Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Who Is Itze Liffond?

(Continued from previous post)

So where was Isadore on the manifest?  I reviewed everything I had on him and ran some more searches. Ancestry had his naturalization papers (to which I hadn't paid a ton of attention since I had the version from the archives which was way more clear).  But this version also had an extra card on top. 

Isadore Tolchin Declaration of Intention--with a bonus feature on top!
This card is often seen and is the record of the authorities checking that the immigrant actually came to the US on the date they stated. But while this one had "Talchin" hand-written over it and had a boat name and date that matched Isadore's naturalization papers, what was with the name?
Closeup of the Itze Luffand mystery card

Who was Itze Luffand?  Could he be my great grandfather?  I had never heard anything about Luffands.  I found the actual boat record:
Liffand boat record, lines 1-5; 1906
Itze was a 17-year-old locksmith from "Niezin."  He was traveling with a 50-year-old woman named Mary Liffond and children Nechame, Liba, and Herschel. Mary's passage was paid for my her son; the other kids' passage was paid by their brother; and Itze had paid his own passage.  They were going to join Mary's son "L. Liffond" in Pittsburgh.

My first thought was that Itze was traveling with a grandmother. But my grandfather had told me that his grandmother Pesha Riva Tolchin's maiden name was Marinoff.  So who was Mary?  And why was Isadore with her?

I found Nezhin, located in Chernigov Province in Ukraine. It was quite a distance from Shpikov. Could this be where the Tolchinskys lived, at least for some years before coming to America?  I posted a query to a Nezhin-area mailing list to see if anyone had connections to or knowledge of the Tolchinsky, Liffond, or Marinoff families. I got a response!  A subscriber had a partial index of some Nezhin vital records and saw some Tolchinskys, although none of the names immediately matched the names I knew of my family.  He got me in contact with a relative of his who had more comprehensive information.  This wonderful man told me that there was a woman named Mira who was married twice--once to a Lefand and then to a Marienhoff!  He also explained that the original records had been microfilmed and could be delivered to my local Family History Center.

Those records are a story for another day--but this verified that the Tolchinskys had lived in Nezhin (and for some time in is small village outside called Losinovka) since around 1870 and before that lived in Lubny (Hillel's Luben)!  And Mary was his grandmother, Mira--meaning I had a great-great-great grandmother who had come to America!

Hillel & Isadore Tolchinsky in Pittsburgh

More on Mira & her family is here.

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