Success story for a Cantonist not possible without revision lists. #bessarabia


R Jaffer
 

I would like to thank Yefim Kogan and his group of tireless Russian translators who have made it possible to give “roots” to a family who knew nothing about the origins of their patriarch, Yitzchak Friedman, 1842-1917. All Yitzchak remembered was that he was taken at the age of nine as a Cantonist and his father was Jacob. He did not know the name of the town or the part of Russia he had come from.


A woman in Switzerland shared a small amount of DNA with a first cousin of mine and even less with me. I would not have contacted her except that we shared the same familial surname. When she told me the above story, I was able to say hello to my third cousin and give her family “roots”. Due to the translations of the 1848 and 1854 revision lists of Khotin, I knew that my great grandfather had had an older brother named Isaac, born circa 1843, who had been taken into the army in 1852. I often had wondered if families of Cantonists ever found each other again, assuming they survived their years of military service. Now, through the miracle of DNA and the efforts of the great volunteer translators, I have one data point. Unfortunately, it took four generations.


Yitzchak married and had five children in or just south of Moscow between 1871 and 1890. I hope to be able to find at least one of them in the newly posted metric records of the Moscow Synagogue.


Roberta Jaffer


Weinberg - Novoselitsa, Sokyryany, and  Briceni

Konop, Fridman - Khotin and Briceni

 


Jules Levin
 


" I often had wondered if families of Cantonists ever found each other again, assuming they survived their years of military service."

Many cantonists did survive, remain Jewish, and served out their terms.  Many of their letters and memoirs were published in Russian-language Jewish newspapers--an untapped resource.  A cantonist once served as the sergeant-major of the Russian army--the highest ranking non-com position.  His photo is on line somewhere.  Those honorably discharged kept their arms and often were given a village post--e.g. postmaster.  They were also the founders of many Jewish communities outside the Pale, in Finland, Siberia, etc.  In the Jewish cemetery of Pushkino (Tsarskoe Selo) is the grave of someone awarded the Cross of St George on the field of battle in the Crimean War.

Jules Levin, Los Angeles


On 12/5/21 1:52 PM, R Jaffer wrote:

I would like to thank Yefim Kogan and his group of tireless Russian translators who have made it possible to give “roots” to a family who knew nothing about the origins of their patriarch, Yitzchak Friedman, 1842-1917. All Yitzchak remembered was that he was taken at the age of nine as a Cantonist and his father was Jacob. He did not know the name of the town or the part of Russia he had come from.


A woman in Switzerland shared a small amount of DNA with a first cousin of mine and even less with me. I would not have contacted her except that we shared the same familial surname. When she told me the above story, I was able to say hello to my third cousin and give her family “roots”. Due to the translations of the 1848 and 1854 revision lists of Khotin, I knew that my great grandfather had had an older brother named Isaac, born circa 1843, who had been taken into the army in 1852. I often had wondered if families of Cantonists ever found each other again, assuming they survived their years of military service. Now, through the miracle of DNA and the efforts of the great volunteer translators, I have one data point. Unfortunately, it took four generations.


Yitzchak married and had five children in or just south of Moscow between 1871 and 1890. I hope to be able to find at least one of them in the newly posted metric records of the Moscow Synagogue.


Roberta Jaffer


Weinberg - Novoselitsa, Sokyryany, and  Briceni

Konop, Fridman - Khotin and Briceni

 


Yefim Kogan
 

There is a very interesting book about this topic "Jews in the Russian Army, 1827 - 1917: Drafted into Modernity", by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern.  Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Yefim Kogan
Bessarabia Group Leader and Coordinator