Sunday, August 29, 2021

Russian Empire Recruit Lists - Garber Edition

My Garber ancestors lived in what is now Torchin, Volhynia, Ukraine.  My grandmother knew that her grandmother's maiden name was Devorah Garber, but she didn't know Devorah's parents.  Devorah died around 1935 in what is now Horochiv, Ukraine (it was Horochow, Poland at the time), and there are no known surviving death records from that time and place that might mention at least a father's name.  Normally she would be a dead end--except that my grandmother also told me that one of Devorah's brothers had come to America.  From that brother's grave, I know that his and Devorah's father--and therefore my ggg grandfather--was Chaim Asher Garber, and from his ship manifest and other documents, I confirmed he was from Torchin.  (Via DNA testing of some of his descendants, I confirmed the relationship as well.)  And with the help of some Russian Empire recruit lists, I was able to trace the family even further back.

Lists of Torchin recruiting district. 1859 – 1862; Garber Family

Simcha Leib Garber was the head of household for the Garber family in an 1859-1862 recruit list for the Torchin recruiting district.  (Only males were enumerated, since only they were eligible for recruitment.)  And sure enough, he had a 23-year-old son Chaim Usher.  I also learn that Simcha Leib's father was Gedalia (my 5th great grandfather).  And there's some extended family living with them, which helps to flesh out the larger family.

From this one recruiting list, which probably was hated at the time, I learn that Simcha Leib lived with his two sons (Chaim Asher and Pesach), his nephew Pesach Isser Keshler (the type of nephew isn't specified) who had been recruited in 1854, Pesach Isser's uncle Leib who had been recruited in 1859, Leib's son Duvid, Duvid's uncle Eizik Moshkovich Keshler, and Eizik's son Yos.

Simcha Leib would have been born around 1804, which means that his father Gedalia would have been born in the 1700s.  All from one recruit list.

So where do you find these recruit lists?  A (small) subset has been scanned by Alex Krakovsky, FamilySearch, and potentially some other resources.  But in many cases, the lists have not been digitized and are still in the original books in the archives.  (This list with my Garber family was from Lutsk Archive.)  As you can see, it's definitely worth seeing what exists for your family towns!

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