What would likely be the Jewish name for Samuel Black? #poland #general #names

Dahn Cukier

I know a BLATKO, who has relatives in England named BLACK.

Dahn Zukrowicz

When you start to read readin,
how do you know the fellow that
wrote the readin,
wrote the readin right?

Festus Hagen
Long Branch Saloon
Dodge City, Kansas

On Saturday, May 15, 2021, 4:35:54 PM GMT+3, Larry Gaum <larrygaum@...> wrote:

I suggest Shiah Schwartz or Shmuel Schwartz
Larry Gaum
Toronto, ON.


Well I can speak with experience on this.  My husbands grandfather was Samuel Block from around Kiev, Russia.  I looked for probably 15 yrs before I finally found his passenger list. And I was skeptical about it until I checked with my FIL and confirmed he did indeed have a scar on his forehead.   The ship manifest for him says Schloma Black coming into Philadelphia on the Merion 20th of Feb 1907.  I can not find any records of him as "Black" anywhere. Other convincing info that it was his record was the fact he was going to Mckeesport PA to his BIL M. Goodman.   I thought maybe it was a misspelling or translation error until I found a sibling who also came in as Blach  Along with a women who would eventually become their SIL who travelled with her using Blach as a surname. I found the marriage record and her surname was Neschelman.  I know its Samuel's sister (Riwke) and her eventual SIL(Sure) as they were going to M. Goodman in McKeesport.  Strange thing is that the person listed as the contact in Russia for both girls is the father of Samuel.  His name was Gedalie.  Its the only record I have that shows his name that originated outside the US.  And on that part of the record I'm un able to determine if it is Bloch or Blach.  All this to say that Samuel's name on his passenger list was Schloma and I've seen it a few other times in his early records.  On his stone he is "Shlomo Yitzchak ben Gedayla Halayvi."    Good luck with your search.   I just tend to be very open minded when it comes to spelling of names.   

On another note.   Do you know any of his sibling names or that of his parents.  The Polish records tend to have lots of holes in them.  I've often found more regarding siblings (like births etc) then the person in my direct tree.  What does his gravestone say?

Katherine Block
Canton, GA

Lee Jaffe

Sorry about that. I've been neck-deep in a search for a 3x great-grandfather Szymel these days and once I started with SZ my fingers automatically filled in the rest.

The point stands, however, that the name Samuel isn't necessarily going to be rendered in the Polish or Yiddish form everywhere. A search for Szmuel Schwarz in Breslau, the town in question, will find nothing but Samuel Bloch is listed. 

Lee David Jaffe

Surnames / Towns:  Jaffe / Suchowola, Poland ; Stein (Sztejnsapir) / Bialystok and Rajgrod, Poland ; Joroff (Jaroff, Zarov) / Chernigov, Ukraine ; Schwartz (Schwarzman?, Schwarzstein?) / ? ;  Koshkin / Snovsk, Ukraine ; Rappoport / ? ; Braun / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland,  Ludwinowski / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland



Thank you, Lee, for a thorough response.  One point:  Shimel/Szymel is Yiddish for Simon.  Szmuel/Shmuil is homophonic search-wise but is Samuel.  My ggf Shmuil had a brother Shimel.
Fred Millner

Reuven Mohr

"when he arrived in the U.S. in 1875 from Wroclaw, Poland." makes no sense.
If you mean Wroclaw in Silesia, it was a German city till 1945, so Polish spellings are not relevant.
If you mean another Polish city, the spelling is probably different.

Reuven Mohr, Israel

Lee Jaffe

As a descendant of Schwartz ancestors who is still looking for information about my great-grandfather's past, I took a keen interest in your question and the answers you received.

My experience is that names on passenger records more closely resembled the names used in the Pale and that the name change took place after arriving in the US (e.g., Schwartz recorded on the manifest and Black in Brooklyn).  Your question seems to be assuming the reverse.

Also, I don't believe anyone literally "signed" their passenger record.  As I understand it, the name on a manifest was written by a clerk from the information provided to the steamship company when the passage was arranged.  Thus there was a certain amount of 2nd or 3rd party involvement in what was put down on the passenger record and plenty of room for error.  (My ggm Dora Zarov shows up in a passenger record written as Barow.) 

Tickets could have been purchased in a different name for reasons of ... let's say convenience.  Say a family member already in the US who'd taken the name Black was listed as the party the passenger was joining.  Or a blended or extended family traveling together.  They may decide it's less confusing to immigration to say that your name was Black rather than Shmeggege than explaining why you are joining or traveling with family by the name Black.  I've heard a lot of narratives about a "son" or "wife" listed on a manifest who actually turned out to be a nephew or a widowed sister whose actual name was different than what was recorded.

There is no hard-and-fast rule for name changes.  Black indeed could be a straight-ahead translation of Schwartz but, as others have pointed out, there are variations such as Schwarzman and Schwarzstein, which complicate the search.  My great-grandfather went by the name Joseph Schwartz but the earliest reliable record I can find for him is an 1897 NYC marriage record under the name Schwarzman.  I haven't been able to find a passenger record for any Schwarzman that fits his profile.  At the same time I have a lot of DNA matches with descendants of a Samuel Schwartzstein and I can find 2 passenger records for Jos. Schwarzstein which fit my great-grandfather.   Schwartz, Schwarztein (with and without the extra T) and/or Schwarzman?  I still don't know but it helps to be flexible. 

BTW, family lore said that my great uncle Hyman Schwartz changed his name to J. Herman Black when he moved to Los Angeles.  I wasted a lot of time looking for him under that name before eventually finding volumes of records for him – marriage, divorce, marriage, city directories, death and burial – under Herman J. Schwartz.

Also, as pointed out, there are means of naming or re-naming yourself other than translation.  Black could have been the closest or most familiar rendering a similar sounding name.  If you search "Black" in JewishGen's FamilyFinder the majority of entries are Block, but also Blauk and Black.  I'd guess that Bloch might also be a contender.   It helps that JRI-Poland and other search tools have a sound-alike search function which can help with those hurdles.  I tried searching for JRI-Poland for the name Black and it retrieved almost 700 records, mostly under Bloch.  In 1875, when your ggf made the crossing, Wroclaw was Breslau, Germany.  https://beta.jri-poland.org/town/Wroclaw/
BTW, while the suggestion of Szymel is the common rendering of Samuel in Polish, there are no Szymels in among the records I found.  Samuel is Samuel there.  There are earlier Samuel Blochs in these records and, given Ashkenazi naming traditions, that can be a clue to finding earlier generations.

You may have more success learning your ggf's surname through other strategies or combining strategies.  You don't mention whether the 1875 manifest records the name of someone in the US he was joining.  If so, and if a family member, can be a useful clue.  Look into manifests for any other family that joined him later.  Other records in the US may provide other names: marriage and death records may provide parents' names (and a mother's maiden name may lead to a marriage record ...)  You also don't mention what name your ggf used in the US.  (The fact that you note how he was ID'd on the manifest suggests it was different.)  Do you know where he is buried and do you know what is inscribed on his headstone (father's name and any additional information that can serve as clues about the family)?  And as you build your family tree, pay attention to the more distant cousins who may be a link back to your ggf's birth family.  Also, DNA matches, if you've tested, can point to previously unknown family connections which in turn can identify surnames and home towns.   

Finally, if you are still stuck, it may help to know that this is a pretty common brick wall, trying to trace a family member before they immigrated.  Name changes, sketchy records, missing records ... all are part of the rupture that is created by such historical moments as a mass migration.

Lee David Jaffe

Surnames / Towns:  Jaffe / Suchowola, Poland ; Stein (Sztejnsapir) / Bialystok and Rajgrod, Poland ; Joroff (Jaroff, Zarov) / Chernigov, Ukraine ; Schwartz (Schwarzman?, Schwarzstein?) / ? ;  Koshkin / Snovsk, Ukraine ; Rappoport / ? ; Braun / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland,  Ludwinowski / Wizajny, Suwalki, Poland



Likely, (Polish spelling), Szmul Szwarc or any name including szwarc (like, Szwarcberg, Szwarcman, Szwarcenbaum/Szwarcenboim, etc.).
The German spelling is Schwartz/Schwartzberg/Schwarcman or Schwartzmann, etc. 
Samuel could have been Szmul, Szmul, Szmul.
However, the first name might have not been a precise translation of Samuel, and you may consider other names with the same initial (Szaia, Szya, Shaja, etc.

Dr. Joanna Zimmerman 

Karen Lukeman

On a recent Finding Your Roots genealogy show on PBS, it turns out the original surname of comedian Lewis Black's family was "Blech". 
Karen Calmon Lukeman
KALMANOWITZ (Lyubcha and towns near Grodno, Vilna and Minsk)
GOLDSMITH (Bakshty and Ivje)
NASSER (Damascus)
BENBAJI (Damascus)
BALLAS (Damascus)

Larry Gaum

I suggest Shiah Schwartz or Shmuel Schwartz
Larry Gaum
Toronto, ON.

Trudy Barch

my guess would be Shmuel Schartzman   (not sure of the spelling)    Trudy Barch

Eric Davis

Try Szmuel Szwartz, that is the approximate spelling for the Polish pronounciation,  Shmuel Shwartz or Samuel Black. 


My Great grandfather signed his name, Samuel Black on the ship manifest when he arrived in the U.S. in 1875 from Wroclaw, Poland.
Without knowing his Jewish name, I cannot find any records for him in Wroclaw, Poland.
Pat Stromberg