Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My great-great grandmother's maiden name--SOLVED (I think)!

I'd posted about 3 months ago about how my great-great grandmother's maiden name was given as "Christ" on her daughter Jenny Diamond Dorfman's marriage license--not quite the typical Jewish family name!  There were lots of ideas given via facebook, but it was all conjecture.

Last week, a cousin posted a letter that Jenny's daughter Ida Dorfman Hall had written in 1980.  I'd seen this letter before when we first figured out the connection to this branch because of DNA testing.  Ida had mentioned a cousin Sam who had left Europe along with her, her mother, and her brother.  I'd identified the cousin on the manifest, but the name meant nothing to me at the time, so I assumed he was likely related on Ida's paternal side.

But seeing the letter again made me pull up that manifest.
Schmul Kreiss Ship Manifest (line 26); December 1913

Schmul Kreiss, aged 19, was listed two lines after the Dorfman Family--and he stated that he was joining his uncle Morris Dorfman, Jenny's husband.  In America, Schmul Kreiss become Sam Krise, and he followed the Dorfman family (even living with them in the 1915 New York State Census); after living in Brooklyn for several years he moved to Detroit.  In Detroit, he married his wife Rose Feldman, and they had three daughters.  Sam's mother's maiden name (according to his Detroit marriage license) was Dorfman, so he may have been double cousins to Ida and her siblings.

While I don't yet have 100% proof, this shows that Kreiss was a Jewish surname in the part of Volhynia, Ukraine that my great-great grandmother was from.  My working hypothesis is that her maiden name was actually Kreiss--which does sound like the "Christ" on Jenny's marriage license, particularly when taking into account the fact that Jenny would have had a Yiddish accent.

So my great-great grandmother was Hinda Kreiss Diamond--I think!

Update:  This may not be the case.  More info found in November 2015 here.
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  1. Sounds very plausible! Often name spellings were due to pronunciations and heavy accents. Continued good luck.

  2. Of course! It's not only putting the puzzle pieces together, it's also knowing how to recognize a puzzle piece when one finds one.

  3. Looks good. But you may want to remember my rule (כלל ישראל) - after you are sure, if you don't have proof, get one more bit of supporting evidence.