David M. Fox <davefox73@...>

I started researching my family in 1989 starting with the FYTELSON/TELSON
branch of my family. At that time there was no Belarus SIG and no All
Belarus Database, nor was I that knowledgeable about researching records
overseas. My research in the early years was limited to records in the US
and family oral history. Later I was able to get information >from the
Belarus records in the Minsk Archive filmed by the Family History Library
and also hired private researchers to search other records that were not
filmed. After the Belarus SIG was established and more records were
translated and added to the All Belarus Database I was able to take my
TSIVIN line >from Minsk back to my 7G grandfather who was born c 1731. When
I first started in 1989, I never in my wildest imagination would have
dreamed of being able to go back that far, especially after being told that
all the records "had been destroyed in all the wars".

During the course of my FYTELSON/TELSON research many years ago, I connected
with Sally J., another Belarus SIG member, whose FEITELSON family immigrated
to Connecticut >from Russia (not Mogilev and not even Belarus). While I was
born in New York, I grew up in Connecticut, and I never heard any of my
FYTELSON/TELSON (shortened version in US) relatives in NY ever mention
having family in Connecticut. Sally and I corresponded for years trying to
figure out if we were related. Last week, after being out of contact with
Sally for more then a year, I wrote and asked Sally to send me whatever she
had in the way of documents >from Russia. One of the documents she sent was
guild certificate of her great grandfather Faibush (Paul) Feitelson. The
document indicated that Faibush was registered in Mogilev and that he had
completed his training as a watchmaker. Two things rang a bell. One of
course was Mogilev and the other was his occupation because my great
grandfather Marcus FAITELSON was a jeweler, as were some of his sons-in-law.
Sally and I then exchanged photographs of our two great grandfathers and the
resemblance was uncanny. Then I saw on one of Faibush's documents that he
had red hair and blue eyes, certainly not a common trait in Jewish families.
Marcus had red hair and grey eyes according to his US passport. When Sally
told me that her gg grandfather's name was Chaim it matched with a Khaim I
had on my tree. We had finally found the person to connect the two family
trees and as a result, I am now able to go back to my 4G grandfather
FAITELSON which of course I share with Sally. While Sally's family
undoubtedly got special permission >from the Czar in c. 1870 to move from
Mogilev to an area in Russia outside the Pale of Settlement, her branch of
the family and my branch of the family lost contact after a few generations
and when both families immigrated to the US, neither knew of the existence
of the other. Now we are one family!

The lessons learned are be persistent in you research efforts, re-look at
old data, share information with others, don't kept hung up on variant
spellings of surnames, and never give up the search.


David Fox
Mail to:
Belarus SIG Founder and Past Coordinator
Arnold, MD USA

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