Sunday, January 21, 2018

Who Was My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother?

I've written before about my great-great-great-great grandmother, Shayna Basya Halpern, whose death record says that she lived to the age of 107.  But now I'm questioning whether she was actually my 4th great grandmother.
Death Record for Shayna Basya Halpern, 1911

Shayna Basya Halpern's death record says that she was the wife of Yitzchok Halpern (documented as my 4th great grandfather via his daughter's marriage and death records).  My great-great grandparents' youngest daughter was named Bessie, and I presumed it was for Shayna Basya.

However, I recently found this record:
Birth Record of Yisrael Volf Halpern, 1870
In 1870, Yitzchok son of Yisrael Halpern (my 4th great grandfather) had a son, Yisrael Volf.  But the mother of this child wasn't Shayna Basya--but rather was Sara Rivka, daughter of Hirsch.  I have no other mention of Sara Rivka, and similarly, the only mention I have of Shayna Basya is on her 1911 death record.

Could Shayna Basya have been Yitzchak's second wife?  If that is the case, she is not my 4th great grandmother, since my 3rd great grandmother Mira was born in 1848, Yisrael Volf was born in 1870, and Shayna Basya was listed as Yitzchok's wife when she died in 1911.

Yitzchak was born around 1799 (based on his age on his death record), so he would have been around 70 years old when Yisrael Volf was born.  Perhaps there was even another wife before Sara Rivka who could be my great-great-great-great grandmother?

As far as naming patterns, my 3rd great grandmother Mira (daughter of Yitzchak Halpern) had a daughter named Sara Margolia, born 1876.  She also had a daughter named Pesha Riva/Rivka (depending on the record), born 1874.  Mira had no children after Shayna Basya died in 1911.

Mira's sister Risha had a daughter named Rivka, born 1866.

Mira had several grandchildren who may have been named for their great grandmother.  Son Meyer had a daughter Sarah Lillian (after Sara Rivka?), born 1908 as well as one named Bessie (after Shayna Basya?), born 1918.

Risha had grandchildren named Sally (who may be Sara or Shayna) as well as Bernice (Basya?), born 1924.

So, who was my great-great-great-great grandmother?  Shayna Basya?  Sara Rivka?  Someone else?  I really don't know.  Time to go hunting for more records to try to figure this out!

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

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  1. My money is on Sara Rivka being your 4th-great-grandmother, especially since your 3rd-great-grandmother named one of her daughters Sara, and the other one Pesya Rivka, and your 3rd-great-aunt also named one of her daughters Rivka. Shayna Basya was probably a 2nd or 3rd wife.

    1. I'm thinking it was a wife prior to Sara Rivka. Otherwise she gave birth to my 3rd great grandmother in 1848 and to Yisrael Volf in 1870. It wouldn't be impossible to have two children 22 years apart, but it's less likely.

  2. Best wishes as you continue to search for the real identity of your 4th-great-grandmother!