Help Needed Finding Bessie & Harry SILVERMAN’s Immigration Records #russia #records


I have been searching for the immigration records for my great grandaunt Bessie/Bassie (aka Batya, possibly Basha) SILVERMAN & her young son Harry (maybe Hersh or Chaim) but with no success. They were supposedly traveling from what was then Odessa, Russia to meet Bessie’s husband Philip (aka Fischel per his headstone) SILVERMAN in Herreid, South Dakota.

Here’s what I know:

Husband Philip SILVERMAN b. 1881: A Fischel BOCHNER, age 22, from Odessa, is listed on this Oct 1902 Passenger list that might be him. Fishel on Passenger List.SD 1915 census states 1903. South Dakota Naturalization papers, 1910, 1920, 1930 US censuses say 1902

Bessie b. 1881 possible arrival dates: 1910 US census says 1902. The handwriting on the 1925 SD census is faded,but seems to say she’d been in the US for 21 years, so 1904. 

Son Harry b. 1901 has 1904 listed as his Arrival on the 1920 US Census. However, on the 1905 South Dakota census, it says he’d been in the US for a year.

I’ve tried all sorts of variations of searches including wildcards on all genealogy websites. If anyone here is up to this challenge, your help will be greatly appreciated! 


Shari Kaplan Heberton

Alan Shuchat

Have you tried Zilberman or Zilber*? That could have been their name before emigrating.
Alan Shuchat
Newton, MA

SHUKHAT (Talnoe, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Odessa, Balta (Abazovka), Pogrebishche)
VINOKUR (Talnoe), KURIS (Mogilev-Podolskiy, Ataki, Berdichev)
ZILBERMAN (Soroki, Kremenets), BIRNBAUM (Kamenets-Podolskiy)
KITAIGORODSKI (Zvenigorodka)

Janet Furba

  Hi, ask the  local State Archives.
Janet Furba,


Hi Shari,
Using the familysearch wiki for South Dakota, I located information on the Naturalization documents for South Dakota.

Then I selected and went to the South Dakota State Historical Society website to find the index for first papers (1904) and second papers (1909) for Philip Silverman.  (Probably one of the few states where the name Silverman will not produce a thousand results).
This proved to me that he did naturalize in South Dakota.  Unfortunately, there are no links from this site to the actual record.

Next, I went to the family search catalog for South Dakota, and selected the Naturalization record subset.  There is one group of all records for South Dakota counties and lucky for you, it has a search feature.

Searching for Silverman, brings up Philip and his Petition for Naturalization.

The reason this record was not found on the Ancestry database is because that database only contains records from the District Court.  Philip naturalized in a County Court.  You needed to look on

Marlise Gross
Cherry Hill, NJ


I think I found Bessie and Chaim's arrival on Ancestry:

The transcription has some errors, which is probably why you didn't find them, but there is a note on the image about husband Phillip Silberman in Herreid, South Dakota.

I searched the NY arrival records with a blank first name and "Sil" for the surname, a birth year of 1902 and a 1904 arrival (plus or minus a couple of years on both years).

Liz Screaton


Thank you everyone for all your time & efforts in providing your tips & links to Philip's & Bessie/Batya & Harry/Chaim's papers!

Alan & Janet, thank you for your search suggestions. 

Marlise, yes, you found Philip's Naturalization papers, and I greatly appreciate all your search tips.

Liz, you did, indeed. find their arrival Passenger List! Gildendorf was where the rest of Bessie's 8 siblings were born/resided, so what a great find. And her husband Philip's information is all there, too. Bingo!

Thank you, again, everyone!

Shari Heberton