shoemakeers and soda bottlers #lithuania

Judith Singer

Dear Danielle: Thank you! for the information regarding soda bottling
plants in Vilna. It thought it was unlikely that my grandfather and
great-uncle would have both fallen into that trade in the U.S.
(especially since at the time, they lived a couple hundred miles away
from each other) if they had not already had a background in it in
Lithuania. It is very helpful to get the possibility of that
hypothesis confirmed, even if it's only the possibility and not the
hypothesis itself that was confirmed.)

Shoemaking is a different case, however. As Ann Rabinowitz pointed out
to me, the facts that there were shoe factories in Lithuania and that
my great-uncles worked in shoe factories in the U.S. after immigration
are not necessarily related. Verifying the existence of the shoe
factories in Lithuania merely confirms the possible truth of one
hypothesis. Unlike soda-bottling, shoemaking was a common occupation
in Lithuania, engaged in by many self-employed craftsmen. In my
family there, shoemaking was one of the most frequent occupations over
a span of a few generations. Therefore, in my case, it is at least as
likely that the older great-uncle who immigrated here first, was a
shoemaker on his own or in a small shop in Lithuania as that he was
employed in a factory. Another possibility is that someone they knew
in Lithuania had a job working in a shoe factory in the Boston area,
knew of employment opportunities there, and encouraged my great-uncle
to join him. In fact, I've located in U.S. records a person from
Lithuania with the same last name who was working at one of the shoe
factories in the Boston area. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to
identify him in the Lithuanian records so I don't know if he was

I want to be aware of all the possible paths someone might have taken
so that I will recognize relevant data if it becomes available and be
able to prove or disprove one of the possibilities.

Regarding your Berger / Vaynerovich issue: I assume you've checked
what Meer Berger's wife's maiden name was and the maiden names of
others in your family and Berger's. Mishpocheh were still often
regarded as being "family" and not merely in-laws at that time.
Another possible though unlikely scenario is that someone in the
Vaynerovich family had gotten into trouble with the authorities and
therefore the family was unable to get all the requisite permits, so
that Berger acted as a front man. And of course there is the problem
of faulty memory, even among those who are "as sharp as a tack". I ran
into that with a couple of details in the memoirs of my mother's first
cousin, who at the time she recounted her memoirs was still
exceptionally sharp.

Good luck, and thanks again.

Judith Singer

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