JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Question concerning Conscription into the Czar's Army #general

Robert Israel <israel@...>

mel@... (Mel Werbach) writes:
If parents decided to try to protect their son
through an adoption, how did they select which couple
to ask? Would they turn first to one of the husband's
brothers living in another shtetl, and thus maintain
the family surname while changing the place of
residence in order to confuse the authorities?
I suspect that the main consideration was distance rather than
surname. This was not a case of fooling an efficient centralized
bureaucracy, it was a matter of fooling the local khapper. You
certainly would not want to stay in the same shtetl where everybody
knew everybody else; that wouldn't fool anybody. But with a move
of 81 miles to a different guberniya, even if the khapper found
out where the boy went it might not have been worth the trouble to
pursue him there. Now, who would they send the boy to? It had to
be someone they knew well and trusted, and who would be willing to
take the boy in. Most likely a family member, if one was available.
So I think it's quite likely that the adoptive father was a brother
or a cousin.
Robert Israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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