22 August 2010

Belarus: Guess what I found in Gomel?

As Tracing the Tribe often mentions, dedicated researchers around the world cooperate to transliterate, translate and make available little-known records.

While I often receive information and write about new projects, I rarely discover anything for our elusive TALALAY family.

Last week was very different, and thanks go to Paul Zoglin for another piece of family history.

Let's backtrack a bit and I'll provide you with a snapshot of our Mogilev-centered family.

Rabbi Leib ben harav Mikhl TALALAI had numerous children: Bashe, another daughter (name unknown), Movsha, Ber (my direct ancestor), Mikhel, Anshel, Pinkhas Leizer, Chaim Velvel. There may another one or two according to some single records.

This story concerns Anshel ben harav Leib. Anshel's birth was noted in the Mogilev Crown Rabbinate records, written in Rabbi Leib's beautiful Hebrew handwriting. Some birth records say 1834, others 1837; he died 22 August 1884 in Moscow. He was married twice, but we only know his second wife, Perla bat Elkanon Minken Muenster.

Anshel's children were Benzion Mikhl from the first marriage, and Avram, Chaya Sora, Minai, Sonia (MENUHIN), Rosa (BERLIN), Yosef Yoel (Joseph), and three children who died very young (Leib, Leah and a second Leib).

Anshel and his children nearly all were born, lived and died in Moscow, except for Yosef (Joseph) who lived in Moscow, then in Berlin until 1933 and then to England and the US.

We knew Yosef Yoel (Joseph) was married to Sophie Brusterman of Gomel. They were the parents of Naum (who settled in Toronto), Anselm (Cleveland), Leo (New Haven) and Paul (Baltimore). Naum's son Victor was my excellent co-investigator into our family history before his recent death.

We know the birth and death dates for most of Anshel's children and grandchildren and whom they married, but who Avram's wife was a mystery. We knew his children, all born and died in Moscow, were Mina (CHERNIAK), Anselm and Boris.

Now thanks to Paul Zoglin and his team's work in Gomel vital records we know more about Avram.

Paul sent me the surname list for brides and grooms.

Since I knew we had a Gomel connection (Joseph and Sophie), I ran down the names quickly and saw several names of interest, particularly those families who I knew married into our Mogilev TALALAY family, including AZBEL (several marriages), BAEVSKY (a marriage gift of a book to my great-grandparents was signed by the family), BALTER, BERLIN, BRUK, CHERNYAK, DONIN, DYSKIN, ENTIN, GINZBURG, IOFA/E, IOFFA/E, KATSNELSON, KHANIN, KROLL, KRUGLYANSKY, MIKHLIN, PERLIN, PINSKY, RAKHLIN/ROKHLIN, RASKIN, RATNER, RAYKHENSHTEIN, SHUB, SHULMAN, IASIN/YASIN/YASINOV and others.

There is a separate list of bride's surnames as well, and I saw names of interest here as well: ALTSHULER, AZBEL, BOLOTIN, OMDIN/EMDIN, RAKHLIN/ROKHLIN, RASKIN, RATNER and others.

Gomel was one point of a triangle; the others being Mogilev and Bobruisk. People from Mogilev, the largest of the three cities, often married people from Gomel and Bobruisk, opened businesses or branches in those other cities, and thus it seems rather common for people to have relatives in the other two cities. As families got together to celebrate weddings and holidays, it stands to reason that the young people attending weddings met each other, leading to additional marriages.

If you are searching Mogilev, Gomel and/or Bobruisk and surrounding shtetls, make sure to look at records for the other two and you might find interesting connections.

In both the groom and bride lists, many shtetls are listed near the three larger locations.

The kicker, of course, was seeing Avram (Joseph's brother) TALALAY as a groom on line 2137.

I wrote to Paul and asked about this particular record. He provided the following information:
Abram, son of Anshel, TALALAY, 35
married Dveyra, daughter of Abram, KAPLAN, 21
on 10 January 1902 in Gomel
Are you searching Gomel (or Bobruisk or Mogilev)? You might want to contact Paul Zoglin for more information.

Now's a good time to remind researchers that contributions to continue special projects are always welcome, so ask Paul about that as well.

But you must promise to let Tracing the Tribe know if you find records of interest!

Thank you, Paul!


  1. doseas9:38 AM

    Any advice on getting started in researching Bobruisk families?

  2. I noticed you mentioned the name Pinsky as one of the names of people who married into your family.
    I've been trying to track my Grandmother's family down. My Grandmother was born Riva (Rivka) Pinsky. She emigrated from Molev (Mogilev?)to the U.S. in 1906. She was born around 1888 and left her family behind. I believe she was one of the older children of a family that seems to be fairly large. One of her brothers may have been a doctor.
    She corresponded with the family until WWII when she lost all track of them. She died in the 1950s without knowing what happened to the family.
    I have not been able to find much and thought you might have some information about a family by the name of Pinsky.

  3. To begin Bobruisk research: Check out Belarus SIG on JewishGen.org for all Belarus research. There are many databases containing Bobruisk names.

  4. Hi, Jeri.

    a PINSKAYA (female form of PINSKY) married our DAVID TALALAI from Vorotinschtina (about 12 miles SW from Mogilev - yes, Molev or Molye is Mogilev!). The family went to Moscow very early, around 1902. David was in the leather business according to descendants in Moscow and elsewhere. It is quite possible that Riva was related to David's wife. You might want to check the Belarus SIG databases on JewishGen, check both PINSKY and PINSKAYA to see all possible names.

    best wishes and shana tova!