I'm researching the early life of my grandfather (Bennie ADELSON/Baruch IDELZIK), who left Belarus for Montreal in 1913. Once he had his Canadian papers, he went to New York in 1916, and then to Russia in 1917 to fight for the Bolsheviks. He stayed for two years, then stowed away on a ship from Yokahama to Vancouver in 1919. I've been able to get a fair amount of information from public sources, but I'm stymied about how to determine what he actually did during the two years he was back in Russia. Do you have any suggestions as to how I might find information about his activities during that time?
A few thoughts I've had:
- I am trying (so far with no success) to get ship passenger records of ships LEAVING Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria to Japan or China or Finland in 1917. It is easy to get records of passengers arriving in North America, but not going the other way.
- The Bolsheviks (or possibly the Provisional government) were apparently making funds available to people who wanted to return in 1917. Maybe there are records somewhere of who got those funds?
- There were reception committees when they arrived, doing screening to see who was a legitimate supporter of the cause. Maybe there are records of who they vetted?
- Would the Red Army of that early period have any types of records of who they assigned to what duties? Other records? He wasn't senior so I suspect the odds are fairly low. On the other hand, he spoke several languages (Russian, Yiddish, English, a bit of French, possibly bits of others) and was intelligent -- maybe he was given some special duties because of that?
I would be grateful for any advice you can offer. Thank you so much.