Alternate Immigration Modes?? Bernstein from Brest-Litovsk, Siegel from Kapyl #belarus


I am working on genealogy of my wife's family, and having much
difficulty finding the immigration of most of her Belarus ancestors on
the Ellis Island site. For instance, the family of Morris and Esther
(Appelbom) BERNSTEIN and their sons Jacob (born 1895), Louis (born
1903), and Samuel, all said to have immigrated in the early 1900's and
indeed living in Brooklyn. All >from Brest-Litovsk,Grodno, Minsk,
Belarus. Louis, specifically, told his grandson that he came here via
Ellis Island in 1917 with his mother. Yet, despite trying all
permutations, I have been unable to find any of them.
I am having similar trouble with the SIEGEL family >from
Kapyl,Slutsk,Minsk, Belarus (Morris, born 1793, and his mother "Bayle".
Yet other families I find easily. Is there some possible explanation,
i.e. alternate pathways, that would make these Jewish families hard to
trace even though they stated they came through Ellis Island?

Larry Ward


Larry, there are many reasons why you might not find family members in
the Ellis Island manifests: changed name, garbled transcription of
name, etc. You've tried working with that already.

But in this case, I think it's the date that's off. I collected 10
pages of names of people coming through Ellis Island >from my
grandparents' town (Wisoko-Litovsk, Brest, Grodno) and there is not one
name between 1914 and 1920. World War I disrupted travel during those years.

Have you found naturalization papers for any of them? Those may give a
more accurate date and should also give you the name of the ship, which
would narrow down your search. You say you found them in a census.
Which one(s)? 1920? 1930? What year did they tell the census taker
they arrived?

I'm also having a little trouble with the locality you've given. Grodno
and Minsk are two different Gubernyas. Brest-Litovsk is in Brest
district of Grodno Gub., though I have seen censuses where the
census-taker inaccurately wrote Minsk for anyone >from the area, now
Belarus, that changed hands >from Russia to Poland in WWI.

Hope that helps.
Joy Weaver
Islip, NY



They may have entered at a port other than New York.

Many of the ships >from Libau made a stop at Halifax before reaching
Ellis Island; your people may have disembarked there.

Many people entered at other ports, including Philadelphia.

Do consider points of entry other than Ellis Island.

Ken Ryesky
New York

(Gomel, Belarus),
GERTZOG/GURTH (Yelizavetgrad, Ukraine),