Sunday, January 17, 2021

My 5th Great Grandfather's Signature - And How I Found It

Finding names and dates are great and are the foundation of genealogical research.  But I love finding documents that tell the stories and show that my family actually interacted with those documents.  So how excited do you think I was to find my 5th great grandfather's signature?

Meir Lefand's Signature

My fifth great grandfather was Meir Lefand.  Considering when he was born (about 1795) and where (Russian Empire), I have a decent amount of documentation referencing him, including his death record and references to him in records regarding his children (because of the use of the father's name--patronymic--in both Russian- and Hebrew-language documents).

But besides just being a name in vital records, he was a person who wanted to move to another village.  For Jews to do that in the Russian Empire, it took an official request and was not an easy process.  The request for his family to move (to a village which was quite nearby where they already lived) generated 100 densely-written pages.  I'm still getting all of those translated, but it seems that Meir was a very persistent man.

One of the (very many) pages of Meir's request to move

And at the bottom of one of those pages and pages that comprised the movement request was Meir's signature.

Meir signed his name as "Nezhin Townsperson, the Jew Meir Lefant."  Nezhin was the town where the Lefand had lived for at least three previous generations, and the town where the family was still registered, even after this move to Drozdovka was approved.  Am I the only one who is impatient to get the rest of this document fully translated?  I can make out enough to see that relationships are discussed and potentially dates of military drafts and deaths of some of the family members.

This is one of the documents that I found referenced on J-Roots and then obtained from the local archive in Ukraine.  This one file--which is probably of interest to no one but me--has helped me understand my 5th great grandfather a bit better, learned how all of the other Lefands in the region are related to me, and keeps on getting me more tidbits of Lefand-related information.  J-Roots is just amazing.

Stay tuned for more, as this (and other) documents get translated!

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1 comment:

  1. How neat! What a (potential) treasure trove of information. Persistence must be genetic, unlike musical ability. :)