1897 Census Success Stories

Many Rokiskis SIG members shared their stories of locating their families on the 1897 Rokiskis All-Russian Census.

From Ben Davidowitz:

What a thrill to find my Father and his family on the list!    3 year old Lozer-Hirsh is my father. 

From Teresa Finer:

Thank you for the Chanukah gift of the Rokiskis census!  I stayed up late reviewing it last night.  I found my great grandmother's family on my father's side.  Her name, Raize Levin, living with the Manasevics family as a cook (inspired me in cooking the latkes tonight).  Her father and mother, Zalman (there's a typo that says Zakman) and Gutta Levin a few pages later, along with her younger siblings.  Right after them, Zalman's brother and family and right after them (Orel and Itta-Leah), Zalman's other brother  Mendel and family.  Most of the names are very close to the names I had been told by family members over the years (I did some researching several years back by writing letters) and the ages make sense - the age I had for Reize was maybe a couple years off, but I think that is just human error somewhere.  The names are so close that it must be them!  So now I can confirm my great grandmother Raize's father's name, her grandfather's name and now I learn her great grandfather' and grandmother's names (my great great great great grandparents) for the first time. 

I also learned the names of a couple of children that I didn't have before.  I also learned the name of  Mendel's wife and child for the first time -  unfortunately, since his child was a daughter, it will still be very difficult to trace them in S.Africa ... all this rambling to say that I did hit paydirt with respect to the Levin branch.  I was at my office today staring at my map of the world and it gave me the chills when I looked at where Rokiskis was - after spending all that time last night thinking about these people, they sort of came to life when I looked at the map.

From Aubrey Mendelow:

...the Shapiro (Neech Hirsh) [we know him as Noach Tzvi] and Ginsberg (Orel) [we know him as Aharon Ortzik] and their off spring are where they should be! Also the birth place has proved useful - giving the lead to other town where family might be found.

It is interesting that the siblings of both Noach Shapiro and Aharon Ginsberg are not located in the census - indicating that they are living elsewhere. Interesting too is the paucity of people over the age of 55!

From Jules Feldman:

There are 3 families of Gurvicz in the 1897 census .I do not recognise any of them and I have read the list a dozen  times to try and squeeze something out of it. I do not know when my grandmother Malka Hurwitz was born but her younger sisters were born in 1898 and 1906 though there were older brothers born before then.

... However for the record - Rosa Genn Levor who also lives here at Yizreel - recognised her grandfather Chaim-Movshe Gen on the list.

From Phil Shapiro:

Two more "success stories" regarding the 1897 Rokiskis Census

1) The 1897 census list, on page 4, shows a three-person household of Abram and Rella Abramovicz and Zavel Zavelevicz residing on Komaiskaya Street (Kamai Street). The Bnai Abraham and Yehuda Laib Family Society (BAYL), which was founded in Baltimore in 1901, consists of the descendants of the first and second husbands of Rella Krok, the daughter of Laibe Krok. The 1897 census identifies Rella as the daughter of "Leiba," age 64 and married to Abram Abramovicz, whose age is given as 63. According to the BAYL family tradition, Rella's second husband, who was known in the United States as Abraham Abramson, was said to have been a rabbi in Rokiskis for 25 years before coming to America. This appears to be consistent with the translation of the occupation given for Abram in the census of one who "makes Jewish symbolics." The third member of the household, "Zavel Zavelevicz," age 22, appears to be a grandson of Rella. The census states that Zavel was a capmaker who was born in Kupiskis and was the son of "Shloma." Rella's oldest daughter from her first marriage (to Yehuda Laib Romm) was Etta-Devara Romm. Etta-Devara married Shlomo Savilevics and lived in Kupiskis. At least one of Etta's children -- my grandmother Zlata Savilevics (Celia Smith Shapiro) -- often told the family that as a child she frequently stayed with her grandmother Rella.

2) The 1897 census list also shows, on page 4, a six-person household residing on Komaiskaya Street consisting of "Yankel and Rocha-Nessa Rubin" and their four teenage children. According to the BAYL family history, Rabbi Abraham Abramson and his first wife Chana Brina had a daughter Rucha Nessa who married a man known in English as Jacob Rubin and had five children. The names of the four children appearing in the census correspond with the names of the first four children found in the BAYL family tree for Rucha Nessa and Jacob Rubin. According to the census, the four children were born in Kamai/Kamajai, where the BAYL family tradition states many ancestors of the BAYL once lived. By the way, the oldest daughter of Rucha Nessa and Jacob Rubin, Anna Rubin, married Myer Savilevics, a son of Etta Devara Romm Savilevics. Myer was the founder of BAYL, which continues to operate the Anna and Myer Smith charitable fund in their memory.

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