Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Library Success--Soupcoff Origins

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about Samuel Soupcoff, and my quest to find his town of origin, as it may help track my Supkoffs further back.  Samuel was quite prominent in Salt Lake City, with his 1919 passport application including an affidavit from the then-governor of Utah, attesting to his good character.  The passport actually mentioned a town, but I couldn't figure out where it was located--and scrawled handwriting didn't help matters.
Samuel Soupcoff. Town of Origin

I'm in Salt Lake City for RootsTech this week, and I'd set Monday aside to visit the library.  I figured since Samuel lived in Salt Lake City--and was seemingly so prominent--perhaps they'd have ideas for other sources I could check.  So I went to the American floor (a change from the below-ground International floor, which is my normal haunt) and was assigned someone to help me.  The man suggested census records--which of course I'd already looked at--so I showed him what I had (documents, newspaper articles, obituaries, death records, ship manifests, etc.), none of which was helpful.  He fell silent for a second before saying, "We'll have to bring in an expert on this one."
Rows and rows of drawers filled with microfilmed records in the Family History Library

I sat with the expert for about 20 minutes.  I showed him what I had on Samuel, his siblings and his parents.  There were lots of mentions of "Russia" on documents, one mention of Podolia (which was an entire guberniya, or province), and the one mention of the mystery town on Samuel's passport application.  He basically said I'd exhausted anything he could think of other than potentially contacting the funeral homes which were used by the family in case they still had documents, and in case those documents ever listed a town.

I went back down to the International floor, a bit dejected.  I went through a few books (the library has some great books on Subcarpathia, mostly in Hebrew and Russian) and decided to revisit Samuel.  I went up to the information desk and showed the gentleman there the one mention of Samuel Soupcoff's hometown.  I told him it was likely in modern-day Ukraine, in the Podolia region.  One of the volunteers today is from Ukraine, so they asked her to help me.  Her first suggestion was to look at JewishGen's Ukraine SIG (for which I am Projects Director).  I pulled up Google Maps to show her the towns of Shpikov and Kuna, which is where my Supkoffs were from.  And look what I saw:

Could this be the mystery town?  Having been to Ukraine this past fall, I saw how close these two towns are.  What was Kyslyak called when Samuel and family would have lived there?  I found an old map in the library that spelled it Kiszov.  Seems promising!

Reminder that Thursday's talk at RootsTech is being LiveStreamed.  Details here.

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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1 comment:

  1. Seems promising, for sure! Because I have Subcarpthian ancestors (Hungary/Ukraine and maybe the tip of Romania) I'm always interested in new angles. Thank you for the ideas.