Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tracking Mira's Children: Chava/Eva

This is the fifth in a series tracking the children of Mira Halperin Lefand Marienhoff.  You can see everything in this series to this point here.

Chava Marienhoff (and her twin Yaakov) were born on July 1, 1887 in what is now Nezhin, Ukraine, to Mira and Yitzchok Marienhoff.
Birth Record for Chava & Yaakov Marienhoff; Nezhin, Ukraine; 1887
By the time the Russian Empire's 1888 Poll Tax Census was taken in 1888, Yaakov had died, but Chava is there as a one-year old living with her parents and some of her older siblings and half siblings.
Russian Empire 1888 Poll Tax Census; Chava Marienhoff is the 1-year-old

Chava disappears from records before immigrating to America in 1905.  She immigrated as Chawe Lefand (the siblings often rotated between their mother's various married names) with her brother Nechemia's wife Masse and that couple's two children.  They were all going to join Nechemia in Syracuse.

Passenger Manifest, 1905.  Chawe Lefand (aka Chava Marienhoff) is on line 2
But then where did Chava go?  I could find no trace of any Chava, Eve, or Eva (my best guess on her "American" name) Lefand, Laffend (Nechemia/Hamay's spelling), Marienhoff, or any version thereof in the 1910 census.  Likely she was married at some point between 1905 and 1910.  Would she therefore be impossible to find like her sister Liba/Elizabeth?

I was hopeful that Chava would have married someone in Syracuse and stayed local.  Therefore, I searched for women named Eva or Eva who were born within 2 years of Chava in Russia and who arrived in the United States within a year of Chava's arrival, and who were living in Syracuse in 1910.  There were only three matches:  Eva Braverman, Eva Lavine, and Eva Vitkovitch.  Could one of these be Chava?

  • Eva Braverman had married Nathan Braverman, and they had a 2-year-old son, Isadore.  This looked promising, since Isadore was a common English name for Yitzchok, the name of Chava's late father.
  • Eva Lavine was married to Isadore Lavine, and the couple did not have any children in 1910.
  • Eva Vitkovitch's entry implied the family was not Jewish.  In addition, the family's native language was Polish, which wouldn't have been the case for Chava. 
I then followed Eva Braverman and Eva Lavine through to 1920.  Still no smoking gun.  But then I saw the 1930 census--and I wished I could hug the census taker!
Birthplace for Eva Braverman & parents, 1920 US Census
Instead of simply saying that Eva was from Russia, he wrote in the town name as well--she was born in "Nizen" which must be Nezhin!  This must be Chava Marienhoff!  I saw on that another user had linked that document to her tree.  I contacted her and waited impatiently for a response.  It turned out that Eva and Nathan were her great grandparents.  She didn't know anything about Eva's family--but she had two bits of family lore:
  • Eva had been born a twin
  • Eva immigrated under a different last name
I was able to send this cousin (Lisa) a copy of Eva's birth record showing she was a twin, and the boat record showing Eva immigrated as a Lefand, not a Marienhoff!  Chava was located!

Eva and Nathan had three boys:  Isadore Edward, Joseph, and Leonard.  The boys were raised in Syracuse, where much of the family still lives.

Eva died in Miami Beach, Florida, on January 25, 1974.  She was buried in Adath Yeshurun Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.

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