On the joy of being wrong….

Nearly a year ago, I wrote of finding some BERKOWITZs in the US, the wife, Dwojra, being my great-great-grandmother’s sister.   Turns out, I was wrong.

Not about who Dwojra was, or that they were living at 183 Allen Street in New York.  No, I was wrong in thinking I had found the family on the 1910 US Census.  To be certain, it was a reasonable assumption; the husband was Hyman, a typical Americanization of Chaim.  They appeared to be the right age, and from the right place.  So, while nothing is absolute in this treasure hunt we call genealogical research, all the pieces fit.

Until new information came along.  In this case – as has been on going for a few months now – the newly digitized information from the Polish State Archives. Among these gems were Dwojra’s birth record (1871) and the age of Chaim BERKOWICZ from their marriage record in 1893 (born Dec 1868).  That indicated that the couple I had thought were these two in America were 7-10 years too old!

So where are the REAL Chaim and Dwojra?  Well, knowing their correct ages, I was able to find the ship manifest for the SS Anchoria, arriving NY 31 Jan 1901:

New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 - Chaim Szaja Berkowicz

What we see in this edited snippet is Chaim Szaja BERKOWICZ (right age) with his wife “Dwere” (right age)…. along with a brother Menache, all meeting another brother already in the US.  Now, it turns out through other records that Chaim and Dwjora were actually cousins, so the BERKOWICZs are all actually related to me as well, which has lead to finding a few hundred new relatives in recent days.

But, sticking with Chaim and Dwojra, how do I NOW know we have the right people? Well, in 1904 Chaim applied for the first papers in naturalization, listing his arrival in Jan 1901, and his current address as the famed 183 Allen Street.  In 1906, he was granted citizenship, naming his address at 189 Allen Street.

So, at the cost of one family (and a single daughter, who never married), I gained several hundred new relatives and a more correct tree.

The current mystery on this line is what happened to Chaim and Dwojra.  Aside from the 1904 and 1906 naturalization records, I have found no trace of them.  I have gone through page-by-page on the 1905 New York Census and 1910 US Census, and no one of the right name nor profession is listed at either 183 or 189 Allen Street.  Did they change their names? Move? Did they have children, who may today be living somewhere in the US, waiting for me to find them?   I don’t know.  That’s a breakthrough for another day.


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