Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cousin Jack, Leaving Clues--To the Diamonds' Previous Hometown?

I've written about my grandfather's first cousin Jack Landor before.  He lived an extremely colorful life and left a ton of documentation along the way.  (You can read about some of his crazy life at the following links, where he was caught as a stowaway on a ship and applied for citizenship of multiple countries, where he survived a shipwreck, and where he was deported from the United States before becoming an illegal immigrant by deserting his ship.)

Well, the latest documents I discovered about Cousin Jack show the importance of researching relatives of your ancestors rather than just your direct ancestors.  (And this isn't just because Cousin Jack lived such a crazy life.)  Jack's paper trail may have directed me to where my Diamond family lived before Biscupice (now Berezhanka)!

I recently received Jack's service file from his time in the United States Navy.
Cousin Jack's US Navy ID Card, 1944

According to his 70-page record, Jack Landor enlisted in the Navy on July 11, 1944.  And upon enlisting, he filled out a form which gives us a lot of information about his life--and gives a clue to the previous hometown of the Diamonds.
From Jack Landor's Military File
We learn that Jack had lived in Palestine (this was before Israel was a country) for 11 years and Turkey for 7 months.  He also did "language study" in Italy for 1.5 years and Greece for a year.  He claims to have been fluent in Russian, German, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, Greek and French.

He stated that his father had been born in "Horochow, Wolyn, Russia" (now Ukraine) and his mother in "Torchyn, Russia."  His mother, Esther Diamond Landor, was a sister of my great grandfather Avraham Tzvi Diamond.  I've seen another mention of Torchin being the birthplace of a Diamond relative:
Uncle Leibish's WWII Draft Registration Card
Another sibling of Avraham Tzvi & Esther Diamond was their brother Leibish (Louis in America).  His WWI draft registration says he was born in "Torchin, Waliner, Russia."

Could Torchin (which is also now in Ukraine) have been the hometown of the Diamonds before they moved to Biscupice--where they were the only Jewish family?  Well, with two separate sources giving Torchin as the birthplace of two different Diamond siblings, it seems like I need to investigate.  (Interestingly, I've traced parts of my grandmother's family to Torchin as well, several generations back.  Looks like all routes lead to Torchin!)

(If you're thinking of going to RootsTech2018, my contest giving away a free admission pass is open here.)

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

Want to get future blog posts emailed to you automatically?
Enter your email address:


  1. Lara,

    Very interesting source. One correction - I think that is the WWI draft registration for Louis Diamond.

    Jackye Sullins

  2. I am also a firm believer in checking out those collateral relatives and lines. I've also found answers to many questions that way. I'd never have known the town where my great-grandparents lived if I hadn't researched all of my grandmother's siblings and cousins.

  3. Hi, where did you write to get Jack's Navy file from WWII?

  4. Is there a Eugene Diamond anywhere in your tree? Probably not, since he was from Austria-Hungary, and his brothers from Czechoslovskia. He married my great-aunt Tessie Weinberger.

    1. Nope--and you're right; the geography doesn't sound like there's a connection.