Monday, September 18, 2006

Ellis Island - Coming to America

Like most immigrants to the United States in the late part of the 19th and early 20th century, the Dershewitz family arrived at and was processed through [EllisIsland].  Finding the family's Ellis Island record was the breakthrough I needed to go further back into the family history.  It doesn't really tell of why they left Poland, the hardships they faced on the trip over and what it was like actually passing through Ellis Island and into their new life in this country.  We'll have to wait for family memories to fill in the blanks.

The immigration records were ledger size so the scanned images are on two pages.  Thankfully, the immigration official typed most of the entries so they are very legible.  I have looked through many pages and handwritten entries while quaint can be very difficult to decipher.  Anyhow, here are the clues that I could glean from these records:

  • The Dershewitz family members are listed on lines 6-14 on the immigration manifest for the ship Saxonia that arrived on April 10, 1921.  The surname was spelled Dereszewitz.
    • Solomon (Father age 37)
    • Gita        Gertrude (Wife age 34)
    • Gita        Gert       (daughter age 10)
    • Ester      Estelle    (daughter age 8)
    • Jacob     Jack       (son age 6)
    • Abram    Adolf       (son age 4)
    • Juda       Louis      (son age 3)
    • Beila      Bella       (daughter age 2)
    • Hema     Helen      (daughter age 6 months)
  • Last permanent residence was listed as Sharyszoats while place of birth was listed as Staryshoutz.  This is probably the modern day Stary Sacz, Poland.
  • Name of nearest relative in Poland is listed as J. Deresziwitz of Sharyzoats parent of Solomon and Gita and grandparents to the children.
  • Family sponsor was Louis Singer, 286 Fort Washington Ave, N.Y.  He was the brother of Gertrude Singer, Solomon's wife.
  • Both Solomon and Gertrude were listed as being 5 feet 5 inches tall.
  • There was also a Fradli Bodner, age 24, travelling with the family.  She was a cousin of Louis Singer, a bookeeper, spoke Polish and German and listed her last place of residence as Nawyshoutz,  probably the modern day Nowy Sacz, Poland.  She also listed her nearest relative as sister Sonia?? Bodner.
  • Gertrude Singer's parents, Isaac and Rose also came to America on the same ship but were listed separately from the Dershewitz family.  More on them later.

Well that's what I could glean out of the Ellis Island records.  Now to follow other leads.....

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