Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tolchinskys from Shpikov? Tulchin? Nope!

My grandfather Lou Tolchin always thought his father was from Shpikov, a small town south of Vinnytsia in what is modern-day Ukraine, in the Podolia region. After all, his father Isadore Tolchin (formerly Yitzchak Tolchinsky) was an active member of Pittsburgh's Shpikov Society.
Isadore Tolchin

But when I found his father Hillel's naturalization papers, it said that his birthplace was "Luben, Russia." 

Hillel Tolchinsky's Petition for Naturalization

I then found Hillel's boat record, and that said that he last lived in Losinawka and was born in Luben. 

Hillel Tolchinsky's boat record, December 1907; Hillel is on line 23

I used JewishGen's town search, but the one result that Losinawka yielded as well as the multiple results for Luben were all nowhere near Shpikov. So where were the Tolchinskys from?

Back in high school, I had ordered Isadore Tolchin's naturalization papers. I pulled those out--and he was born in yet another location, "Nesin, Russia."  Again, no match near Shpikov.  Frustration!

Isadore Tolchin's Petition for Naturalization

I'd never been able to find Isadore's boat record. I'd searched using just first names (multiple variations of Yitzchak) and a rather wide age span.  But the naturalization papers had an arrival date and boat name!  Perfect, right?  Well, I went through the manifest line by line, and I found nothing close to a Tolchinsky. Where could he be?  I soon found a clue which opened up the whole branch.

To be continued....  See the continuation here.

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