Lost family from russia somewhere #latvia #lithuania #russia

Jon Ross

Dear Jewish Genners,

I guess being frustrated looking for information, coming up against a ‘brick wall’ is something that newcomers to the genealogy search, can expect....OR is just me ??
I'm looking for my paternal Grandfathers family by the name of Samuel Rosenberg.
My paternal grandfather is Samuel Rosenberg born approximately 1878 and died in 1923, who I believe was born and lived in Russia somewhere, before coming to England with his brother Maurice Rosenberg in the very early 1900’s.


According to family stories It is known that both brothers left Russia apparently one step ahead of the Cossacks leaving their family in Russia and came to London where they were taken in by the Jewish community and taught a trade before going their separate ways.


From family stories, I am led to believe that when they left Russia that they left behind a mother and sister and also that they had been living on a farm.  This was possibly Latvia or Lithuania but unfortunately, I am unaware of exactly which area my grandfather came from or where he lived prior to coming to England.


I am trying to find out more about their previous lives and family back in Russia

There are seem to be so many Sub – Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian towns in historical being that I'm unsure how to find what I'm looking for or even where to start with my quest!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Be well and Stay Safe in these difficult times.




Have you checked the British National Archives?  They have files on many immigrants and with a name like Samuel Rosenberg there are many candidates but when I have found a relevant file it usually produces a lot of information.

Good luck with your search,

Judy Wolkovitch    <judywolk@...>

Researching: CHAIT, KESSEL, ZEID from Yampol, Ukraine




You did not write if you have exhausted absolutely all possible sources of information available to you in England.


For example, what is “Jewish community”?  A synagogue? Which one? Have you inquired if they had any records of interest to you?

Have you checked published sources, e.g. newspapers? There may be a 25 words news piece.

What is “taught a trade”? Which trade? Who taught? There may be a paper trail there.


Without knowing anything else about the family location, a reasonable assumption is that it would be Latvia (i.e. Courland) rather than Lithuania. However, Cossacks did not operated in Courland. They were a scourge in Russia and Ukraine. That is until World War I, when there were everywhere, as a part of the Russian Army. (butu you did not write the year your grandfather came to the UK).


Good luck.

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Boris Feldblyum
FAST Genealogy Service

Jill Whitehead

You could use the Findmy Past website to look up the 1901 or 1911 UK Censuses. Sometimes the original image reveals the town of origin of householders born overseas.

But Rosenberg is a very common name, and they may not have been known by that name either in the old country  or in the new country. A descendant of a relative of mine known as Goldblatt in the UK, but Marks in the USA after they emigrated a second time, could not find her family in the UK records as she was looking for Marks, and until I tracked her down, she did not know the family name was Goldblatt in the UK. 

Also do not forget that boundaries changed many times in the past. Some parts of present day Belarus used to be in Lithuania, so you need to widen your search.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK



Y DNA testing is perfect for a paternal parent search.  This would enable you to match male line Rosenbergs precisely.   

You should also consider autosomal testing for yourself and anyone else in your Rosenberg line.    The objective would be to match with a broader range of other relatives: some will know where their families left.  This should start to focus your search.

You can also hope that one of your matches is a good researcher with a reliable tree.

Good hunting!
Paul Hattori
London UK

MINDEL, MINDELL from Utena and Vyzuonos, Lithuania
FELLER from Pabrade, Lithuania

Kathryn Kanarek James

A site called TheGenealogist has British census records for 1991 and 1911. You can sign up for free to search those records. I hope this helps.

Sheila Toffell

Hi Jon,
where in England is the major thing. Do you know if it was the East End of London? if so, it is possible they were taught their trades by the Jewish Board of Guardians.  this is a section from a Wiki on the org at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Board_of_Guardians_(United_Kingdom)   where there is a lot more info.

Education, Apprenticeships and Employment[edit]

The Jewish Board of Guardians main aim was to create a self-supporting class. They focused on education and apprenticing the future generations to stop them becoming impoverished. "The work committee acted in conjunction with the loans committee and became the industrial committee in 1872."[27] The Board aimed to provide apprenticeships for boys and girls.

Laurie Magnus states that, "Following the loans of sewing machines the industrial committee used this money to accomplish 2 main purposes:

  1. Loan of tools and implements to carpenters, cabinet makers, show-makers, printers, book-binders and other mechanics on the same basis as the on which the loans of sewing-machines to tailors and umbrella makers had hitherto conducted.
  2. Giving security for tailors and mechanics to enable them to obtain work from warehouses and workshops."[27]

"In 1903 a ladies sub-committee was enacted which focused on the apprenticeship of girls".[28] The Board considered education one of its main aims, to create an educated class and to keep skilled workers in long-term employment.

Jewish Board of Guardians apprenticeships [29]

Nancy Seibert

In my experience searching for relatives who emigrated from the former Russian Empire, I've found that documents after 1917 will show a country of residence/birth more specific than "Russia". A town/city may be provided earlier than that on a ship manifest.
If you do happen to find that your Rosenbergs originated in Latvia, please see "LatviaSIG" and "CourlandSIG" in JewishGen (though recently, read that these Special Interest Groups groups soon will be called something else).
In CourlandSIG, regarding Cossacks in Courland, see:
https://www.jewishgen.org/Courland/lipschitz.htm. - "Jewish Communities in Courland: In Memory of My Native Town Windau" , by Dr S. Lipschitz, in "The Jews of Latvia", Association of Latvian and Estonian Jews in Israel", 1971.
Dr. Lipschitz relates a history of the 1905 Revolution in Courland, saying that Cossacks were dispatched to Courland to quell the uprising. My own family history includes stories of Cossack raids in Courland, the increasing frequency of which prompted my family to leave, beginning in 1906.

Nancy Seibert 
Researching: Seibart/Seibert/Tzibart; Sandel/Sader; 
Allman/Ullman; Shalkovsky/Zalkoff in Latvia


Trade union magazines/newspapers of the era often wrote articles about their members.  There is one about my maternal grandfather in a series called "Pioneers of the Union."  My understanding is that he was a shop steward/secretary, not a very high position, yet the article is probably 20" long, complete with a photo.  If you know that either your grandfather or his brother belonged to a union, check their records as well.
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC