The purpose of this analysis is to find the maiden name and family members of Etta Bryna Rosenbloom, who died in Borisov 6 Nisan 5656 (March 1896) leaving a husband and five children.  Her husband, Israel David Rosenbloom, married a widow with two children and together they had two other children - one of whom was killed in the aftermath of WWI and the other became a physician, lived in Moscow and was never heard from after about 1930.  Israel David Rosenbloom died sometime after 1930 in Penza (Russia), where he lived from the early 1920's.

Some of you may find some of the references awkward, but keep in mind that some of the readers know the people concerned while others have never heard of them.  For reasons of convenience, I shall be referring to people of my grandparents' generation by their given names.  Etta Bryna will be referred to as "EB." I mean no disrespect by this.
I plan to update this as new information becomes available.  New material will have a green background for the first couple of weeks.

I hope that family members and researchers alike find this interesting and/or useful.

Israel Pickholtz
Last updated 12 Elul 5771, 11 September 2011

1. The following table shows my maternal grandparents and their immediate families.

Children of Israel David ROSENBLOOM and Etta Bryna ?? of Borisov
Children of Hirsch GORDON and Anna Kugel of Dolginov
Alta m. Berl Kaplan (never left Russia, 
so not part of this study)
Mare Chaya (Mary) 1878-1940 m. Eliyahu Ber (Louis) Jaffe ~1880-1928
my maternal grandmother
Rachmiel (Raymond) GORDON
my maternal grandfather
Rachel Lea (Rose) ~1887-1910
With Hymen, 1906-7
Rachel (Rose) 1887-1973 m. Max Shapiro
Shayna Liba (Sadie) ~1889-1916 m. Zisal? Lichterman
Note:  The name Zisal Lichterman was given to me years ago by the daughter of Hymen Rosenbloom.  I have not seen any record of a person by this name and his precise identity remains something of a mystery.
Efraim Zalman (Frank) 1893-1947 m. Mary Portnick
Chaim Benzion (Hymen) 1894-1986
Both couples had other children who died young and about whom we know nothing.
2.  During a visit with Hymen Rosenbloom at his Silver Spring MD home, around 1970, he showed me a charcoal drawing or photograph of EB's grave with her daughter Sadie standing beside it.  This gave us the only information we have about EB - her date of death and her father's name, Yehudah HaLevi.  I have finally located this picture and am attempting to get a photograph of it.
3.  The fact is, Hymen himself didn't know his mother's maiden name.  This was not something he had forgotten in old age - he probably never knew it at all.  On his application for a Social Security card (SS-5), which he filed at age fifty-nine, in the space "mother's full name before ever married" he wrote "(last unknown)."  Hymen was not quite two years old when his mother died and his father married again soon after.  It is entirely possible that EB's children were not encouraged to maintain a relationship with their late mother's family, even if they lived in Borisov.  It is also possible that they maintained contact with them but that Hymen never realized that they were relatives. 

These were tumultuous times and at least two of Hymen's sisters (Sarah and Rose) were imprisoned for revolutionary activity, and young Hymen's attentions were no doubt on more interesting matters than his dead mother's relatives.  Hymen left Borisov for New York in 1914, when he was twenty years old, following his sisters Rose (1907), Sarah (1910) and Sadie.  He was fortunate at that because WWI broke out while he was at sea and immigration routes were virtually closed until after the war, by which time Russia had become the USSR.

4.  Rochel (Rose) Rosenblum entered Ellis Island on 19 September 1907.  Her nearest relative in country of origin is listed as Schmuel Rosenblum.  I am assuming that this was supposed to be her father Israel David who was known as Srul and that the clerk heard the name wrong.  Her destination is Bayonne New Jersey and she is going to her sister Libe (Sadie=Shayna Libe).  The listed address in Bayonne mentions someone named Belinkoff, who may have been Libe's landlord.  (Maybe someone reading this has a better take on that.)

This listing of Sadie's being in the US before Rose is curious, because on Sadie's 1916 death certificate, it says she had been in the US for five years.  But more on that certificate later.

The passenger list for Rochel/Rose is here and she is on line 24.

5.  Rose died on 3 December 1910 and is buried in Mt Zion Cemetery, in Maspeth NY.  We have a photo of the grave and a photo of Sadie at Rose's funeral, but despite several attempts over the years, we have not been able to locate a New York death certificate for Rose.  This document would no doubt have her mother's maiden name, as Sadie was there to supply that information.  It is possible that Rose died elsewhere and we need to make another effort in that direction.
I have checked in New Jersey and do not find the death certificate there.
6.  Hymen entered the US at Ellis Island on 4 August 1914 (see line 11) and went to Sarah, who by this time was married to Raymond Gordon and living in Vandergrift Pennsylvania.  Nonetheless, she is listed as "Rosenbloom" on Hymen's passenger list.  It is interesting that he did not go to Sadie, who was probably in New York.
7.  Sadie died on 1 May 1916 and is buried in Mt Carmel Cemetery, NY. Her death certificate shows that she was 23 years old and had lived in the US - in New York - for five years.  Her father is listed as "David Rosenblum" and her mother as "Yetta Lichtman."  We know her to have been significantly older and according to Rose's passenger list she was in the US significantly longer.  And part of the time in New Jersey.  Her father's name is Israel David, not David.  Sadie is called "Rosenblum" on her death certificate, despite the fact that she was (or had been) married to Zisal Lichterman.  She is listed as "married." 

The death certificate is unusual in that there is no space for spouse's name nor is there a space for informant, and in fact we don't know who would have provided any personal information here.  The anonymous informant seems to have been quite unreliable!  The mother's name "Yetta Lichtman" is clearly in a different handwriting - an interesting point the significance of which I have not determined.

At this point, my intuition begins to work and it seems to me that Sadie's mother's name was more likely LICHTERMAN, not Lichtman.  And that Sadie and her husband Zisal Lichterman were cousins of a sort.  There were Lichtermans in Borisov and in New York and it would be interesting to see if any of the NY-Borisov Lichterman graves indicate that they are Leviim.  I will have to find some New York help on that, both to identify the people and to find the graves.

Hymen would likely have known that Sadie and her husband were cousins, but no one asked him that when we were making first inquiries, during his lifetime.  Nor would he have necessarily remembered that when years later he was asked his mother's maiden name.

8.  In addition to the Lichterman graves, it would be very useful to see the marriage record for Zisal and Sadie, which should have full birth names for their parents.  The Italian genealogists have an index of grooms for New York with twenty-six Lichtermans (1909-35) and I do not identify Zisal among them.  I am told that the Italians are preparing an index of brides and that may give us a certificate number.  Or they may have been married outside New York or even outside the state.
Just in case, I looked for their marriage record in New Jersey and it isn't there.

We do not have a passenger list for Sadie. 

9.  The marriage record for Sarah and Raymond Gordon (4 February 1914) has no useful information and here too much about Sarah is incorrect.  It is interesting to note that although she had been in the US since 1910, she signed the marriage certificate in Hebrew/Yiddish.  He probably supplied the personal information without bothering to ask her.  My mother confirms that that would have been like him.

Nonetheless, Raymond knew Sarah's family from Russia.  Though he was from Dolginov, we have a photograph of him, taken by a photographer in Borisov.  (I wondered why he would have been there as a teenager, and Harold Gordon the son of Raymond's brother Frank said "chasing the girls, like all the Gordon men.")  According to family lore, Raymond courted Sarah's sister Rose, but she wouldn't have him. 

10.  Sarah's passenger list is of particular interest.  (See line 24)  She arrived at Ellis Island 20 July 1910, supposedly at age twenty, and her father is listed as Sruel Rosenbloom of Borisov.  Her passage was paid be "cousin" despite the fact that she had a sister in New York (or New Jersey).  Her destination was indeed "cousin J. Ben..on, Brooklyn NY 517 New York Ave."

Now who might that be?
11.  There is no 517 New York Avenue in Brooklyn in the 1910 census, but there is a 517 New Jersey Avenue.  At that address at the very bottom of the page, we find a couple named Jake and Gittel Benenson and their year old son Phivish. Jacob Benenson is also from Borisov as is his wife Gittel Lichterman.  Family members know this couple and they indeed had a son known as Philip who was born 23 October 1909 (and died 10 Feb 2002). 

My guess is that Sarah said she was going to her cousin and that her cousin was not "J. Ben..on" but his wife.

12.  On the same census page, just above Jake and Gittel Benenson and at the same address, we find another couple of interest.  Louis and Mary Jaffe and their three daughters.  (A son George was born later.)  Mary Jaffe is the elder sister of Raymond Gordon.  Louis Jaffe is also from Borisov.

Several years later, Gittel Benenson's sister Elke (aka Alice) would marry Louis Jaffe's brother Zalman.  Zalman took the name Louis and he and Alice used the name Lichterman, rather than Jaffe.  Alice and Louis/Zalman have a living daughter who has been cooperating with this inquiry, with George Jaffe's daughter as an intermediary.

13.  Gittel Lichterman entered the US via Ellis Island (line 10) on 24 December 1907.  Her nearest relative in her place of origin is her father Yosle Lichterman and she was going to her cousin A. Kaplowitz, 18 Rutgers Place (NY?).

Elke Lichtermann entered the US via Ellis Island (line 5) on 20 February 1911.  Her nearest relative in her place of origin is her father Joseph Lichterman and she was going to her brother J. Lichterman, 507 New Jersey Avenue, Brooklyn, which is quite near her by-now-married sister Gittel.

I do not see Ellis Island entries for A. Kaplowitz or J. Lichterman.

14.  The daughter of Elke/Alice Lichterman says that her mother and Gittel had three brothers, Nathan, David and Julius, and that Julius is the one we are calling Zisal.  He disappeared after Sadie died and no one ever knew what happened to him.  I expect that Julius is the "J. Lichterman" that Elke/Alice went to from Ellis Island.  The Italian database has a Manhattan marriage record for Julius I. Lichterman, 2 March 1909.  Certificate number is 4787. It is not to S. Rosenbloom.

I see a listing in the Social Securitry Death Index (SSDI) for Nathan Lichterman from NY who died in March 1963.  I need to find where he is buried and see if his stone mentions "Levi."

Nathan has a son in Maryland who has no idea if they are Leviim, so although I have someone checking Nathan's stone in Falls Church Virginia, I have no reason to expect it to tell us anything.
Another brother, David, is buried in National Capital Cemetery in Washington DC.  He died 23 December 1953.  I will get a precise location and find someone to check the grave itself for some Levi sign.

Alice's husband died 25 December 1942 and is buried in Washington Hebrew Congregation Cemetery, in DC.  I assume Alice is there too.

15.  Alice and Gittel Lichterman have a brother Chaim with a living daughter and granddaughter in Israel  I spoke with the granddaughter who says that her mother doesn't know if they are Leviim.  The mother has a brother buried in Kibbutz Yagur and here too I have someone who will check the grave, but I have no reason to think it will help matters.  Chaim died (was killed?) in Europe, so we have no grave for him.
16. While at the 2011 genealogy conference in Washington DC, I went to the graves of David Lichterman and his sisters Alice and Gittel (Gussie).

David's grave has no stone.

Alice's grave has no information.

Gittel's grave is a "normal" Jewish grave, but there is no indication that her father is a Levi.

PS.  While searching for a passenger list for Shayna-Libe=Sadie, I tried a search of all names that sound like Rosenbloom from all places that sound like Borisov.  There were seventy-four hits and, though many were from Warsaw, many were indeed from Borisov.  The fact that there were so many Rosenblooms from Borisov entering the US - and no doubt many more who didn't - raises interesting questions about the size of the family.  We do know that there were at least three Rosenbloom families in Borisov who have living descendants and who apparently are not related to each other.

In the course of this search, I saw the name Lunie Rosenblum, who arrived at Ellis Island 7 August 1911 at age twenty-five. For some reason I had a look at that passenger list and was surprised to find that she listed her nearest relative in her country of origin as her father Srul Rosenblum.  I was even more surprised to see that she was going to her sister Liebe Rosenblum on Madison Street in New York.  Could there be another sister we never knew of?  Hardly likely!

It took a few minutes until I realized that this was the step-sister Sonie - the daughter of Israel David's second wife from her first marriage.  I didn't know she ever went to the US, nor did I imagine that she went by Rosenblum.  (Her brother did go to NY and he was called Jack Bandis, but we never found a trace of him.)  Sonie apparently returned to Russia, because we know that she was there in the late 1920's.  She married a man named Resnikov and had two children - Avraham and Bela.  My information - from Russian records in Penza - is that they would have been born 1911-1913, but surely not if she was in New York and unmarried at the time.  A puzzle for another occasion.

Date Event Place Document Remarks
19 Sep 1907 Rose Rosenbloom enters US Ellis Island Passenger list  
24 Dec 1907 Gittel Lichterman enters US Ellis Island Passenger list  
20 Jul 1910 Sarah Rosenbloom enters US Ellis Island Passenger list  
3 Dec 1910 Rose Rosenbloom dies   Grave  
20 Feb 1911 Elke Lichtermann enters US Ellis Island Passenger list  
4 Feb 1914 Sarah Rosenbloom marries Raymond Gordon Bronx NY Certificate  
4 Aug 1914 Hymen Rosenbloom enters US Ellis Island Passenger list  
1 May 1916 Sadie Rosenbloom dies NYC Certificate  

E N D    for now