Tag Archives: Baltimore

Ancestral Home of Kaminsky, Kamin Family Traced to Bobrynets’

Leah and Nathan Kaminsky

Our great-great-grandparents, Nathan and Leah KAMINSKY, immigrated to the US from Odessa. This I had gathered.  What is new is their birthplace.  On their passenger manifest – the earliest document I have with that information – the birthplace for both of them was listed as “Bobrininnec, Gub. Cherson.”   Here is where I found that when I consulted JewishGen.org:

JewishGen Communities Database

Searching for Town BOBRINIAK
in modern country Ukraine
(D-M code 779650)
Run on Sunday 10 February 2013 at 09:21:18

Modern Town & Country Other Names c. 1950
After WWII
Town / Country
c. 1930
Between Wars
Town / District /
Province / Country
c. 1900
Before WWI
Town / District /
Province / Country
# of JGFF
 Bobrynets, Ukraine
48°03′ N 32°10′ E
181 mi SSE of Kyyiv
Bobrynets’ [Ukr], Bobrinets [Rus], Bobrinitz [Yid], Bobryniec [Pol], Bobrinez [Ger] BobrinetsSoviet Union Bobrinets
Ukraine SSR
Soviet Union
Russian Empire
Number of matches = 1

Further searching on JewishGen told me that the Jewish population in 1900 was 3,481.  Nathan and Leah arrived in the US in 1908; depending on the source, they were born either in the early 1840s or the mid 1850s (conflicting data you’ll be pleased to know I won’t go into here).

New information about my families is hard to find, especially going back to the Old Country. I experienced what is, in my genealogist mind, a major breakthrough on the weekend. Here’s how it happened.

Searching for “Kaminsky” in Port of Baltimore arrivals (and I’ve done this search many times before), I hit on an extraordinary (again, to my genealogist mind) document, such as I’ve never seen before.  It was indexed under “Abraham Kaminsky” and also under “Jake Kaminsky.”  It was an “Affidavit of Support” and it was actually contained among the pages of a 1908 manifest.

KAMINSKY Ab & Jake for parents

[I hope that you can double-click on the above image to see an enlarged version; supposedly, the above image is 100%, and I am not skilled enough in WordPress to make it larger.]

It appears that Abraham and Jake were savvy enough to ward off the possibility that their aging parents might be detained or sent back as LPC –  “likely to become a public charge.”

Besides giving valuable family history information about Abraham and Jake, this document also gives the street address where “Neheminah” and “Lena” (I’ve lost track of how many different versions I’ve found of their names) were living in Odessa at the time this document was sworn, in September 1907.  They were living at “No. 43 Bulgarski St.”  Brady, my son, fluent in Russian, has found that street on an old map and on Google Earth.  I’ll try to post images later.

So I had the Affidavit, but not the actual manifest of arrival.  Finally found it.  It covered two pages and was quite legible, compared with many other manifests I’ve perused:

KAMINSKY Nathan and Leah 1908 arr p 1

KAMINSKY Nathan and Leah 1908 arr p 2

The Kaminskys are on the top two lines.  Here is an approximate transcription:

It is the SS Main, sailing from Bremen on June 4, 1908 and arriving in Baltimore on June 17.

“Nechemie Kaminski” age 52, married, male, painter, reads and writes.  “Leje Kaminski” age 48, female, marred no occupation, reads and writes.
Both are from Russia; Hebrew “race.”  Last permanent residence:  Russia Odessa.
Name and couple address of nearest relative. . . “son Mojsche Kamenska Odessa Catamychyskaya 24 Gub Cherson Russia.”
Have a ticket to their final destination, paid by son; they have $30; have never been in the US; [“affidavit attached”] going to: son Abram Kaminski 9 15 St Cincinnati, OH.
Both in good health, though Nathan has “defect recorded of kyphosis.” [This is what has been called a “dowager’s hump.”] He is 5’4,” complexion fair, hair dark, eyes brown; no identifying marks.
Leah is 5’4,” fair complexion, black hair, gray eyes, no identifying marks. 
The place of birth for both of them is written to cover both lines, so I can only assume that it was meant to apply to both of them.  Birth:  Russia Bobrinnec Gub Cherson [which would be the Kherson Gubernia, in which Bobrynets and Odessa were located].
The place of birth is the item that made me do my happy dance, jump up and down and squeal.  But there are several other new things here:  Nathan being a painter.  Later documents show him as a tailor.  Both? Truth?  The birth dates are new, and don’t really make sense to me, unless they were young teens when they married and had their first child, my great-grandmother Jenny Kaminsky Grinker.  The kyphosis and other physical descriptions are new.  And, a close second in the happy dance line-up, the son still in Odessa, Mojsche.  My family tree shows some unknown children, and now I can put a name to one of those.
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Some of my Grinker Mysteries: Who was Chune Grinker? Who was Itzig Cohn in Baltimore? Whence and Wherefore Cincinnati?

GRINKER, John family outbound HamburgGRINKER family Hamburg to Baltimore 1893

My paternal grandma arrived in the US at the Port of Baltimore in 1893 on the SS Polynesia, sailing from Hamburg on the Hamburg Line.  The upper manifest is the outbound one, in German; the lower is the inbound one, for the US Immigration service of the time.  On the manifests her name seems to be “Paula Grinker,” very puzzling.  In the US she was known as “Bessie.”  Clearly, “Paula” is not a Yiddish or a Hebrew or even a Russian name, either.  I think it must be the way that the German purser heard it.

The outbound manifest says the family was from Maurico, Argentina, but I have been unable to locate a record of the family’s travel from Argentina to Hamburg; nor have I been able to find an earlier record – probably about a year or so earlier – of the family’s travel to Argentina, presumably originating in Odessa.

On these manifests there are five people:  Chune (known in the US as “John”), age 36, a farmer; his wife, Eugenia (“Jennie” in the US); “Paula,” age 8; Feige (“Fannie” in the US), age 5, and Josef (“Joe”), the new baby.  The ages of Paula/Bessie and Fannie/Feige contradict everything else I have found and I believe to be true.  Bessie, by all other accounts, was born in August, 1888 and Fannie was born in 1890.

Aside from the missing records of travel to and from Argentina (they tried farming in one of the earliest Jewish agricultural colonies established by Baron Maurice von Hirsch [hence “Maurico, Argentina”]); aside from the apparently wrong ages of the girls; and aside from the strange appellation “Paula,” there are three bigger mysteries here that I have been unable to solve:

WHO WAS JOHN GRINKER, my great-grandfather?

WHO WAS ITZIG COHN, the “cousin” they were joining in Baltimore?

WHEN AND WHY DID THE FAMILY MOVE TO CINCINNATI, where they were living by 1897?

The first, who was John Grinker, is a multi-part question, because I don’t know where he was really from (Odessa? Germany); do not know the names of his parents or any of his siblings or ancestors; do not know when or where he died; do not know why he left (abandoned?) his family in about 1907, about the time of the birth of his eighth child; and do not know where he went after leaving the family.  There are some tantalizing hints, which I’ll discuss in later posts.

I was in contact with the Jewish Genealogical Society in Buenos Aires many years ago; I was told that the records of immigrants from about the time John and his family were there just don’t exist now, so it seems that is a dead end.  My attempts to discover who Itzig Cohn was, at 130 North Front Street in Baltimore, have been multiple and fruitless.  Was he John’s cousin? Jennie’s cousin?  An uncle or a friend of one of the families?

And I have been unable to locate any record showing that they lived in Baltimore between the time of their arrival, in November, 1893 and the time that I first find a record of them in Cincinnati – in the 1897 Cincinnati City Directory.  Where were they during those years?  Why did they move to Cincinnati?

In tracing my family history, I would like to be able to work backwards – in the case of the Grinkers, find out more about John’s origins; and be able to work horizontally – in the case of John Grinker, find out who his other relatives were, what cousins I might have alive in the world now.  Finding out who was Itzig Cohn might help in this regard, if it turns out that he was a blood relative of John’s.

The question of Cincinnati is more than mere curiosity, because family history is not just names and dates, but is also the stories of people.  Also, answering why they moved could help trace backwards, if it turns out that John took his family to Cincinnati because he had a family member already there.

Here, I’ve only scratched the surface of my Grinker mysteries.

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