Minnie Kaplan
Identifying her parents and understanding her families' documents

Following is a report I received from Carole Feinberg, from the 1920 Census, in California.

Harry KAPLIN, 46, Russian Poland, immigrated 1885, naturalized.  1520 Berendo, Los Angeles.  Minnie, wife, 45, born NY; all children born Nebraska: Max, 23; Izzie, 21; daughter (can't read her name), 20.
According to the California Death Index, Isadore was born 15 May 1893, Max 16 August 1896 and Sarah 12 October 1899.  The dates for Max and Sarah are consistent with the census, however the discrepancy for Isadore changes the order of the births.  (For Isadore, we have the death certificate itself.)  We were not able to find this family in the 1900 census in Nebraska.  Max' daughter thinks that Max was older, but is not sure.

An additional problem is Minnie's entrance into the United States.  See line twenty-four below.  This is the passenger list for the boat brining Minnie to Ellis Island on 12 May 1893.
It is difficult to reconcile this twenty-four year old unmarried woman's date of entry with the birth of a child in Omaha three days later.  Also note that according to the passenger list, she was born in about 1869, while the census has her born about 1875.  The census is flat out wrong regarding Minnie's birth place.  Perhaps the census taker was speaking wth a neighbor instead of with a family member.

But what I find most curious here is that a young unmarried Jewish woman from Skalat gets on a boat knowing that she is going to Nebraska. Why?  Who is there before her?  People ended up in all kinds of places, but Nebraska is hardly a place she would have gone deliberately unless she knew someone already there.  We might think that she was going to marry Harry Kaplan based on knowing him in Europe, but we have their marriage certificate and it is from 9 June 1895 - more than two years later.

I am also curious about the name Minna.  Her granddaughter says that it was originally Merle (more likely Mirl, a diminuitive of Miriam).  Normally changes of this type occur after arrival in the US, but in this case, she was called Minna on the passenger list.  Also note that we have no reference to any other Minna (or similar) born before 1903 and for all the Miriams we have, we know who they are.  (We have others named Manya who are Miriam, so this is not an unusual occurrence.)

(This passenger list came from the Ellis Island website, but it was not accessible through their own search engines.  We were able to find the actual list by using the Stephen Morse search, which has since been taken down due to a legal matter between him and Ellis Island.  We are all the worse for that.)

At this time we have not allocated a budget for locating the three Omaha birth certificates, but we are working on getting grave photographs.

The passenger list tells us only that Minna came from Skalat.  (I am ignoring the fact that it says "Romani.")  Later passenger lists have a column for nearest relative in country of origin, but we must manage without that asistance here.)

We have also not yet seen a photo of Minnie's grave, however, I suspect that her father's name will not be there.

Nor do the mother's parents' names appear on Nebraska birth certificates - at least not in the 1890's.

However, they do appear on the marriage license.  (See the certificate itself, if you like.)

Marriage between Mr Harry Kaplan color white, residing at Omaha aged 22 years, born at Poland his father's name was  Meyer Kaplan his mother's maiden name was Tony (?) Goldstein, and Miss Minnie Pickolch color white residing at Omaha aged 20 years, born at Austria her father's name was Leon Pickolch her mother's maiden name was Sarah Glisner and this shall be
your warrant etc...

Licensed by County Judge Irving F Baxter on June 7, 1895 
Married June 9 by E. Fleisman
Witnessed by W.R Wolozinsky & J. Aninson.

Note that here Minnie is born about 1875, same as in the census.  It may be that the passenger list was simply wrong.  Perhaps more likely that she shaved off a few years in order to be younger than her husband.

I cannot prove it, of course, but I have no doubt that if Minnie reported that her father was "Leon," then he was in fact called Aryeh-Leib.  We have therefore two candidates for Minnie's parents - one in the MATI family and one in the LAOR family.

(Note that Minnie has a daughter named Sarah but no son named anything close to Aryeh-Leib.  Her first grandson, however, was called Leonard.)

In the MATI family, we have a couple named Aryeh-Leib and Sarah-Kreisel (maiden name unknown) who lived in Skalat and had three daughters and a son, the youngest born 1864.  It is entirel;y possible that they has additional children for whom we have no records and Minnie's earlier birth year (~1869) certainly fits this couple.  We have no idea when Aryeh-Leib died.  Sarah-Kreisel may have died in 1874.  Furthermore, we now know that Minnie's daughter Sarah had the middle name Katherine, so it seems pretty clear that Sarah-Kreisel was the namesake of Sarah-Katherine.  Although we cannot prove that Minnie is in the Mati family, we have discussed the matter and decided that it is almost a certainty and have therefore entered her as such in the database and the website.

In the LAOR family, we have Aryeh-Leib married to Cirl (which is often a diminuitive of Sarah), having two children in Skalat in the 1850's.  It is certainly possible that they had additional children.  Cirl died in 1885 and Aryeh-Leib has at least one other child several years later.  We have discounted this possibility for Minnie.

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