JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen RE: Finding Cities of Origin #general

Linda Shefler

Stephen Silberman asked how to find cities of origins for his ancestors <<
My ancestors came to the US in the 1880s. In three of the four cases I have
a country of origin but no idea of the city! >>. I responded to Stephen
privately, but assume my experiences might prove helpful to others with the
same question, so here is my response:

My family starting arriving in the US in the 1850s and my situation was the
same as yours, I had country names (which frequently changed with each new
census), but no clue about towns. Eventually I managed to locate all of the
places of birth for my gg grandparents, but it required definite

I would suggest an expanded version of the obvious; check death
certificates, but also check the records >from the funeral home as well as
the cemetery. Frequently I found two of those three records would list
place of birth 'unknown', but the third source would actually list a place.
Many times it wasn't the record for the specific individual which had the
information, but the record for either a child or a sibling. Of course
there is no guarantee that siblings were born in the same place, but it's
definitely a place to start! My gg grandparents had 7 children and it was
the 7th death certificate that I located that finally listed the place of
birth for my gg grandmother, all the others indicated 'unknown'. It can be
that the records for your direct ancestor won't have the information, that's
why it's important to go wide in your research. Someone in the family knew
the information and included it somewhere!

I also found places of birth for two gg grandfathers on their passport
applications. Both of them acquired passports decades before they were
mandatory (lucky for me) and again, some of the applications just listed a
country, while other applications were more specific and indicated towns.
The passport applications for these two ancestors were found on Ancestry.

Linda Silverman Shefler

From: silberman@...
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2012 13:57:37 +0000 (GMT+00:00)

What I am searching is as follows:

Abramson Russia
Silberman Romania
Collins Russia

I've been unable to locate any immigration records for these folk and no
city or area which sort of dead ends my search. Does anyone have a clue
as to how I might proceed?


Stephen Silberman

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