Sunday, June 20, 2021

Chava Lefand Appeals to Another Czar

My 5th great grandmother Chava Lefand left quite the paper trail. I've made several posts about her legal journey to try to get her sons out of being conscripted (after having lost at least 2 young sons to the draft). You can read about some of her previous attempts here, here and here.  In that first post, she wrote to Czar Nicholas in 1854.  Nicholas died in 1855, and in 1858, Chava was still pursuing her case, and she appealed to Czar Alexander II.  Don't mess with Chava's kids!

Chava Lefand's Case (on Alexander II's Letterhead)

In this petition, Chava explains yet again that her husband's family was listed along that of his brothers, which has led to multiple of her sons being conscripted (and none of her nephews).  She explains that one son hadn't been seen since being conscripted in 1836, and in 1850 because her nephews were hiding, another of her sons was conscripted.  And now yet another son (also my 4th great grandfather) who was married with two young children (including my 3rd great grandfather) had been conscripted.  She explains that a legal finding in 1854 ordered that no more of her sons be conscripted but that it hadn't been upheld, and she requests that her 3rd son to be conscripted be returned to her family.  There are more documents in this file and more that it's pointing me towards, so stay tuned for more in the saga of Chava Lefand to see if Czar Alexander came through for Chava when his father had not.

(By the way, if you're wondering where I found this file, it was in the RGIA archive in St Petersburg.  Here are instructions to see if RGIA holds documents relevant to your research.

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  1. Glad to see how Chava fought to end her son's conscription in the Czar's army. During my 40 year genodyssey, I learned that 2 of my GGGGrandfathers were kidnapped/khapped into the Czar's army as young boys. They were called 'cantonistn' and typically served 25 years...if they survived...and if they remembered their roots after release. Have you heard of this AND is there any archive which logged these conscripts? They were from the Grodno/Hrodno region of now Belarus. greatly appreciate any advice and direction. Ettie

    1. Yes, I write about this in my first post about Chava here:

      I haven’t personally found/seen any records from that time period. Yet.