Other Success Stories

From Arthur Goldstuck:

 The 1908 Family List has proved to the the key that unlocked my mother's side of the family. From a position of knowing only the names of her father, an aunt and uncle and that uncle's children's name, I have now been able to trace it all back to 1775, with numerous new branches of the family uncovered. Along with the 1845 family list, the material supplied by Linda Cantor helped me to "crack the code", so to speak. Even after thinking that it ended with the proof that Rafal Krok, born about 1775,and his son Yankel, born in about 1802, were my earliest known relatives on that side of the family, and uncovering hundreds of new relatives, further scrutiny of the 1845 and 1908 lists tells me that there are even more connections waiting to be explored. If the Kroks and the Kruks of the early 19th century were the same family, then the list of new relatives expands by thousands. Regardless, this is all nothing short of miraculous.

For the benefit of those exploring the same roots, this is a brief outline of what I discovered:

Rafal Krok was born about 1775 (possibly brother to Zelik and Yankel, who was the father of Laybe). He had 4 sons: Yankel, Netel, Shlioma and Movsha. Yankel had 5 sons: Natan Noteh, Shimel, Zelik Berko, Orel Shmuel and Notel Girsh. Netel had two sons, Eliash and Leyba Ber. Shlioma had two children, Abram and Elka. I don't have information on the further descendants of Netel, Shlioma and Movsha.

Of Yankel's sons, Natan Noteh had 4 sons: Irsh-Yankel, Mendel, David, Abba Yaacov; Shimel had 5 sons: Rafal Zalman, Notel, Leizar, Yudel and Berko; Zelik Berko had 2 sons: Hersche Noteh (my great grandfather, whose name I did not know six months ago) and Zalman; Orel Shmuel had 6 children: Movsha Notel, Baska, Sorka, Rafal, Mendel and Yankel; Notel Girsh seems to have died before his teens - Hersche Noteh appears to have been named after him.

Many of the children of Yankel's grandchildren (i.e. the fifth generation from Rafal) left for the USA, Canada and South Africa in the late 19th and early 20th century, and their descendants have surnames like Kaplan, Rittenberg, Krock, Stein, Comman, O'Connor, Alvarez, Liberman, Berow, Miller, Diorio, Zarr, Staples, Farber, Sommer, Ginsburg, Pinn and Goldstuck.

The 1845 Family List suggests a relationship between Rafal Krok and Leyba Krok, which would expand this list of different surnames by several dozen, and includes people I have known in South Africa for many years without imagining any kind of connection. In short, this is only the beginning!

From Ellen Cassedy:

I did find some of my family in these Pandelys files.

Pandelys 1899-1914 men avoiding conscription:

Yankel Levin, son of David Mikhel, year 1912 -- this is my grandfather.  He escaped the draft by running across the border into Prussia and came to America in 1911.

Mendel Levin, son of David, year 1905 -- I think this is my grandfather's older brother.  Our family stories say he died in 1900 or 1902, as a teenager, a yeshiva student.  So he wouldn't have been alive in 1905.  But it might well be he anyway, if they thought he was still alive and thus still eligible for the draft.

Pandelys 1913 real estate owners

Eta Levin, daughter of Rafail -- this is my great-great grandmother, wife of Wulf.  This is the first time I learned her father's name. 

Izrael Levin -- I believe this is Eta's son, my great-great-uncle.  Son of Wulf. 

If family stories are correct, Wulf owned an inn in Kazliskis; the real estate they owned could have been this inn.  Wulf had died by 1913.  (The Rokiskis 1908 family list says he died in 1905.) 


From Larry Sheftel:

Re: Name Index to the Rokiskis Yiskor Book - I just opened the index and found my grandfather Liebke Horowitz and his nephew Chaim Elye Horowitz.  The family usually spells the name Hurwitz but I think these are our people.  By the way Leibke settled in Worcester, Mass and Chaim Elye was the kosher butcher in Paarl, Cape Province, RSA.

From Larry Neimark and Rhonda Kress Grosman:

On Fatherís Day of 2001, my son, Ron Neimark, wanted to know more about my motherís family history. Celia Kressís (my mother) family history had always been somewhat confusing to me because her mother died giving birth to her and she was adopted by the Abbe Katz family and brought to the U.S. as a child. But what we did know was that the family surname was either Kress or Rosenberg; that she lived near Shkopshik; that she had at least three sibling brothersóMax (who had lived in Johnstown, PA. and then New Orleans), Tevye (who had moved to Copenhagen) and one (name unknown) who supposedly went to South Africa. 

Ron dug into the JewishGen site and immediately found Rhondaís Relatively Rokiskis section and The Story of Tevye Reuven Kress. Tevyeís story matched what we knew about my motherís brothers, and our excitement overflowed. Ron put us in contact with Rhonda, who, after three years of searching, finally had a positive response to her story.

By now I was digging into an old photo album of pictures from Lithuania that my Dad had collected, and found pictures of  Tevye and Basja Kress (one of Celiaís and Tevyeís sisters) together with my Dadís sisters. My two grandmothers were sisters, so these people were actually all cousins, who were apparently living with my Dadís family because their mother had died. There were also pictures of Tevye with his wife and two sons in a park in Copenhagen. These pictures had had no significance to me until now when the people suddenly came to life. The little boy in the park picture was Rhondaís father. When I sent these pictures to Rhonda, it turned out that her brother, Flemming, had pictures that were taken on the same day and were part of the same roll of film. That clinched it! The cousins had finally been united!

To follow up, the Gulyan family genealogist, Jules Feldman (in Israel), contacted me through the SIG with a two-page family tree showing only one of my Gulyan (Neimark) grandmothers. After I filled him in with what I knew, Jules expanded the tree to nine pages and itís still growing with an ever-expanding family. This is truly a success story!  

From Shirley Saunders:

I notice that one of my grandfather's cousins, Riva Mickle Poplack-daughter of his first cousin, Josel Poplack,  was married, in 1931, to Chaim Khasman by my grandfather's brother-in-law, Berchik Zalkind who was not the official rabbi in Rokishok.  However, I understand that Berchik Zalkind was instrumental in starting the yeshiva in Rokishok after World War I and took over the duties of Rabbi Bezelel (Tzal) KATZ when Tzal Katz got very old.  It was Berchik Zalkind who told my father to leave Lithuania when he was drafted into the Lithuanian Army in 1921.  Zalkind was then raising funds to start the yeshiva.  He brought my father to one of his contacts who was a horse smuggler living in Jorburg on the Neiman River across the river from East Prussia.  My father was smuggled with the stolen horse over the river to Germany.

From Len Charney:

Wonderful. Thank you. The entry Ruckas, Mayeris Iron Items Trade Store Nepriklausomybes 26 (Meyer Ruch) is one of our Descendants. (1939 Business Owners List)


From Ada Gamsu:

On the Akniste box taxpayers 1889 list - I found my Yalovetsky family - listed as YaSlovetsky.  Thanks a lot. Its alway great to find something.


From Harvey Felsher:

Re: 1889 Box Tax Lists

"Felsher" in Ponadel is a hit.  I was there 5 years ago and walked the cemetery which was overgrown and stones turned over and my language ability was not up to reading the stones. I felt a little uneasy in this  town where English was not understood.
However my dad was born there along with brother and several sisters. Name appears as currently in use by extended family members. Recently in Cape Town where a lot of Lithuanians migrated to and in the Community center they had a mockup of a shtetl and a map showing the small village of Ponadel.


From Linda Cantor:

I found some of my family in two recent lists - Lithuanian Prisoners and the 1889 Box Tax Lists.  I found a listing for Basia Rifaite (Rif) on the Lithuanian Prisoners list and am now trying to get a copy of the original record.  I knew from family stories that Basia had been imprisoned for being a Communist.  And I found a number of entries of interest in the 1889 Box Tax Lists - Shlomo Hersch Kantor, son of Chaim is listed in Kamajai; Zelman Pantonovich is listed in Kamajai (and while I don't know how he is related to my great grandmother Hannah Pantonovich, it is an unusal name); Shlomo David Trapido, son of Leibe, is listed in Suvainiskis; Elyash Sharfinovich, son of Berko is listed in Suvainiskis (the family is now Safanowitz); and a whole bunch of Kagans (Cohen) in Kupiskis are mine.

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