived over there. My father and my
grandfather were born over there and I am sure that my great grandfather was also
born over there.

As far as I am concerned, I never saw that little town in my eyes. I have
to mention to you that this small town, Divin, was four Russian miles away
from the place where I was born. Then came a small town, its name was Kamin
Kaschirsky. It was three miles away >from the place where I was born. That
little town belonged to the state of Zitomir. That small town was doing
business with my birthplace, or better to say my birthplace used to get all kinds
of merchandise >from there. It seems to me that Kamin Kashirsky was the nearest
place in the mileage but also in connection. When some of the merchants of
my birthplace came out to buy merchandise, they could make it in a full day
to and fro. If they went four in the morning, they came back 10 in the
evening but not all of the time."

[>from what Morris has written, I gather that someone must have registered
his birth, but I do not know how it was done.]

Eleanor Gordon
Lafayette, CA

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