Sunday, November 10, 2019

Someday I've found it, the Bessarabian Connection

I've been trying for years to link together my Supkoff family to two other families in Pittsburgh's Jewish community--the Soupcoffs and the Zoupcoffs.  My grandfather had been told that they were related but didn't know how.  So I've researched the Soupcoffs and Zoupcoffs extensively.  Earlier this year, I discovered via both documentation and DNA that the Soupcoffs are related to my Supkoff family, as I wrote about here.

In researching the Soupcoffs, I found many individuals with colorful pasts.  One of those was Dr. Jacob Soupcoff, who later legally changed his name to Jacob Lorenz.  And in that legal name change petition, he made an interesting assertion.
From Jacob Soupcoff/Lorenz Name Change Petition

Jacob claimed that he was born in Bessarobia (sic), which I understood to be Bessarabia, in modern-day Moldova.  I kind of doubted him; he had a kind of checkered past which involved insurance fraud, running illegal gambling houses, assault & battery and more--enough that his escapades generated their own blog post here.  He is the kind of person who makes newspaper-based research intriguing.  In his later life, he always said that he had been born in Germany.  So I was pretty skeptical about the Bessarabian claim.

I hadn't found a manifest for Jacob, and the manifest I'd found for Jacob's father Morris, when Morris returned to the US from a trip back to Europe, said that Morris had gone to "Podolian;" Podolia is the guberniya (province) of the Russian Empire where my Supkoffs lived, to the north of Bessarabia.

My Supkoff family used the name Zubkis in the Russian Empire.  But tracing the different branches of the family showed that one branch, which moved to Bratslav, started using the surname Zubkov.  And some of them went to Shargorod.  So I used one of the greatest genealogical tools out there.  If you're not using this tool, you should.
Google Results; Google is Awesome!
I did a Google search; Google can be invaluable for genealogy.  One of the results on the first page of search results was to the Miriam Weiner Collection Alphabetical Index.
(Short side note.  Miriam Weiner is an incredible genealogist who did research in what was then the Soviet Union--one of the very few westerners, let alone Jewish researchers, who did research behind the Iron Curtain.  Her catalog of record sets she found is still searchable here.  There are additional records available beyond those listed in her catalog, but this is a great place to start.  She has donated many of the pages of records she accumulated for client and personal research over the years to JewishGen, and some of them are now online.  Which is how this blog post was able to happen.)

So anyways, it looks like two of the entries on pages that Ms Weiner copied were for births of two Zubkov siblings.
Birth Record for Hirsh-Yankel Zubkov
There were birth records for an Etlya (born 1878) and a Gersh-Yankel (born 1883) Zubkov.  The parents were Moshko and Malka daughter of Alter.  And Moshko is said to be from Bratslav.  The births took place in Soroca--in Bessarabia!

Dr. Jacob Lorenz's parents were Morris (Moshe Aharon on his tombstone) and Mollie (Malka daughter of Moshe Alter on her tombstone).  These are the birth records for Jacob's siblings Harry and Anna!

So Jacob didn't lie about being born in Bessarabia.  (He did lie about being born in Germany.)  And thanks to Google--and Miriam Weiner--I now know where this branch lived, at least temporarily, before emigrating to America!

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting ... and congratulations on proving the connections.
    One question: how do we find name change petitions?