Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Missing (Now Found) Death of Shimon Tolchinsky

I'd narrowed down the potential death date of my great-great-great grandfather, Shimon Tolchinsky, based on when children began to be named for him.  But despite painstakingly going through all of the Nezhin vital records, I never found his death record (but there were some gaps in the years around his suspected death, so I assumed that he died during one of those gapped periods).  I was confident that he would have died before February 1894 and likely after December 1889.  But I had no clue where in that window he died.
Shimon Tolchinsky Death Record, Priluki, 1893

Shimon Tolchinsky died of pneumonia in July 1893, right in the window in which I'd expected.  But why hadn't I found his death record in Nezhin?  Well, Shimon's death wasn't recorded in Nezhin.  It was recorded in the next large city to the south, Priluki.  And he didn't actually die in Priluki.  According to this death record, Shimon "died in Devitsa village and was buried in Priluki."

Shimon and his family actually lived in Losinovka, a small village just to the south of Nezhin.  I've documented his wife and kids living there both before and after Shimon's 1893 death.  Devitsa was only about 15 miles away from Losinovka.  But it was far enough from Nezhin--and close enough to Priluki--that Devitsa Jewish deaths were recorded in Priluki, not Nezhin.
Map of Locations in this Post
So lesson learned here.  People traveled for various reasons.  It's always worth looking through metrical records for neighboring towns, especially when they're located online (Priluki's vital records are on FamilySearch).  I've since found other relatives' vital events in Priluki records.

Oh, and one other note.  There's no mention in this record of Shimon living in Losinovka or near Nezhin.  It only refers back to Lubny, a town in which he hadn't lived in about 30 years, but still his town of registration.

So widen your aperture.  Look for your family's vital events in the towns neighboring theirs.  It might explain why you can't find a record you're sure must exist.

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  1. do you see 'Lubensky meschanin .."? It means he was registered in Lubny ('Лубны'), or maybe has inherited this registration from his farther.

    1. Yes, that is the case, and I mention it above. It was both his town of registration and birth, but he moved to Nezhin at least 30 years before his death.

    2. So interesting! My (NYC born) grandmothers' maiden name was Tolchinsky. She was one of the 8 children of Barney Tolchinsky who was born near Kyiv around 1875. He immigrated to NYC around 1908 to join his brother Morris who arrived a few years before. (Morris soon moved to Providence RI where many of his Tolchinsky descendants still live) Their father (my great-great grandfather) was said to be Chaim Hersh Tolchinsky born in the 1850's in Tulchyn, Vinnytsya, Ukraine. I can find no records for him, I don't even know if he came to America or remained in Ukraine. Any suggestions on how I can overcome this dead end?

    3. Tolchinsky is actually a fairly common name. Many families who had been from Tulchin took the surname--but are not related. My Tolchinskys ended up a fair bit north, so there's likely no connection.

      I suggested finding naturalization or other records for the immigrants to find their exact town and then use records for that town to find out more.