As I mentioned in my last entry, very little was known about my Krueger side of the family. We knew they were from Belarus and were possibly from Minsk, but beyond that there was little information. In May of 2010 I discovered JewishGen.org had a page where you could upload images and they could be translated for you. I posted a picture of my great grandfather Myer’s headstone in the hopes that the Hebrew on the stone might reveal a new clue as to where he was from.
This is what I learned instead:
Here lies Mayer son of Eliyahu Kriger,
died 24 Cheshvan 5695 (Nov 2, 1934)
May he rest in peace
With this information I was anxious to try and find Myer’s father. Ancestry has a handy tool for those looking to find Jewish Given Names and their translation (which of course, was provided by JewishGen). I tried out a couple different ways to track down the US version of his first name and got this:
|Similar Names in United States:|
|Alex, Eli, Elias|
|Name translates in Belarusto:|
|Elqana, Elya, Eyliyahu|
|Other Name Variants:|
|Yiddish Names:||Alkon, Alkune, El, Ele, Elias, Eliash, Eliashe, Elie, Elij, Elinke, Eliyohu, Elke, Elko, Elkon, Elkona, Elkone, Elkono, Elkuna, Elkuno, Eltshik, Elyash, Elye, Elyu, Iliyash, Ilyash, Ilye, Koni, Konik, Konyuk, Kuni, Kunik, Kunye, Olev|
|European Secular Names:||Elia, Eliagu, Elja|
|Local Secular Names:||Ellya, Elya, Ilia, Ilya|
Elqana – Samuel 1 1:1
JewishGen.org. Jewish Given Name Variations [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: This data is provided in partnership with JewishGen.org.
So based on this information I considered Myer’s father’s name as Eliyahu Kriger and was probably known as Alex in the US family. In Belarus I would think he’s have been called Elya or something along those lines.
Then last year I got a copy of my grandparents’ marriage application. It revealed that Myer’s father was named Alex and was still living in 1910. He was living in Orad which I’m still not sure of the exact location of the town. I’ll pursue that at another time. The form also revealed that Myer’s mother was in Michigan City, Indiana at the time and her name was Zebra Soloman. I’m not sure that the first name is right since all I’d found at this point was that her first name was Sophia and that she was often called “Sipie”. But regardless, it was interesting information and was worth digging deeper to see if she could be found in the 1910 census. I had been told by several relatives that she had eventually gone to Palestine to live her remaining years. So there are a lot of loose ends to try and track down and confirm. It has been challenging to say the least, but as so much has revealed itself I have confidence that with time I will find out more about Sophia Soloman Krueger.
Last week I got a very exciting piece of mail from my cousin Marcia. She had made a copy of a postcard that had been in the family that was supposedly from Myer’s mother. It had been kept by Marcia’s mother and handed down to her. After several gentle reminders Marcia sent me a copy of the card and the writing on the opposite side. What I had not known was that the postcard was a photograph of Sophia!
The handwritten portion is written in Yiddish and since I cannot read it I took advantage of the kindness of strangers and posted the scan to the JewishGen.org website. The response was quick and I was thrilled at what the person translated for me.
Ite: This is written in Yiddish. Part of the first sentence is cut off. I’ll translate what I can read: “…I am sending this for his beautiful daughter to wear on her little neck because it is a big cure for little children; and for Are’s son I am sending…which comes from the Wailing Wall. These strings are very good for small children so I ask you to put this on Are’s newly born son Alinke’s little neck. This is very good for small children and the … is for the daughter. She must wear this on her belly for 40 days, and the little bit of earth comes from Mother Rachel’s (tomb in the Holy Land probably?). She must drink this and it will be a good remedy for the aunt, and if Sheine Feige wants a little bit you must give her and I will send you more. I am sending you a picture and I ask you to send me your, your wife’s, and your beautiful daughter’s picture. This will be my satisfaction and pleasure …(sentence cut off)”
The remarks between brackets are mine.
Though I had hoped for more facts within the writing it does provide some insight into her thinking at that time. This letter was written sometime around the time of Myer’s first child’s birth in 1911. I believe that “Sheine Feige” probably refers to his daughter, beautiful Fern. Some of the other names mentioned could be siblings or cousins of Myer’s. “Are” can be translated to be Aaron or Louis. I’m not sure who this is referring to, but in the context of this letter I’m inclined to think that Myer had a brother possibly named Aaron or Louis. This is surprising since my grandmother had learned as a child that her dad only had sisters. Puzzling, eh? And the name “Alinke” doesn’t seem to translate well online. I did find the name on a website “The Lidsky-Weinstein Family” and it mentions the son, Alexander, and later calls him Alinke. So that makes sense since we believe that Myer’s father was named Alex. (By the way, if you get the chance to visit the website mentioned above you will find a fascinating story about Ella’s family and her life. The photographs are wonderful and the document translations of personal letters is a beautiful touch.)
With these new names to consider I can not help but wonder if Aaron (or Louis) Krueger and his son Alexander were near Michigan City, Indiana. Another exciting avenue to explore! As you can see, once you start digging in to your family history… it could be an ongoing project for the rest of your life! In the meantime I am planning on taking an Advanced Jewish Genealogy course offered online at JewishGen and I am thinking I will focus on the Krueger family. After all, it’s been an exciting prospect in the past two weeks and perhaps more will come to light!