HOW I FOUND MY LEVENSOHN IMMIGRATION RECORDS, Part 1 (HINT: THEY WEREN’T LEVENSOHN)

The Long Story Short

Several years ago I wrote about my total lack of success in finding any immigration records for my Levensohn family (Why Can’t I Find My Levensohn Immigration Records?). I summarized my long, complicated, thorough search and hypothesized various reasons for my failure. All of my hypotheses were wrong.

The real reason I couldn’t find them is that they did not travel using the name “LEVENSOHN,” not any spelling variation, nor any other family name I tried. Instead, they arrived under some variation of the name “KEGEL.” I began to find this out – and started telling the story – in another, more recent post (Levensohn Hecht Kigel Kegal).

The Immigration Records I’ve Found So Far

Max was first, arriving in 1893, as Marcus KIGEL

In the post I’ve just cited, I summarized Max’s arrival on the  and his eventual naturalization as Max Levensohn. He arrived at Ellis Island, with New York listed as his ultimate destination.  Where and when he lived in New York is something I have not been able to find (yet?).

In the Cincinnati City Directory, published June 1895, Max Levensohn, cigar maker, was listed as boarding at “504 9th Street, near Freeman Ave.” That is the first record I have found for him after his arrival in New York.

Why he came to Cincinnati is still a mystery to me. (A mystery to solve!)

Three Levensohn Siblings Lived in Cincinnati in 1900: Max, Morris, and Clara

The Census lists the three siblings in Cincinnati at 1916 Western Avenue in January, 1900. My working assumption is that these three were the only ones who arrived in the 1890s.

Max, Morris, and Clara Levensohn, Cincinnati, 1900

Here is a detailed excerpt:

Detail of the 1900 Census Entry

As often happened, the census taker wrote the name wrong, Anglicized to  “Livingston.” (And the indexer for this census entry read it as “Sivingston.”  They were living at 1716 Western Avenue in Cincinnati. The letter that looks like a cursive “m” is a “W,” indicating white. The dates are dates of birth. Max and Morris are shown as Single. Clara is shown with both an “S” and an “M” written in the marital status column, and I cannot tell which was meant to be the actual status.

All of these details fit with what I know, including the confusion about Clara’s marital status (and that’s another story).

And here are more details, including the dates of arrival:

After the dates are the number of years in the U.S. “Al” stands for “alien.” Women did not get designations like that. The 0 refers to number of years unemployed in the past year. The three columns of Yes and No are whether the person reads English, writes English, and speaks English.

Given the details here, plus the KIGEL name listed on Max’s arrival record, I was – after more than a decade of searching – able to find the arrival records for Morris and Clara.

Morris arrived as Mosche KEIGEL in 1895 and Clara arrived as Chaja KIGEL in 1897

The arrival years for all three of the siblings were one year later than the years listed on the census.

Morris arrived at the Port of Baltimore in May, 1895 on the SS Oldenburg, sailing from Bremen, Germany. Here is the record, excerpted from the arrival manifest:

KEIGEL (?) Mosche (Morris Levensohn) arrival record

It looks like he was 16 years old, implying a birth year in about 1879. His list residence is listed as “Ruzin,” consistent with what I have suspected. He is going to his brother, in Cincinnati, with $5.

Clara arrived two years later, in June, 1897 also landing in Baltimore. She sailed on the SS Willefidd from Bremen

Clara Kigel (Levensohn) arrival in 1897

Her name was right under another person who was going to Cincinnati, so I included both on the excerpt. It sits her as Chaja Kigel, a 21 year old female, no occupation, able to read and write, from Ruzin in Russia, going to her brother in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

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