Assumptions lead to incorrect conclusions ...

 … as proven by the fact that assumptions were made that turned out to be close, but not exactly correct once additional documents were available.  For example,

  • If boy  x and boy  y travel to the U.S. from Europe with adult  z, a logical assumption is that children x and y are the sons of adult z (especially when one is listed as “son”).  This has proven not to be true.  Children x and y turned out to be the nephews of adult z. 

o        This is what happened with Morris and William I., who traveled with Adolf Drettler to the U.S. in June 1911.  Morris and William I. are the nephews of Adolf and the children of Abraham Drettler as proven by naturalization records.

  • Just because a ship’s register lists a set of children traveling together without a parent as “sisters and brothers” does not mean they are all siblings.  In this family, cousins traveled together.  It took awhile (about 2 years) to find additional records that indicated they were not siblings, and then to sort out which children belonged to which parents.

o        September 2010 update: This is what happened with Mina, Adele, Sarah, Edward/David, who traveled without a parent to the U.S. in Aug 1911.  They were listed as sisters and brother going to their father, Adolf.  Sarah, Adele, and Edward are the children of Adolf; Mina is the child of Abraham.  The parentage was corrected by Abraham’s naturalization record.

o        December 2010 update: Edward's SSN application provided further clarification.  He is the child of Mina, not of Adolf.  



So, database corrections have been made in the relationships of this extended family.  My apologies to anyone who received incorrect family information in the past.



Country border changes

Control of land in Europe has changed repeatedly during the timeframe covered by this research from the 1800s through today.  An area that belonged to Austria in 1910 may have been in Poland in 1930, etc.  When people in this database reported their birthplaces through the years (in immigration records, the census, naturalization records, etc.), they did so based on the country name at the time of the report.  For genealogy purposes, the country is always listed as what the country was at the time the original event occurred.  If a person was born in Tarnopol when Tarnopol was part of Austria, the person’s birth country will be listed as Austria.  If the person, died in Tarnopol when it was under Polish rule, the place of death will be listed as Poland.  That is why there may appear to be discrepancies in the location data.





There have been many interesting aspects to this research.  One of the most fun and rewarding projects was figuring out the maiden name of Adele White and then figuring out her family’s original non-Anglicized surname, so that they could be located in earlier census records and in immigration records.


How it started:  I did not know the surname of Irving/Isidore’s wife, Adele.  Adele’s obituary stated that her surname at death was Fine and that she had a sister named Rita.  For months I searched the 1930 census for an “Adele and Rita” living together in Brooklyn.  There were a few candidates, but nothing was clearly right.  Finally, I resorted to some people-search engines, and eventually found an Adele Betty Fine in Ventura, California and an Adele White in Ventura, California, and they were exactly the same age.  I knew children of Adele had lived in Ventura, so thought this Adele was probably the correct person and that White was a possible maiden name.  Returning to the 1930 census, further research using the newly found surname proved that White was her maiden name. 


But the search did not end there:  The 1930 census showed that Adele’s father, Jacob/Jack, was born in Russia and so I knew “White” was not the original surname and that White was most likely an Anglicized version of the Russian word* for white.  The 1930 census indicated that he immigrated to the U.S. in 1906.  Jacob could not be found in the 1920 or 1910 census, so I inferred that he was probably using his original surname. 


Next step was to translate “white” into Russian.  Using the Babel Fish Web site for the translation, to my surprise the word came up in Cyrillic alphabet!  We all know the Russian language uses Cyrillic alphabet, but somehow I was expecting Latin letters.  Here is what displayed:     

Next, using a Web site with Cyrillic letters and their Latin letter equivalent, a letter-to-letter comparison was done.  Here are the findings:


Additional research showed that in addition to belo, the words bialo, bjalo, and byelo also mean white in Russian.  From here, logic said that the surname should be Belo___ or Bialo___, etc.  A search of the 1910 census for <Belo* +Jacob +Brooklyn> turned up Jacob Belostozky with his mother and sisters.


Ellis Island records provided the original surname: Bjalostozky.  Jacob is found in the 1906 ship’s register of the S.S. Caronia as Jacob Bjalostozky with his mother Rose, and sisters Riwke, Dobe, Tawbe.


* It was common practice for immigrants, who changed their surnames, to use 1) the English word for their original name, 2) an Anglicized spelling of the original name, or 3) an abbreviated version of their original name, e.g., 1) Black for Schwartz or Bluestone for Blaustein, 2) Belostosky for Bjalostozky or Witty for Witte, 3) Brand for Brandauer or Bello/Bellow for Belostozky.