Belarus SIG #Belarus RE: Geographic naming conventions #belarus

SarahRose Werner <swerner@...>

I don't think one can overlook the convenience factor when sorting out
the geographical names our ancestors reported to officials. For example, my
grandmother and her brothers were >from Chepovichi in what was at the time
the Kiev gubernia. Their Ellis Island records specify Chepovichi (in
various versions of its Polish and German spellings).

However, once in the States, they all of them consistently reported
their birth places as Kiev. Why Kiev? I'm betting it's almost certainly
because Kiev is easier for American officials to spell! This would be
especially important for people like my grandmother who never learned to read and
write English.

And then there's my grandfather, born in Ozdamichi between David-Gorodok
and Turov. Thanks to the 1921 Quota Act, he kind of had to sneak into the
States by pretending his fianc=E9e's older brothers (who had become US
citizens) were *his* older brothers. As part of the charade, he
reported his place of birth on his Ellis Island records as Kiev - and then stuck
to this on all subsequent US records, including his naturalization a few
years later.

When you're evaluating information, you always need to consider not only
who was supplying the information but also whom they were supplying it *to*.

SarahRose Werner
Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
RABINOWITZ: Chepovichi (Ukraine)
GITTELMAN: David-Gorodok/Turov (Belarus) =20