Question About Ukraine to US Travel Routes in 1912 #ukraine

Sheldon Rabin

Sometimes, like this morning, going over some long-held documents once
again and more carefully can raise some interesting new questions.

My great-grandmother Rose GOLDFARB and three daughters came over to
the US on the S.S. Kursk in 1912. All three girls were born in Kivertsy,
Ukraine per their U.S. marriage license affidavits, and Kiwrotzi
(presumably Kivertsy) was listed as their last residence on the ship's
manifest. However, when I looked again today at the ship's manifest,
I noticed that their departure port was Libau, Latvia and that later,
on the their naturalization applications, they had listed their last
residence before taking the ship as Vilna, Russia (presumably Vilnius,
Lithuania) and not Kivertsy.

Everyone else in my family tree >from the western Ukraine and
eastern Poland traveled to the US via ships that departed >from west
European cities including Bremen, Antwerp, etc. So, I am wondering
whether the GOLDFARB family's route via Latvia (600 miles >from Kivertsy
to Libau) was normal for people leaving northwestern Ukraine in that
period, or does it reflect the possibility that the GOLDFARB family
may have moved to Vilna for a time before moving on to Latvia and the US?

Any suggestions to help explain their travels will be much appreciated.

Sheldon Rabin


I'm looking at the Ellis Island ship records at The first ship arriving at Ellis
Island >from Libau is the SS Smolensk on July 25, 1906. Ships >from Libau
continued to arrive regularly until August 14, 1914. Then there was a
seven-year hiatus, presumably due to WWI and the Russian Revolution.
Arrivals >from Libau resumed on March 3, 1921.

I would think that for immigrants >from the Ukraine, Libau would have been
easier to access than western Europe. But there may have been other
considerations. For example, I don't know if it was cheaper to sail from
western European ports than >from Libau (similar to how nowadays it may be
cheaper to fly >from an airport that's further away >from where you live, so
you travel to that airport).

SarahRose Werner
Saint John, NB Canada

RABINOWITZ: Chepovichi, Ukraine
GITTELMAN: David Gorodok, Belarus