Re: How to Research with Little Info? GURVICH --> HARRIS #general

Judith Singer

Hi - I can help with one of your questions. Beginning in 1874, a male
conscripted into the Russian military had to be age 20 on January 1 of
the year in which he was drafted. (The horror stories of boys of 8
and 12 being snatched off the street applied only to earlier parts of
the century.)

There were various exceptions which might be applicable in this case:
the conscription could be postponed in order to complete the draftee's
education, and anyone who had evaded the draft remained eligible until
he served.

good luck - Judith Singer

From: Jenny Brown <>
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2015 17:40:06 -0400

I have had terrific success with many genealogical brick walls, but I have
one that is stumping me. What I am looking for is suggestions on where to
look. I am happy to do legwork, but I simply don't know where to begin with
my search!

Back when I was a teenager, before Internet and when my interests were more
passing (and when, truth be told, I didn't quite grasp that my grandparents
wouldn't be with us forever), I spoke with my grandmother about her mother
Rose. My great-grandmother Rose GURVICH, appears to be >from Soly, Lithuania
(though my grandmother told me she was >from Vilna, but Soly is where I've
found a death record for her mother and a marriage record of her sister,
Sophie GURVICH GOLDBERG). Rose married Ben BRENHOLZ in Liskavia, Lithuania.
I also have a postcard she sent Ben (when he came over first) that she sent
from Vilna.
I recently found the notes I took when speaking with my grandmother and it
turns out that Rose had a brother, Joe HARRIS. This is the extent of what I
have: "Joe changed last name to HARRIS. Ran away >from father. Eligible for
czar's army. Came to N.Y. Became active in Tammany Hall (corrupt). Had about
8 children."

And that's it! Rose and her sister had cut off all communication with Joe (or
perhaps Joe cut off all communication with them). Unfortunately, both Harris
and Gurvich are ridiculously common names. I spent one afternoon searching
through marriage records at the New York municipal archives to see if I could
find a marriage record for a Joe or Joseph Harris who had the parents names of
Pinchas/Peter and Basia/Bessie. I got nowhere and I don't think I scratched the
surface of Joe Harrises, especially as I don't know what borough he lived in.

So questions:
1) How old would one have been to be eligible for the czar's army? Rose was
born in 1891-1894 (depending on the record) and Sophie was born in 1884. I
don't know if Joe was older or younger, but their mother died in 1902, so he
had to be born before then.
2) Given that age, would it suggest what year Joe immigrated?
3) Any suggestions on where to look for any hints to this mysterious Joe
Harris? Specific records? I've had no luck when checking for
manifests for any Gurvich >from Soly or Vilna or Liskavia.

I know this is a shot in the dark, but I figured I'd ask in case anyone had
any suggestions!

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