Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ancestor Deep Dive/Tracing Mira's Children: Pesha Riva Lefand Tolchinsky

This post fits into both the series of Ancestor Deep Dives as well as tracing the children of my great-great-great grandmother, Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff.

Pesha Riva Lefand was my great-great grandmother.  She was born in what is now Nezhin, Ukraine (and was then in the Russian Empire) on May 24, 1874, to Yehoshua and Mira Lefand.
Birth Record for Pesha Riva/Rivka Lefand, Nezhin, Ukraine, 1874

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Moshe Dovid Fine Tax Record

I did a deep dive earlier on my great-great grandfather, Moshe Dovid Fine.  Since then, I have a new document that backs up some of the stories that my grandmother had told about him and the fact that he had enough land to have a large vegetable garden and fruit trees.

He was a land-owner in Shklyn--enough to pay taxes:
Tax Record for Charukov Township, Town of Shklyn, 1930s--line 247; Source: State archive of Volyn Oblast. Fond 36, opys 4, file 281, page 114

Moszko Fajn owned 800 sazhens of land (equal to about .8999 acres) in Skhlyn.  He owed 0.42 zlotys in state tax and 0.25 zlotys in municipal tax yearly.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sheva Baich Declaration of Intention

I was named for my great grandmother, Sheva Fine Baich (and my great grandmother Esther Rutner Joshowitz).  As I wrote earlier, she was born in 1885 in Shklyn, Volhynia, Ukraine when it was part of the Russian Empire, lived through the Holocaust, immigrated to Baltimore in 1947 and died in Baltimore in 1951.

Recently, my father found and gave me the original of her Declaration of Intention, the first step she would have to take to become a United States Citizen.
Sheva Baich Declaration of Intention, 1947

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Mystery of Naftali Hirsh Tolchinsky, Solved

Naftali Hirsh Tolchinsky was a younger brother of my great grandfather Yitzchok Tolchinsky (later Isadore Tolchin).  He was born in 1905 in what is now Nizhyn, Ukraine to Hillel and Pesha Riva Lefand Tolchinsky.
Birth Record for Naftuli Hirsh Tolchinsky, Nizhyn, Ukraine
He immigrated to the United States in March 1911 with his mother and some of his siblings, arriving in Baltimore but traveling on to Pittsburgh to join his father and other siblings already in the US.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lou & Minnie Tolchin - 1989 Interview

Thanks to my father, we have a short (16:34) interview with my maternal grandparents (Lou & Minnie Joshowitz Tolchin) from 1989.  In it, they talk about their families and growing up in Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and McKeesport, respectively) in the 1920s and 1930s.  I've converted it from VHS format, and here it is.  It even includes my grandfather's rendition of the famous (at least within our family) Schenley High School cheer.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Diamonds Are Coming to America!

Today I spent a couple of hours at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.  I'm still going through everything I found there, but the last thing I went through was my grandparents' HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) folder.  There were dozens of pages of correspondence tracking the Baltimore-based family (particularly Clara & Nathan Zuriff and Henry & Jessie Turk) working on helping my grandparents and great grandmother get out of their DP camp outside Munich and get them to America.

This series of telegrams and letters traces their path out of Europe, including them receiving their visas:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Great Grandfather's Signature!!

My great grandfather, Avrohom Tzvi Diamond/Dimant, was killed in the Holocaust in 1942.  Other than his name and some stories about him, nothing of his survived--no pictures, no documents, no posessions.

Nearly a year ago, I asked a researcher who lived near the former Dimant family village to see if he could find anything on the family.  I tried following up with him multiple times and never heard back.  I had basically given up.  And then yesterday, he sent some documents, including one that, while it probably had political implications when signed, was personally very exciting:
1925 School Declaration by Abram Diment; Source: State archive of Volyn oblast. Fond 454, opys 2, file 450, page 103