Date   

Re: Questions about possible Lithuanian descent #lithuania

Jules Levin
 

On 9/14/2012 9:10 AM, Chuck Weinstein wrote:

Answering this question requires an historical context.

Lithuania (and Poland) did not exist as a separate country >from the late
18th century until 1918. It, like much of Poland, was part of the Russian
Empire. In Suwalki, there were a large number of ethnic Germans, some
Poles, and some Lithuanians. The Jews of the area considered themselves
Litvaks, based on their cultural affinity with Lithuanian Jews.
Litvakland corresponds to the older borders of historic Lithuania,
something that the Lithuanians themselves are aware of. Litvaks are
defined as such by other Jews by their dialect, customs, and religious
practices.


that further would take more space than we need. There are several books on
the subject. At the end of World War I, Lithuania and Poland fought a war
to establish the border between them. Ultimately, Suwalki wound up in
Poland, where it remains to this day.
Poland ignored the decisions of the Versailles treaty in expanding
its borders. The Jews of Vilna supported Lithuania's claim, but it was
taken by Poland. The USSR returned it to Lithuania in 1940.


Their nationality would have been Russian.
No! Only Russians would have been Russian. On all official documents,
tsarist and Soviet, on the "natsional'nost'" line, their nationality would
have been "Yevrey"--Jew.

Chances are, however, especially
if they had a lot of dealings with their non-Jewish neighbors, they would
have spoken either German, Polish, or both, along with Yiddish. Very
little Lithuanian was spoken in that area, although it would have been
understood by many of their neighbors. Prior to 1918, their nationality
would have been Russian, however, they, being in geographical Poland, might
have identified as Russian/Polish, or as German, since they might well have
spoken German.
Never. Whatever the languages they spoke, they would only have been Jews!

Jules Levin
Los Angeles


Lithuania SIG #Lithuania Re: Questions about possible Lithuanian descent #lithuania

Jules Levin
 

On 9/14/2012 9:10 AM, Chuck Weinstein wrote:

Answering this question requires an historical context.

Lithuania (and Poland) did not exist as a separate country >from the late
18th century until 1918. It, like much of Poland, was part of the Russian
Empire. In Suwalki, there were a large number of ethnic Germans, some
Poles, and some Lithuanians. The Jews of the area considered themselves
Litvaks, based on their cultural affinity with Lithuanian Jews.
Litvakland corresponds to the older borders of historic Lithuania,
something that the Lithuanians themselves are aware of. Litvaks are
defined as such by other Jews by their dialect, customs, and religious
practices.


that further would take more space than we need. There are several books on
the subject. At the end of World War I, Lithuania and Poland fought a war
to establish the border between them. Ultimately, Suwalki wound up in
Poland, where it remains to this day.
Poland ignored the decisions of the Versailles treaty in expanding
its borders. The Jews of Vilna supported Lithuania's claim, but it was
taken by Poland. The USSR returned it to Lithuania in 1940.


Their nationality would have been Russian.
No! Only Russians would have been Russian. On all official documents,
tsarist and Soviet, on the "natsional'nost'" line, their nationality would
have been "Yevrey"--Jew.

Chances are, however, especially
if they had a lot of dealings with their non-Jewish neighbors, they would
have spoken either German, Polish, or both, along with Yiddish. Very
little Lithuanian was spoken in that area, although it would have been
understood by many of their neighbors. Prior to 1918, their nationality
would have been Russian, however, they, being in geographical Poland, might
have identified as Russian/Polish, or as German, since they might well have
spoken German.
Never. Whatever the languages they spoke, they would only have been Jews!

Jules Levin
Los Angeles


Re: "Questions about Possible Lithuanian Descent" #lithuania

Martha Forsyth
 

I am very grateful for the three thoughtful answers I have seen (so far)
to Wendy's question. I too have "occasional family references" to
Litvak - and I had been wondering how to interpret that. Thanks to you
people, I now have some idea!

Martha Schecter Forsyth
Newton, MA


Lithuania SIG #Lithuania Re: "Questions about Possible Lithuanian Descent" #lithuania

Martha Forsyth
 

I am very grateful for the three thoughtful answers I have seen (so far)
to Wendy's question. I too have "occasional family references" to
Litvak - and I had been wondering how to interpret that. Thanks to you
people, I now have some idea!

Martha Schecter Forsyth
Newton, MA


Re: "Questions about Possible Lithuanian Descent" digest: September 13, 2012 #lithuania

guyleslie@...
 

Dear Wendy,

There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding. By your writing to
Litvaksig, I am making the assumption that you are of Jewish heritage. In
which case, your family background is none of the above. You are not of
Lithuanian, Polish, Russian or German descent. By the criteria of your
ancestors and the people amongst which they dwelt, you are of
Jewish/Hebrew descent. I do not mean this in any way simplisticly,
facetiously, or chauvinistically. This identification is one of the most
fundamental errors made by genealogists newly researching Tsarist Russian
backgrounds. 'Jewish/Hebrew' was a definitive governmental
ethnicity/nationality.

For the entire time period referenced by you, the territories were all
part of Tsarist Russia. The Tsarist government shifted the borders/names of
their Western provinces a number of times that resulted in Suwalki belonging
to different Gubernia at different times, but that is all irrelevent to
your family heritage. By the way, you mention tracing your family back to
the 'mid-1700's', yet only mention individuals in the mid 1800's. It is
extremely difficult to trace one's Jewish ancestors further back than the
Polish Partitions of the 1780's and the assumption of the relevent
territories by Tsarist Russia. If you have records (or even first-hand
family autobiographies) going further back then I presume none of this
will be new to you.

Both Tsarist Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth it absorbed had
very delineated and stratified societies. Indigenous Poles, indigenous
Lithuanians, and indigenous Russians made up only a portion of their
respective 'countries'. They were all empires; the rest of the population
could not and would not have identified themselves as Poles/Lithuanian
/Russians. They would not have been allowed to even if they wished. Rather,
to such a question they would have answered: Tartar, Mennonite, Hebrew,
German etc. Jews/Hebrews, in particular, were definitively registered and
perceived as a separate nationality/ethnicity, quite apart >from their
religious beliefs.

Now we come to your dilemma. When our ancestors emigrated and were asked
to identify their 'origins', they were confused. In many cases you will
find they would answer 'Hebrew', if they could, because that was they way
they had always been categorized. But they were also quick to realize that
in the New World, Jews had assimilated and had the right to call themselves
'American', 'German', 'British';, irrespective of religion or grandfather's
heritage. This was extraordinary to them. They came to realize that the
question re nationality/background as asked, for example, in the US Census,
really expected them to identify the latest country of origin.

But for them, history was more fluid. They really hadn't studied or cared
about the shifting borders in their grandparents time. They would not have
heard their parents or grandparents self-identify as anything but
Hebrew/Jewish. (By the way, there were always exceptions, particularly in
sophisticated cities like Riga where cultured Jews already self-aggrandized
themselves as "German", etc). So their responses were often arbitrary and
confused, and shifted over time: For a Jewish family settled in Suwalki,
identity was like one of those Russian nesting-dolls - a doll within a doll
within a doll. They were JEWS who happened to be in an area with a GERMAN
background that had been absorbed into the LITHUANIAN Empire, that had
(ostensibly) become part of 'POLAND' (the shorthand), that had been annexed
by RUSSIA.

As far as your emigrant ancestors were concerned, any of these were valid
answers. What they actually answered would depend on whim, what their
neighbors were saying, what their spouse professed, what sounded more
sophisticated. And it could change over time. While they might put RUSSIAN
in the 1910 census, they might then put LITHUANIAN in the 1920 census
because they'd heard that Lithuania (even though just a tiny rump state,
just a tenth of the 'Lithuania' they conceived of) had regained its
independence in 1917.

Personally, I have relatives who put down all of 'German', 'Polish',
'Lithuanian' and 'Hebrew', and 'Russian Empire' on different documents
and censes - the same person.

To your key question: No, you are not really considered of Lithuanian
descent, and unless you can demonstrate ancestral Lithuanian
presence/citizenship post 1917, the current Lithuanian government would
not consider you so.

Regards,
Donald Press
New York
Researching: PRESS/PRES (Seda/Plunge, Lithuania & South Africa); HOFFMAN
(South Africa & USA); OWSEOWITZ (Silale & South Africa); BRUKH (Plunge,
Lith.); MILNER (Silale); HART (London); DAVIDS (Amsterdam, London); BERMAN
(Siauliai); LIPSCHITZ (Pumpanai); PRESS/SILVERSTONE (Manchester/Liverpool)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Subject: Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent
From: Wendy Hoechstetter <wendyannh@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 01:38:27 -0700
X-Message-Number: 1

Hi, all,

I hope these questions aren't off topic, but I've been trying to figure
out the answers on my own with very little background and have been
unable to.

First, I've recently learned that my father's mother's father's family
(Wolkowski/Wolkowsky/Wolk at different times) came >from Suwalki and
Przerosl and I traced them back to the mid-1700s there. My great
grandfather (Wolf/William) was born in 1862, while others in that
generation were born earlier, and at least one as late as around 1875 or
so. William came to the US around 1879.

At different times, my grandmother reported her parents as being Polish
or Russian on US censuses, or Ruso-Polish.

I realize that this region changed hands quite a bit, and date of birth
would likely determine what the actual legal nationality was, so it
seems as if these discrepancies in reporting may be related to... what?
Reporting what the area was actually called at the time of each
individual census? Differences in just how they felt about where they
came from? The fact that different children in my ggf's generation
probably were of different legal nationalities?

*The kicker* - apparently they actually identify/ied as being
Lithuanian, however, according to recorded interviews of late relatives
who were themselves born abroad, as well as a few surviving ones.

How can this be?

My father always told me they were Polish/German, so this is all totally
new to me.

As best as I've been able to tell, this region was never actually under
Lithuanian control, at least not close enough to the time my ancestors
were born, but I've also read reports that Lithuania actually claimed it
at some periods of time at least near these dates anyways, as if they
really did own it.

I've also read that national identity in that whole region tends to
track more with cultural factors and language than with national
borders, particularly because of the fluidity of the latter, so I do
know that it appears to be common for people who lived their whole lives
in one region to actually consider themselves a different nationality.
It seems like every source I look at reports different dates for
different border configurations, and I have no idea what to believe
about what each area was when, or how this self-identification and
governmental claims intersect with legal realities.

So how do we get people who identify as Lithuanian (although they report
Polish and Russian on the census), especially when they report "Hebrew"
(and sometimes also Polish) as their parents' native languages?
Wouldn't someone at least have been reported as speaking Lithuanian (or
whatever they called that language then; I forget the name)?

**And my main question** - if Lithuania really did think it owned this
region at the time, do I therefore have any claim to Lithuanian descent
via this great grandfather? And most particularly, would the government
of Lithuania today recognize that or not?

Thanks in advance for any clarification anyone can offer.

Wendy Hoechstetter

P.S. I do know I am of clear Lithuanian descent in another branch of
this same family, a generation further back (Morris Nathan Rosenthal -
the parents of Wolf/William's wife Rachel), but I've got particular
reasons to want to establish if this is the case or not with the
Wolkowski line as well.


Lithuania SIG #Lithuania Re: "Questions about Possible Lithuanian Descent" digest: September 13, 2012 #lithuania

guyleslie@...
 

Dear Wendy,

There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding. By your writing to
Litvaksig, I am making the assumption that you are of Jewish heritage. In
which case, your family background is none of the above. You are not of
Lithuanian, Polish, Russian or German descent. By the criteria of your
ancestors and the people amongst which they dwelt, you are of
Jewish/Hebrew descent. I do not mean this in any way simplisticly,
facetiously, or chauvinistically. This identification is one of the most
fundamental errors made by genealogists newly researching Tsarist Russian
backgrounds. 'Jewish/Hebrew' was a definitive governmental
ethnicity/nationality.

For the entire time period referenced by you, the territories were all
part of Tsarist Russia. The Tsarist government shifted the borders/names of
their Western provinces a number of times that resulted in Suwalki belonging
to different Gubernia at different times, but that is all irrelevent to
your family heritage. By the way, you mention tracing your family back to
the 'mid-1700's', yet only mention individuals in the mid 1800's. It is
extremely difficult to trace one's Jewish ancestors further back than the
Polish Partitions of the 1780's and the assumption of the relevent
territories by Tsarist Russia. If you have records (or even first-hand
family autobiographies) going further back then I presume none of this
will be new to you.

Both Tsarist Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth it absorbed had
very delineated and stratified societies. Indigenous Poles, indigenous
Lithuanians, and indigenous Russians made up only a portion of their
respective 'countries'. They were all empires; the rest of the population
could not and would not have identified themselves as Poles/Lithuanian
/Russians. They would not have been allowed to even if they wished. Rather,
to such a question they would have answered: Tartar, Mennonite, Hebrew,
German etc. Jews/Hebrews, in particular, were definitively registered and
perceived as a separate nationality/ethnicity, quite apart >from their
religious beliefs.

Now we come to your dilemma. When our ancestors emigrated and were asked
to identify their 'origins', they were confused. In many cases you will
find they would answer 'Hebrew', if they could, because that was they way
they had always been categorized. But they were also quick to realize that
in the New World, Jews had assimilated and had the right to call themselves
'American', 'German', 'British';, irrespective of religion or grandfather's
heritage. This was extraordinary to them. They came to realize that the
question re nationality/background as asked, for example, in the US Census,
really expected them to identify the latest country of origin.

But for them, history was more fluid. They really hadn't studied or cared
about the shifting borders in their grandparents time. They would not have
heard their parents or grandparents self-identify as anything but
Hebrew/Jewish. (By the way, there were always exceptions, particularly in
sophisticated cities like Riga where cultured Jews already self-aggrandized
themselves as "German", etc). So their responses were often arbitrary and
confused, and shifted over time: For a Jewish family settled in Suwalki,
identity was like one of those Russian nesting-dolls - a doll within a doll
within a doll. They were JEWS who happened to be in an area with a GERMAN
background that had been absorbed into the LITHUANIAN Empire, that had
(ostensibly) become part of 'POLAND' (the shorthand), that had been annexed
by RUSSIA.

As far as your emigrant ancestors were concerned, any of these were valid
answers. What they actually answered would depend on whim, what their
neighbors were saying, what their spouse professed, what sounded more
sophisticated. And it could change over time. While they might put RUSSIAN
in the 1910 census, they might then put LITHUANIAN in the 1920 census
because they'd heard that Lithuania (even though just a tiny rump state,
just a tenth of the 'Lithuania' they conceived of) had regained its
independence in 1917.

Personally, I have relatives who put down all of 'German', 'Polish',
'Lithuanian' and 'Hebrew', and 'Russian Empire' on different documents
and censes - the same person.

To your key question: No, you are not really considered of Lithuanian
descent, and unless you can demonstrate ancestral Lithuanian
presence/citizenship post 1917, the current Lithuanian government would
not consider you so.

Regards,
Donald Press
New York
Researching: PRESS/PRES (Seda/Plunge, Lithuania & South Africa); HOFFMAN
(South Africa & USA); OWSEOWITZ (Silale & South Africa); BRUKH (Plunge,
Lith.); MILNER (Silale); HART (London); DAVIDS (Amsterdam, London); BERMAN
(Siauliai); LIPSCHITZ (Pumpanai); PRESS/SILVERSTONE (Manchester/Liverpool)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Subject: Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent
From: Wendy Hoechstetter <wendyannh@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 01:38:27 -0700
X-Message-Number: 1

Hi, all,

I hope these questions aren't off topic, but I've been trying to figure
out the answers on my own with very little background and have been
unable to.

First, I've recently learned that my father's mother's father's family
(Wolkowski/Wolkowsky/Wolk at different times) came >from Suwalki and
Przerosl and I traced them back to the mid-1700s there. My great
grandfather (Wolf/William) was born in 1862, while others in that
generation were born earlier, and at least one as late as around 1875 or
so. William came to the US around 1879.

At different times, my grandmother reported her parents as being Polish
or Russian on US censuses, or Ruso-Polish.

I realize that this region changed hands quite a bit, and date of birth
would likely determine what the actual legal nationality was, so it
seems as if these discrepancies in reporting may be related to... what?
Reporting what the area was actually called at the time of each
individual census? Differences in just how they felt about where they
came from? The fact that different children in my ggf's generation
probably were of different legal nationalities?

*The kicker* - apparently they actually identify/ied as being
Lithuanian, however, according to recorded interviews of late relatives
who were themselves born abroad, as well as a few surviving ones.

How can this be?

My father always told me they were Polish/German, so this is all totally
new to me.

As best as I've been able to tell, this region was never actually under
Lithuanian control, at least not close enough to the time my ancestors
were born, but I've also read reports that Lithuania actually claimed it
at some periods of time at least near these dates anyways, as if they
really did own it.

I've also read that national identity in that whole region tends to
track more with cultural factors and language than with national
borders, particularly because of the fluidity of the latter, so I do
know that it appears to be common for people who lived their whole lives
in one region to actually consider themselves a different nationality.
It seems like every source I look at reports different dates for
different border configurations, and I have no idea what to believe
about what each area was when, or how this self-identification and
governmental claims intersect with legal realities.

So how do we get people who identify as Lithuanian (although they report
Polish and Russian on the census), especially when they report "Hebrew"
(and sometimes also Polish) as their parents' native languages?
Wouldn't someone at least have been reported as speaking Lithuanian (or
whatever they called that language then; I forget the name)?

**And my main question** - if Lithuania really did think it owned this
region at the time, do I therefore have any claim to Lithuanian descent
via this great grandfather? And most particularly, would the government
of Lithuania today recognize that or not?

Thanks in advance for any clarification anyone can offer.

Wendy Hoechstetter

P.S. I do know I am of clear Lithuanian descent in another branch of
this same family, a generation further back (Morris Nathan Rosenthal -
the parents of Wolf/William's wife Rachel), but I've got particular
reasons to want to establish if this is the case or not with the
Wolkowski line as well.


Sophia Amdurski b Bialystok circa 1830s - Amdurski/Goldtz/Lapin of Bialystok #poland

Brendan Foley <londonwriter2001@...>
 

Hello all, I'm new to list. I've just started to research my wife's
ancestors in Bialystok and wondered if the following rang any bells:

Carl Goldtz/Geldtz M Sophia Amdursky in Bialystok circa 1850. Their
daughter Scheine/Jennie Goldtz b c1859 married Salmine/Zalimine
(Solomon) Lapin b. c1855 (in Bialystok) Their daughter Shose/Sophie
Lapin b. 1890 Bialystok, Married twice in Chicago (Hymen Stein 1910);
Jacob Resnick 1920.

All help and suggestions on Bialystok research welcome.

All best,
Brendan Foley


BialyGen: Bialystok Region #Bialystok #Poland Sophia Amdurski b Bialystok circa 1830s - Amdurski/Goldtz/Lapin of Bialystok #poland

Brendan Foley <londonwriter2001@...>
 

Hello all, I'm new to list. I've just started to research my wife's
ancestors in Bialystok and wondered if the following rang any bells:

Carl Goldtz/Geldtz M Sophia Amdursky in Bialystok circa 1850. Their
daughter Scheine/Jennie Goldtz b c1859 married Salmine/Zalimine
(Solomon) Lapin b. c1855 (in Bialystok) Their daughter Shose/Sophie
Lapin b. 1890 Bialystok, Married twice in Chicago (Hymen Stein 1910);
Jacob Resnick 1920.

All help and suggestions on Bialystok research welcome.

All best,
Brendan Foley


More LASK volunteers needed #poland

Daniel Hanoch Wagner
 

Shana Tova to all,

The record indexing project of Lask is going well. However, I would like to
increase its pace. I need more volunteers to extract records >from
microfilms.

I can be contacted at Daniel.wagner@weizmann.ac.il
Thank you for any help with this.

H. Daniel Wagner (Prof.)
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot 76100, Israel

MODERATOR'S NOTE: Please respond privately.


JRI Poland #Poland More LASK volunteers needed #poland

Daniel Hanoch Wagner
 

Shana Tova to all,

The record indexing project of Lask is going well. However, I would like to
increase its pace. I need more volunteers to extract records >from
microfilms.

I can be contacted at Daniel.wagner@weizmann.ac.il
Thank you for any help with this.

H. Daniel Wagner (Prof.)
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot 76100, Israel

MODERATOR'S NOTE: Please respond privately.


Re: Questions about possible Lithuanian descent #lithuania

Chuck Weinstein <cmw521@...>
 

Answering this question requires an historical context.

Lithuania (and Poland) did not exist as a separate country >from the late
18th century until 1918. It, like much of Poland, was part of the Russian
Empire. In Suwalki, there were a large number of ethnic Germans, some
Poles, and some Lithuanians. The Jews of the area considered themselves
Litvaks, based on their cultural affinity with Lithuanian Jews. To explain
that further would take more space than we need. There are several books on
the subject. At the end of World War I, Lithuania and Poland fought a war
to establish the border between them. Ultimately, Suwalki wound up in
Poland, where it remains to this day.

Their nationality would have been Russian. Chances are, however, especially
if they had a lot of dealings with their non-Jewish neighbors, they would
have spoken either German, Polish, or both, along with Yiddish. Very
little Lithuanian was spoken in that area, although it would have been
understood by many of their neighbors. Prior to 1918, their nationality
would have been Russian, however, they, being in geographical Poland, might
have identified as Russian/Polish, or as German, since they might well have
spoken German.

I am not so certain about Przerosl. I believe prior to 1918, that area was
part of East Prussia. Sovereignty was given >from Germany to Poland in the
Treaty of Versailles. Most Jews there probably would have considered
themselves German/Jewish.

Hope this helps.

Chuck Weinstein
Bellport, NY
Cmw521@earthlink.net

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent
From: Wendy Hoechstetter <wendyannh@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 01:38:27 -0700
X-Message-Number: 1

Hi, all,

I hope these questions aren't off topic, but I've been trying to figure out
the answers on my own with very little background and have been unable to.

First, I've recently learned that my father's mother's father's family
(Wolkowski/Wolkowsky/Wolk at different times) came >from Suwalki and Przerosl
and I traced them back to the mid-1700s there. My great grandfather
(Wolf/William) was born in 1862, while others in that generation were born
earlier, and at least one as late as around 1875 or so. William came to the
US around 1879.

At different times, my grandmother reported her parents as being Polish or
Russian on US censuses, or Ruso-Polish.

I realize that this region changed hands quite a bit, and date of birth
would likely determine what the actual legal nationality was, so it seems as
if these discrepancies in reporting may be related to... what?
Reporting what the area was actually called at the time of each individual
census? Differences in just how they felt about where they came from? The
fact that different children in my ggf's generation probably were of
different legal nationalities?

*The kicker* - apparently they actually identify/ied as being Lithuanian,
however, according to recorded interviews of late relatives who were
themselves born abroad, as well as a few surviving ones.

How can this be?

My father always told me they were Polish/German, so this is all totally new
to me.

As best as I've been able to tell, this region was never actually under
Lithuanian control, at least not close enough to the time my ancestors were
born, but I've also read reports that Lithuania actually claimed it at some
periods of time at least near these dates anyways, as if they really did own
it.

I've also read that national identity in that whole region tends to track
more with cultural factors and language than with national borders,
particularly because of the fluidity of the latter, so I do know that it
appears to be common for people who lived their whole lives in one region to
actually consider themselves a different nationality.
It seems like every source I look at reports different dates for different
border configurations, and I have no idea what to believe about what each
area was when, or how this self-identification and governmental claims
intersect with legal realities.

So how do we get people who identify as Lithuanian (although they report
Polish and Russian on the census), especially when they report "Hebrew"
(and sometimes also Polish) as their parents' native languages?
Wouldn't someone at least have been reported as speaking Lithuanian (or
whatever they called that language then; I forget the name)?

**And my main question** - if Lithuania really did think it owned this
region at the time, do I therefore have any claim to Lithuanian descent via
this great grandfather? And most particularly, would the government of
Lithuania today recognize that or not?

Thanks in advance for any clarification anyone can offer.

Wendy Hoechstetter

P.S. I do know I am of clear Lithuanian descent in another branch of this
same family, a generation further back (Morris Nathan Rosenthal - the
parents of Wolf/William's wife Rachel), but I've got particular reasons to
want to establish if this is the case or not with the Wolkowski line as
well.


Lithuania SIG #Lithuania RE: Questions about possible Lithuanian descent #lithuania

Chuck Weinstein <cmw521@...>
 

Answering this question requires an historical context.

Lithuania (and Poland) did not exist as a separate country >from the late
18th century until 1918. It, like much of Poland, was part of the Russian
Empire. In Suwalki, there were a large number of ethnic Germans, some
Poles, and some Lithuanians. The Jews of the area considered themselves
Litvaks, based on their cultural affinity with Lithuanian Jews. To explain
that further would take more space than we need. There are several books on
the subject. At the end of World War I, Lithuania and Poland fought a war
to establish the border between them. Ultimately, Suwalki wound up in
Poland, where it remains to this day.

Their nationality would have been Russian. Chances are, however, especially
if they had a lot of dealings with their non-Jewish neighbors, they would
have spoken either German, Polish, or both, along with Yiddish. Very
little Lithuanian was spoken in that area, although it would have been
understood by many of their neighbors. Prior to 1918, their nationality
would have been Russian, however, they, being in geographical Poland, might
have identified as Russian/Polish, or as German, since they might well have
spoken German.

I am not so certain about Przerosl. I believe prior to 1918, that area was
part of East Prussia. Sovereignty was given >from Germany to Poland in the
Treaty of Versailles. Most Jews there probably would have considered
themselves German/Jewish.

Hope this helps.

Chuck Weinstein
Bellport, NY
Cmw521@earthlink.net

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent
From: Wendy Hoechstetter <wendyannh@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 01:38:27 -0700
X-Message-Number: 1

Hi, all,

I hope these questions aren't off topic, but I've been trying to figure out
the answers on my own with very little background and have been unable to.

First, I've recently learned that my father's mother's father's family
(Wolkowski/Wolkowsky/Wolk at different times) came >from Suwalki and Przerosl
and I traced them back to the mid-1700s there. My great grandfather
(Wolf/William) was born in 1862, while others in that generation were born
earlier, and at least one as late as around 1875 or so. William came to the
US around 1879.

At different times, my grandmother reported her parents as being Polish or
Russian on US censuses, or Ruso-Polish.

I realize that this region changed hands quite a bit, and date of birth
would likely determine what the actual legal nationality was, so it seems as
if these discrepancies in reporting may be related to... what?
Reporting what the area was actually called at the time of each individual
census? Differences in just how they felt about where they came from? The
fact that different children in my ggf's generation probably were of
different legal nationalities?

*The kicker* - apparently they actually identify/ied as being Lithuanian,
however, according to recorded interviews of late relatives who were
themselves born abroad, as well as a few surviving ones.

How can this be?

My father always told me they were Polish/German, so this is all totally new
to me.

As best as I've been able to tell, this region was never actually under
Lithuanian control, at least not close enough to the time my ancestors were
born, but I've also read reports that Lithuania actually claimed it at some
periods of time at least near these dates anyways, as if they really did own
it.

I've also read that national identity in that whole region tends to track
more with cultural factors and language than with national borders,
particularly because of the fluidity of the latter, so I do know that it
appears to be common for people who lived their whole lives in one region to
actually consider themselves a different nationality.
It seems like every source I look at reports different dates for different
border configurations, and I have no idea what to believe about what each
area was when, or how this self-identification and governmental claims
intersect with legal realities.

So how do we get people who identify as Lithuanian (although they report
Polish and Russian on the census), especially when they report "Hebrew"
(and sometimes also Polish) as their parents' native languages?
Wouldn't someone at least have been reported as speaking Lithuanian (or
whatever they called that language then; I forget the name)?

**And my main question** - if Lithuania really did think it owned this
region at the time, do I therefore have any claim to Lithuanian descent via
this great grandfather? And most particularly, would the government of
Lithuania today recognize that or not?

Thanks in advance for any clarification anyone can offer.

Wendy Hoechstetter

P.S. I do know I am of clear Lithuanian descent in another branch of this
same family, a generation further back (Morris Nathan Rosenthal - the
parents of Wolf/William's wife Rachel), but I've got particular reasons to
want to establish if this is the case or not with the Wolkowski line as
well.


Riga marriage records 1857, 1858 and 1859 #latvia

Christine Usdin
 

http://usdine.free.fr/rigarecordsandcensus.html

Shana tova. Happy New Year!

Christine Usdin


Latvia SIG #Latvia Riga marriage records 1857, 1858 and 1859 #latvia

Christine Usdin
 

http://usdine.free.fr/rigarecordsandcensus.html

Shana tova. Happy New Year!

Christine Usdin


Researching Ferguson family - England #general

Martin Davis <dawidowicz@...>
 

Janet Paterson asked what the possible Polish or Russian name of
her ancestor Solomon Ferguson might be?

The only answer can be Shoyn Fargesin.

I am convinced of this for two reasons: 1) life imitates art
2) even the most classic of Jewish jokes must have a foundation
in reality.

Martin Davis
London - UK

MODERATOR NOTE: This is not the start of a thread about Jewish jokes.


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Researching Ferguson family - England #general

Martin Davis <dawidowicz@...>
 

Janet Paterson asked what the possible Polish or Russian name of
her ancestor Solomon Ferguson might be?

The only answer can be Shoyn Fargesin.

I am convinced of this for two reasons: 1) life imitates art
2) even the most classic of Jewish jokes must have a foundation
in reality.

Martin Davis
London - UK

MODERATOR NOTE: This is not the start of a thread about Jewish jokes.


Re: Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent #lithuania

Jon Seligman
 

Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent

The reason for your confusion is that being a Litvak (i.e. a Lithuanian
Jew) relates to Jews living, and culturally belonging to, the area of
the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or later the eastern half of the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This was a politically independent
territory >from the 12th century to 1795, after which the state was
co-opted into Russia and Prussia. So Litvaks do not live only within the
borders of the tiny interwar or present independent Lithuanian Republic
but also in an area that now covers northeastern Poland, north and
western Belarus and southern Latvia. Thus great centres of Litvak
culture, such as Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Bialystok, Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev,
Memel (Klaipeda) and Vitebsk, and even Vilna in the interwar period, are
all located outside what is now known as Lithuania. This means that
Litvaks can historically have Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, Belarussian,
Prussian and Russian citizenship, while all still living in the
territory that culturally defines them.

Shana Tova
Jon Seligman - Zur Hadassa

Researching:
SELIGMAN/ZELIKMAN - Dvinsk, Slobodka
JOFFE - Kraslava
LEDERMAN - Seduva
GILLIS - Kretinga
SANDMAN -Koenigsburg
FLEISHMAN - Seduva
YACHAD - Kraslava
SWARTZMAN - Kraslava


Lithuania SIG #Lithuania RE: Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent #lithuania

Jon Seligman
 

Questions About Possible Lithuanian Descent

The reason for your confusion is that being a Litvak (i.e. a Lithuanian
Jew) relates to Jews living, and culturally belonging to, the area of
the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or later the eastern half of the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This was a politically independent
territory >from the 12th century to 1795, after which the state was
co-opted into Russia and Prussia. So Litvaks do not live only within the
borders of the tiny interwar or present independent Lithuanian Republic
but also in an area that now covers northeastern Poland, north and
western Belarus and southern Latvia. Thus great centres of Litvak
culture, such as Dvinsk (Daugavpils), Bialystok, Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev,
Memel (Klaipeda) and Vitebsk, and even Vilna in the interwar period, are
all located outside what is now known as Lithuania. This means that
Litvaks can historically have Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, Belarussian,
Prussian and Russian citizenship, while all still living in the
territory that culturally defines them.

Shana Tova
Jon Seligman - Zur Hadassa

Researching:
SELIGMAN/ZELIKMAN - Dvinsk, Slobodka
JOFFE - Kraslava
LEDERMAN - Seduva
GILLIS - Kretinga
SANDMAN -Koenigsburg
FLEISHMAN - Seduva
YACHAD - Kraslava
SWARTZMAN - Kraslava


Dover, England Knighthood? #general

rootsjew@juno.com
 

I am posting this on behalf of a cousin.

It seems that my cousin's maternal grandfather, Harry M. HYMAN (born
October 15, 1886 in Marimpol, Lithuania. died January 18, 1957 in
Chicago, Illinois)was taught to be a printer by his (unnamed) uncle
who lived in Dover, England during the nineteenth century and was
knighted.

This uncle taught Harry, the son of Samuel HYMAN POTTERCHINSKY and
his wife, Makha, and Harry's brother the printing business, so when
Harry and his brother immigrated to the USA >from England through
Canada sometime between 1890 and 1904 they already had a skill and
capital to start their own printing business in Chicago. This
business was the Dearborn Press, located in downtown Chicago and
was in business >from around 1905 to 1960. The Dearborn Press
published the Sears Catalogue in the first part of the 20th century,
and Harry ran the business with his brother until the start of the
Depression, and then became the sole owner in the the early 1930s.

Apparently, Harry spoke five languages and lived in various countries
in Western Europe when we was a child. My cousin would like to find
out who Harry's uncle was and when and why he was knighted, and any
other early history of that family.

I figure if it's possible to solve this mystery based on sketchy but
fascinating clues, JewishGen's worldwide brain trust can do it- or at
least provide some good leads!

Thanks,

Stacy Harris
Nashville, TN USA


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Dover, England Knighthood? #general

rootsjew@juno.com
 

I am posting this on behalf of a cousin.

It seems that my cousin's maternal grandfather, Harry M. HYMAN (born
October 15, 1886 in Marimpol, Lithuania. died January 18, 1957 in
Chicago, Illinois)was taught to be a printer by his (unnamed) uncle
who lived in Dover, England during the nineteenth century and was
knighted.

This uncle taught Harry, the son of Samuel HYMAN POTTERCHINSKY and
his wife, Makha, and Harry's brother the printing business, so when
Harry and his brother immigrated to the USA >from England through
Canada sometime between 1890 and 1904 they already had a skill and
capital to start their own printing business in Chicago. This
business was the Dearborn Press, located in downtown Chicago and
was in business >from around 1905 to 1960. The Dearborn Press
published the Sears Catalogue in the first part of the 20th century,
and Harry ran the business with his brother until the start of the
Depression, and then became the sole owner in the the early 1930s.

Apparently, Harry spoke five languages and lived in various countries
in Western Europe when we was a child. My cousin would like to find
out who Harry's uncle was and when and why he was knighted, and any
other early history of that family.

I figure if it's possible to solve this mystery based on sketchy but
fascinating clues, JewishGen's worldwide brain trust can do it- or at
least provide some good leads!

Thanks,

Stacy Harris
Nashville, TN USA

147741 - 147760 of 654944