Levensohn Kigel Immigration: Sara and Frume (Fannie?) – Pt. 3 in Levensohn Immigration Series

Kigel Sisters Arrive in 1903

Two young women, Sara and Frume KIGEL, arrived July 23, 1903 in Baltimore on the SS Frankfurt, sailing from Bremen. These two young women clearly are my great-aunts, as they were going to my great-uncle,  their brother, Max Levensohn, in Cincinnati. Here is the excerpt from their arrival record indicating where they were going:

LEVENSOHN KIGEL Sara and Frume detail arr 1903

Who were Sara and Frume?

The ages of these two women, 19 and 18, imply that Sara was born in 1884 and Frume was born in 1885. So, which of my great-aunts were these?


Six-and-a-half years later, when “Sarah Levenson” was listed on the 1910 U.S. Census, her age was shown as 19. So she had aged by zero years? That census also said that she arrived in 1905, not 1903. Does this mean this is not Sarah Levenson (Levensohn), the one who married Sam Meyers?

To add to the confusion, here is a summary of information from all the subsequent censuses:

July 1903: Sara Kigel arrives at age 19—->born 1884
Apr. 1910: Sarah Levenson age 19———>born 1891, arrived 1905
Jan. 1920: Sarah Meyers age 35———–>born 1884, arrived 1906
Apr. 1930: Sarah Meyers age 44———–>born 1885 or 1886, arrived 1906
Apr. 1930: Sarah Meyers age 56———–>born 1884 or 1885, no arrival date listed

So is this or is this not Sarah? It really must be – who else could it be? But there must be some doubt. First of all, people immigrating did lie about their age, but it would be more likely a single woman would say she was older than she was (in Sarah’s case, implying a birth date before 1884), so that she would be viewed as an adult.

Census data are a different story. The person answering the census taker might be someone else in the household who did not have accurate information. In the 1910 Census, Sarah was a lodger in the flat of Mollie Freedman, in San Francisco. The landlady might not have known Sarah’s actual age. Even a neighbor can be an informant on a census.

What about the consistent date discrepancy between the arrival of Sara Kigel in 1903 and Sarah’s listings in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses? This, to me, throws the most doubt on saying that the two Sara(h)s are the same person. I’ve often encountered discrepancies between dates of arrival on a census and the date of actual immigration. People just forget exactly what year it was.

Frume – Fannie? Or not?

I believe that the person listed as Frume Kigel was there person who later was known as Fannie Levenso(h)n, and then married Nathan Bogner. I have been told by a relative that Fannie’s Hebrew (Yiddish) name was Feige, which is different. Names are funny things, especially when people changed them as freely as Jews did when moving from Eastern Europe to the U.S. around the turn of the twentieth century.

The JewishGen.org website has an authoritative database of given names and how they changed. Here is Frume:

However, there is  another reasons to doubt that this is Fannie. The 1910 Census says the she arrived in 1898. However, it gives that same date for her husband, Nathan Bogner. Perhaps someone assumed that both arrived the same year. Furthermore, Fannie does not seem to appear in the 1900 Census.

Then, in the 1920 Census, it is unclear which date is given for her arrival. Here are Nathan’s and Fannie’s dates of arrival excerpted from the 1920 Census:

So it appears to be a date in the early 1900s, but I cannot read it.

The implied birth dates also do not work for Fannie. Frume Kigel was born, according to her arrival record, in 1885, give or take a year. However, in July 1908, when she married Nathan, Fannie was listed as 20 years old, implying an 1888 birth. Then, in the 1910 Census Fannie Bogner was 21, having barely aged since her marriage, and implying 1889 birth. In the 1930 Census she was 31, consistent with 1899 birth year.

But who else might Frume be? I’m pondering.

A New Hometown:  Dzinnkow, now Dzyun’kov, Ukraine

The earlier Levensohn/Kigel siblings arriving in the U.S. (see also) listed a last residence or birthplace as Ruhzin, the name of a place within the Kiev area that I had previously thought to be connected with the family. But here is the last residence of Sara and Frume on the passenger list:

Last residence of Sara and Frume Kigel

According to JewishGen.org, Dzinnkow is now known as Dzyun’kov Ukraine, 83 miles south of Kiev. Ruhzin is 21 miles away from Dzyun’kov. Both are now within the Kiev region.


2 thoughts on “Levensohn Kigel Immigration: Sara and Frume (Fannie?) – Pt. 3 in Levensohn Immigration Series

  1. Amy says:

    I always find age differences between various documents. My great-grandfather has two different ages at his grave—one on the headstone, one on a foot stone. So I take those with a grain of salt. To me there are clearly the right two women.

  2. vivgenealogy says:

    Thanks, Amy. Yes, I find remarkable age differences on various documents, but I think your headstone/footstone example takes the cake.

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