Itka

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandmothers was called Itka. She was born in 1804 in Lithuania, probably in Svencionys (also known as Švenčionys, Sventzion, Święciany, Shventsian, Śvianciany, Schwintzen, Švenčoņi, Svencionyz, Shvintzion, Shvyentsiani, Shvyetsiani, Sventsian, Sventsiany, Swenziany, and Svintzian!).

I don’t have any photos of Itka, but here are some of her descendants and their families in South Africa.

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Itka is a derivative of the name Judith, according to Alexander Beider’s Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names, mentioned before.

We know that her father’s name was Leiba, and that she was 30 in 1834. Thanks to the Svencionys District Research Group of LitvakSIG (a group of people who have contributed to making data about Svencionys available), we have a list of people who lived in Svencionys in 1834 when there was a Revision List, which was a census used to collect poll taxes. Itka is listed as the wife of Movsha Gurvich (Hurwitz), and her father’s first name is also provided.

Also in the household on 30 April 1834 were her son Leib (aged 11) and daughter Sheina (aged 5).

To find out her surname, I checked the 1811 Revision List for a man called Leiba (or Leyba or Leib) with a daughter aged 7 called Itka. The closest was a Leyba Muchan, with a daughter Ita, aged 12, so I’m not convinced.

The 1850 Revision List shows our family again in October of that year, with Itka now aged 46. Also in the household is her son Kopel Leib (27), his wife Tema, and their daughter Buska, aged 8.

I have found no other records for Itka, and she does not appear in the 1858 Revision List.

Contributions to LitvakSIG are very much welcomed, to enable further records to be transcribed and made available. See https://www.litvaksig.org/research/

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Ari, this is how you are related to Itka:

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Nisel Shnaiderovich

Ari’s 6x great-grandfather Nisel lived in Svencionys, Lithuania. Nisel (a variant of Nisn) is a name that was given to boys during the month in which Passover occurs, and Shnaiderovich means ‘son of a tailor’. He is also listed as Nosel.

All we know about Nisel comes from the All Lithuania Revision List Database on JewishGen. This is the family on 30 April 1834 in Svencionys:

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This tells us that Nisel’s father was Shmuila, and gives us Nisel’s date of birth as 1798. We can see that his wife is Gitka, and her father was Girsh. They have four daughters: Raina (14), Tema (12), Sora (10) and Feiga (2). This suggests that they married in about 1819.

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The Revision of 30 October 1850 (above) shows that he had died in 1848. A son, Shmuel, is 16. Who is he living with? Has his mother also died?

Please read this article about what happened in Svencionys in 1941.

Ari, this is how you are related to Nisel:

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Moses Gurvich of Svencionys

One of Ari’s Lithuanian ancestors was Moses Gurvich, the father of LK Hurwitz. Moses was known as Movsha or Moshe, and his middle name was Nison. He was Ari’s 4x great-grandfather.

Moses was born in about 1847 in Svencionys, Lithuania and died aged 73 in 1920, also in Lithuania. He worked as a timber merchant.

The middle name proved to be the clue that enabled me to discover relatives in Wisconsin a couple of years ago (before that I had no idea about his parents or brothers and sisters).

This was discovered from the birth record of LK’s son Khatzkel (Charles) in the  Lithuania Database on the JewishGen website:

Charles

The second column gives the names of his father, grandfather (top row) and mother, grandfather (second row).

Other records show him aged 11 with his family in the 1858 Revision List in Svencionys.

He must have married in about 1868, and five children were born between 1870 and 1881. They were Leah, Gittel (Gertrude), LK, Sorel (Sara), and Chasel (Charlotte).

A small diversion

Leah married Moshe Michelson and owned a flour mill. She was killed in 1943 in Lithuania with three of their children (a grandson, Khaim Mikhelson, has submitted testimony to Yad Vashem). One of her sons, Jacob (Yankel) married Jehudith Kuritsky. She has written an account of what happened to the family in Svencionys when the Germans arrived in 1941. This is just the first page.

Svintzian story1

Back to the story

From the records giving me his father’s name, I was able to match someone in America who had been contacting me wondering whether our Hurwitz familes were related. At that time I had no way of telling. She turned out to be descended from Moses’s brother Vulf, who emigrated to the US in 1921, providing us with many new relations in Milwaukee.

Here is the record of Moses’ second marriage at the age of 64 on 30 July 1909 (I knew that after his first wife Annie had died he had married her sister). What I don’t know from this is whether Tzimerman is their maiden name or whether she was a widow.

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As far as I can see, all of his grandchildren were born before he died in 1920, so nobody in that generation is named after him.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Moses:

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LK Hurwitz and the Raleigh Cycle Co. Ltd

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Louis Koppel (known as LK) Hurwitz. He was born on 19 Nov 1873 in Svencionys, Lithuania and emigrated to Woodstock, Cape Town in 1901, where his wife Rahle’s brothers had a cycle business. In 1903 he moved to Johannesburg and set up in business on his own.

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I love this photo of LK and Rahle with their three oldest children, Charles (b 1901), John (b 1903) and Anne (b 1905).

LK and family

LK had an agreement with Raleigh to sell their bikes in South Africa, and I came across some correspondence relating to this which is held in the Nottinghamshire Archives. I wrote to them to ask for a copy of the letters.

DD.RN.10.4.76.1.55 m

Ari, this shows how you are related to Louis:

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Ari’s Ancestors

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A blog about finding all of the direct ancestors of my grandson Ari, and learning as much about them as I can.  His birth has given me an opportunity to focus on part of the family tree, looking again at all the records I have and searching for new ones.

I know at least a little bit about 370 of his direct ancestors. They lived in places as far afield as: Memel (now Klaipeda); Grafton Flyford in Worcestershire; Middleton by Wirksworth in Derbyshire; Corfe Castle in Dorset; Barrowden in Rutland; Kalisz in Poland; Svencionys in Lithuania; Johannesburg; Gritsev in Ukraine; Parichi in Belarus; Fonthill Bishop in Wiltshire; and Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire.

Alphabetically, their surnames range from ABBOTT to WRIGHT (and some I don’t know yet), and first names range from Abraham to Yosel.