Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Temporary American Immigration

I've always thought that the migration patterns for Eastern European Jews was that the father &/or older children would come to America and earn money to bring over the mother and younger children.  I've seen that pattern in several branches of my family.  But that wasn't always the case.
Isak & Josef Jasowics Ship Manifest, 1906

My great-grandfather Josef Joshowitz first came to America in 1906, along with his brother Isaac.  Their manifest has their last residence as Darva (aka Kolodne), and they were both farm laborers who were able to read and write.  They were going to Brooklyn.
Isak & Josef Jasowics Destination
In Brooklyn, they were to join their uncle, Josef Eisikowitz.  Well, I know Uncle Josef--I'm in touch with some of his great grandchildren.  That branch of the family went through the Holocaust in Kolodne, and they had never heard that their Josef had gone to America.
Josef Eisikowicz Ship Manifest, 1902
Josef Eisikowicz, aged 44 and a tailor, arrived in New York in August 1902 and was going to Brooklyn.  His last place of residence starts with "Dor" before being obscured by an official stamp--mostly likely it was "Dorva."  And who was he going to join?
Josef Eisikowicz Destination
Josef was going to his sister-in-law Rifke Orbach in Brooklyn.  The street name looks like "Giram Av 74" which may be 74 Graham Avenue, which is in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I did find a "Segman Orbach" at 58 Graham Avenue in a 1901 city directory, but that's it.  Josef's parents were Eizikovics first cousins, so I'm likely related to Rifke.  Bonus points if you can find her!

All three of these men--Josef Joshowitz, Isaac Joshowitz and Josef Eizikovics--all went back to Hungary.  And two of them stayed there.

Josef Eizikovics had many kids.  But there was gap between the birth of Menachem Mendel in 1901 and Avraham in 1907.  The gap now makes sense--Josef was in America, while his wife and children were in Hungary.  Josef never did make it back to America.
Josef Eizikovic Death Record
Josef died in Kolodne on May 19, 1922, at the age of 61.

I know that my great grandfather Josef Joshowitz did go back to Hungary--he was married there in 1912.  Also, there's a record of him sailing from New York to England--the first leg of his journey home.
Josef Josovitz Ship Manifest; New York to Southampton; February 1908

I don't have documentation of Isaac going back, but my great-uncle Izzy remembered him from his early years in Kolodne from 1913-1920.  In addition, Isaac had at least two young girls when he left to America (Feige/Fani born 1902 as well as Golda/Aranka born 1904).  Fani married in Kolodne and had at least 6 children there, so likely Isaac returned to his wife and children.
Marriage Record of Jani Josovic and Salamon Fux; August 1925

Has anyone else seen this phenomenon of people returning from America to Europe after a few years?

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  1. Yes! I unearthed an interview I did with my grandfather twenty years ago. He offhandedly mentioned that his grandmother came over but didn't it like it here and went back. I was shocked and did some digging and eventually found her manifest. The manifest I found said she'd already been to America once before. But I haven't found any other evidence of her and it does appear as if she returned to Ukraine. Big mystery for me.

  2. Of course, this is common with other ethnic groups, but not very common with Jewish people. I think that is principally related to the reasons people migrated. For non-Jews it was mostly economic. For Jews is was economic need and discrimination. And if they left illegally (as was common in Russia), it would probably make sense not to try to go back.

    I have found two manifests for my great grandfather Leiser Liebross coming to the USA from Bukovina in the 1890s. And two for his brother, Simon, in 1881 and 1891. In Simon's case, he got married when he returned to Bukovina and then brought his wife back to the US with him. In Leiser's case, he visited his brother Simon (perhaps checking things out), returned to Bukovina, came back to the US a year or so later and then, 6 mos. after that, had his family (wife and 8 children) immigrate. I know of another case, not my family, where a family came to the USA, made a bunch of money, returned to the village in Volhynia Gubernia and set up a successful black smithing business, built a big house, etc. Of course, knowing the ultimate outcome in the 1940s makes that a terrible mistake. One last case: a son brought his mother over to the USA where his father (her husband) had been for several years. The husband had gotten quite used to her not cramping his style and continued his "bachelor" lifestyle. The wife/mother was very unhappy and could not get used to the USA, so her son sent her back to Ukraine. He never forgave himself.

    1. Yes, exactly what happened to Josef Eizikovic's children and grandchildren and likely to Isaac Joshowitz's as well. I have birth records for Isaac's grandchildren through 1939 (the latest records I have for the town); I dread to think what happened to those children.

    2. The Italians don't have Rivka's marriage, so it was likely in Europe.

    3. We have several who went back. One for instance was his parents' only son, so he went back to help them out in Galicia.

      In another case, Hungarian, a man age 25 went in 1901, intending to bring his wife and two kids. When he saw how his older brother had discarded his Yiddishkeit, he decided America is treif and went back. Two of his eight kids went to the US after WWI, a third in 1937 and the youngest after the Holocaust. The others - including parents - were killed.

    4. Really interesting Lara. Can you see on his death record what he died of? Joseph Eisikovics died at 61yrs of age. As you know his daughter Roza my fathers mother died of breast cancer. Did they know of pancreatic and prostrate cancer then?

    5. Really interesting Lara. Any way of finding out what he died of at 61yrs of age. As you know his daughter Roza my fathers mother died of breast cancer. Did they know of pancreatic and prostrate cancer then?

    6. He's the only one on the page without a cause of death written. So we'll likely never know.

      That said, 61 wasn't young for the deaths I was transcribing. As an example, the other deaths on the page were at ages 37, 3.5, 9 days, 17 and 19.

  3. I just am now researching a cousin, sister of my GGF, who came to the US with him and their mother in 1881, following their older siblings (the father died in Germany in 1874). That sister returned to Germany in 1884 to marry someone in Germany. Sadly, two of her daughters and two granddaughters were killed in the Holocaust. Her other four children survived, three sons ending up in the US, one daughter in Brazil.

  4. A brother of my grandfather immigrated with his parents and siblings in Aug-Sept 1906, shortly after a wave of pogroms in the region of Bershad, Ukraine, in 1905. He was listed on the passenger manifest as age 25 and single, but he already had a wife and two kids, with a third child on the way, back home in Bershad. He must have returned to Europe soon after, as he was not found in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. A fourth child was born in Bershad around 1909. The family lost two children around 1918.

    In 1922, he and his wife and the two surviving children immigrated to the U.S. On the passenger list, it is noted that he was in the U.S. previously, in 1907-1908. He must have intended to bring his family to the U.S. much sooner, but the Russian revolution, WWI, and his children's deaths intervened. Then there was another pogrom in Bershad in 1921, and that may have motivated the family to leave for good.