Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tracking the Rubensteins....

When my great-great grandmother Pesha Riva Tolchinsky came to America in 1911 with her six youngest (as of then) children, she was asked who her closest relative was who remained in Europe.  She stated that it was her uncle, Chatzkel Rubenstein who still lived in Nierzyn (Nezhin).

Pesha Riva Tolchinsky (and 6 of the kids') boat record naming her uncle as Chatzkel Rubenstein
Who was Chatzkel, how was he Pesha Riva's uncle, and if I found him, could I find more about the family?  Back to the Nezhin microfilm!

There was a Chatzkel Rubenstein who married Risha Halperin in 1874.  Risha's father was named as Yitzchok Halperin.  Well, I'd discovered earlier that Yitzchok Halperin was the father of my ggg grandmother Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff--Pesha Riva's mother.  So this Chatzkel was indeed the uncle named on Pesha Riva's boat record, and his wife Risha was my ggg grandmother's sister.
Marriage Record of Chatzkel & Risha (nee Halperin) Rubenstein, 1874
Were there cousins out there (maybe who'd know more about the Halperins....)?  I continued searching.  The records showed that they had multiple children:
  • Liba Devora Rubenstein, born 1879
  • Yehoshua Wolf Rubenstein, born 1884
  • Rivka Rubenstein, born 1886
  • Bunia Rubenstein, born 1884
  • Yuda Rubenstein, born 1888
  • Idel Rubenstein, born abt 1890 (based on info in death record), died 1908
  • Avraham Yitzchak Rubenstein, born 1894

Birth Record for Yehoshua Wolf Rubenstein, 1884

There was a marriage record for Bunya marrying Azriel son of Yitzchok Leib/Aryeh Lempert from 1904.

Marriage record for Bunya Rubenstein & Azriel Lempert, 1904

In addition, there were records for the birth of some of Yehoshua Wolf's children (in some of the records he is referred to as Yehoshua Zev, since Zev/Wolf are the Hebrew/Yiddish version of the same name).  His wife was given as Sara daughter of Michel in these birth records.
  • Avraham, born 1904
  • Leah Devorah, born 1906
  • Mariasha, born 1908
I couldn't find a trace of the family after 1908 in the records.  Could they have come to America like Risha's sister Mira did?

I started searching.  There were an awful lot of Rubensteins who immigrated to America.  But I couldn't find them.  Until I did a wildcard search and found a Mariascha Rubenstein (who wasn't found when searching for "Mariasha").  I opened the boat record and realized I had found the right family!
Rubenstein Family boat record, 1911 (lines 13-20)
Those listed in the boat record were:
  • Chatzkel (his name was written as Chaskel, which again the search failed to find) 
  • Daughter Ester
  • Son Ab. Itzchok (there's Avraham Yitzchok!)
  • Son Onsche Wolf (Onsche is the Russian word for Joshua, which is Yehoshua, so this is Yehoshua Wolf)
  • Onsche Wolf's wife Sora
  • And 3 children of Onsche Wolf & Sora who match to the 3 for whom records were found:
    • Abram
    • Lea Dwora
    • Mariascha
The family stated that they had left Chatzkel's son Chaim back in Russia who lived in "Tchernigen gub." (which would be Chernigov Gubernia, the province in which Nezhin was located).  They were heading to Syracuse, NY to join another son of Chatzkel, Isidor Rubenstein, who lived at 212 Montgomery Street.

So I should be able to track the family once they're in America, and hopefully find living descendents.  At least one would think.  Except that there is no one in the 1920 census who even close to matches this Rubenstein family.  So what happened to them?  I think I know, but I am still working on putting the pieces together.  Stay tuned....  The story continues here.

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