01 July 2012

Avrum's Women, Part 2: Feiga Grinfeld

Avrum's Women, Part 1: Chana
Avrum's Women, Part 3: Following Feiga (and Raya), the heartland
Avrum's Women, Part 4: The Trouble with Harry
Avrum's Women, Part 5: Finding Feiga 
Avrum's Women, Part 6: Added Confirmation
Avrum's Women, Part 7: Feiga's Family
Avrum's Women, Part 8: Fannie's Story
Avrum's Women, Part 9: Fannie's brother Morris 
Avrum's Women, Part 10: Morris Lederman - Who's your Mama? 
Avrum's Women, Part 11: Garber Y-DNA = Lederman Y-DNA 
Avrum's Women, Part 12: Finding Family with Family Finder  
Avrum's Women, Part 13: Bond of Brothers 

In genealogy it never pays to be provincial. For some reason, particularly when considering the lives of our ancestors overseas, we tend to focus on one town and one or two surnames. But, sometimes the smallest clue may lead to great geographical expansion of the research theater. Sometimes it opens up mysteries and new avenues for research. Such has been the case with Feiga Grinfeld. 

Manifest Destiny
Feiga first came into my (family history research) life when I had located and reviewed the Ellis Island manifest of my great grandfather Avrum's two youngest children: Feiga (Fanny) and Aron (Eddie) Garber. Feiga and Eddie arrived in April 1922 from Lubin (aka Labun), then in the USSR (now in Ukraine).[1] 

The manifest documenting their arrival includes column 12 that must be considered one of the family historian's best friends: "The name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country from whence alien came." For Feiga and Aron Garber, the entry in column 12 was "cousin; Grunfeld Feiga, Warsaw." [2]

Grunfeld was not a surname on my family tree. So, I was pretty excited about the possibility of tree expansion to people and places hitherto genealogically unexplored. The plot thickened when I'd located the 22 November 1922 arrival manifest for pater familias widower Avrum Garber. [3] One of his traveling companions, listed as his wife, was 44 year-0ld Feiga Grinfeld. 

Feiga Grinfeld, Awrum's "wife"
Feiga had left behind "sister and mother Frieda Liderman Baranowka Poland." I was not quite sure, based on this information, whether it was Feiga's sister or mother who was Frida Liderman. But, the surname Liderman, like Grunfeld or Grinfeld, was not on my tree. Feiga's place of birth in column 33 was "Baranowka Russia."[4] Baranowka (aka Baranovka) was (and is) 24 miles NE of Avrum's shtetl, Labun. In 1900 the Jewish population of the village was less than 2000. I'd not previously studied any family from this shtetl.

Nearest relative or friend in country from whence alien came
Hide and Seek
My next step was to try to find Feiga with Avrum in New York City. This however, was not to be. She was not identified in the 1925 New York City directory where Abraham Garber was listed.[5] Avrum's 1928 death certificate noted that arrangements for burial were provided by Avrum's wife, Mrs. Garber - no first name.[6] The 1925 New York State Census showed that Avrum's wife was . . . Norma.[7]
1925 New York State Census record for 230-232 Madison Street, NY, NY
Norma??!!!! (Eeek! That was also my late mother's name.) What happened to Feiga??!! "Fanny" would have been a good Americanized guess for Feiga's name. This Norma was 53 (Feiga should have been about 46 or 47) and reportedly had been in the USA for 20 years (to Abraham and Feiga's 3 years). While it's possible Norma and Feiga were the same person, there were some significant  inconsistencies. 

I have found no indexed NYC marriage record for Abraham Garber and anyone named Norma or Feiga. I considered that the marriage between Feiga and Abraham might have been one of convenience or perhaps just a lie, since women traveling alone from Europe were considered "likely public charge" and their entry was often held up pending further inquiry. In this immigration case, both Avrum and Feiga were held anyway (due to advanced age) pending arrival of Avrum's son Nathan.[3]

Back to the Old Country
I had no solid information of the name that Feiga Grinfeld might have adopted in the United States, so seeking her in NYC records wasn't going to be fruitful.[8] Instead, I considered that she'd identified on her 1922 manifest that she had some relatives left in the old country. I decided to cast a wider net and see if there were any other people named Grunfeld or Grinfeld arriving in NYC from Baranovka. If I found them, perhaps I would be able to locate Feiga.

As usual, Steve Morse.org to the rescue! I used the Gold Form to search on town "sounds like" Baranovka. I limited ethnicity to Polish and Russian since people coming from that area of Ukraine tended to identify one or the other. The search received 893 hits for people from towns that sound like Baranowka. Fortunately, only two had the name Grinfeld: Raya, 14, and Leja, 16. The girls had arrived in NY on 2 December 1921 and identified their mother as Feiga Grinfeld, Baranowka, Wolynien. Both had been born in Baranowka.[9]
Nearest relative of friend in country whence alien came.
Now I had something to go on. Following Raya and Leja's path might lead me to Feiga. 
Next up (Part 3): we get out of our New York comfort zone and follow Raya and Leja Grinfeld to Kentucky....

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 19 June 2012), manifest, Lapland, Antwerp to New York, arriving 2 April 1922, list 7, Feiga and Aron Garber, citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
2. I do not know why they did not mention their father, who was still in Europe at the time. Perhaps, he had also left Labun in preparation for emigration.
3. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 18 June 2012), manifest, Aquitania, Southampton to New York, arriving 10 November 1922, list 4, Awrum Garber and Feiga Grinfeld; citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.
4. In its history, Baranowka had been in both Poland and Russia.  However, by 1922, it had been within the Russia Empire and then the USSR since the Revolution.
5. "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta), Polk's Trow's New York City Directory, 1924-25, Boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx, 927, entry for "Garber"; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 July 2012).
6. New York County, New York, Standard Certificate of Death no. 376 (3 January 1928), Abraham Garber, New York City Municipal Archives, New York.
7. 1925 New York States Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, Block 2, Enumeration District 7, Assembly District 1, sheet 22, Abraham and Norma Garber; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 June 2012), New York State Archives: Albany, New York.
8. I considered "Fanny Greenfield" a good possibility, but that was a fairly common name at the time and I did not know enough about Feiga to differentiate among all those Fanny Greenfields. In fact, a search on Fanny Greenfield and Fannie Greenfield in the 1925 NYS Census on Ancestry produces seven and 15 hits, respectively.  None of them were the right age for our Feiga Grinfeld. 
9. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.amcestry.com: accessed 30 June 2012), manifest, George Washington, Bremen to New York, arriving 5 December 1921, list 8, Raya and Leja Grinfeld, citing National Archives Microfilm Serial T715.

The URL for this post: http://extrayad.blogspot.com/2012/07/avrums-women-part-2-feiga-grinfeld.html 

See also:
Avrum's Women, Part 1: Chana

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