About four years ago my uncle Herb was visiting from Philadelphia. He was interested in our passion for family genealogy and asked us to find documents on his mother's side. After 20 or 30 minutes discussing census records, immigration, etc., my husband asked him about his father's side. His response was brief: "My father was Benjamin, he came from Russia when he was 3 years old, and his parents were Anne and Abraham, a tailor.” When my husband inputted the last name 'Diamond' into the computer to search for ship manifests, my uncle Herb stopped him and said, “That's not his original name—and no one ever told me the original name!”
Rosenbaum Bank Record, Order 887, Vol. 1 - 1895-98; click here to see full record
This was the catalyst for a four year odyssey to find my uncle's family name. After years of fruitless research and frustration, one day my husband stumbled upon the Rosenbaum Bank Passage Order database on JewishGen and ultimately success!
Rosenbaum's records showed several deposits in this “Immigrant Bank” for Chaje and Bini Raschinsky by Abraham Diamond. The Archivist at the Special Collections Research Center of the Philadelphia Jewish Archives of Temple University Libraries was extraordinarily helpful regarding these records.
With the newly discovered surname and other information we obtained from the bank records, we searched the immigration databases on Ancestry.com and were able to find uncle Herb’s father, Benjamin (Pinie) Raschinsky, on an 1895 ship manifest to New York with his mother Chaje that indicated their destination as Philadelphia. We also found an 1898 shipping manifest for Herb’s grandfather, Chajem Raschinsky, that indicated he was met at the Philadelphia wharf by his “son Abr. Diamond”. This was the final proof we needed for the Raschinsky-Diamond connection! And as an added bonus, we also learned from this manifest that my uncle's family came from Merkine (Merecz/Meretch), Lithuania.
Last year we surprised uncle Herb (and his children and grandchildren) at his 90th birthday party with a name which all had believed would never be found! Thanks to JewishGen, he has a piece of his past and his Raschinsky name restored.
Chicago, Illinois, USA
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