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ViewMate Posting VM 25535

Submitted by Michele Zell Kanter

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Information Picture Question
Category: Interpretation
Approval Date: 1/9/2013 3:04 PM
Family Surname:
Country: Canada
Date of Image: 1921
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I am interested in what is written on line 17 after "sister Z". This is a Canadian Declaration for my great aunt who was immigrating to Grahamdale, Manitoba. My grandmother, Zisel Karlik (or the last name may have been Shmookler), was the closest relative still living in the town that my great aunt was leaving (Kitay Gorod, Ukraine, but it was entered as Hotin). The "Z" is for Zisel, but what is the next word? I can read all the other writing on this form.

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On  Response 
1/10/2013 7:01 AM Bers?
1/10/2013 7:59 AM How certain about "Zisel" are you? I do not believe that the letter "Z" was crossed until more recently. Actually, the first letter of the family name looks like an old capital cursive "Z" to me. BUt assuming the first initial is indeed a "Z", then the last names looks like Bers to me, too.
1/10/2013 10:48 PM Hi! In line 17 I read "Sister Z. Bers" from "Chotin, Romania", which probably is Khotyn (see here: To avoid any misleading interpretations: "Kitay Gorod" is Russian and means "China Town", so probably it was the place where the auntie found her first place to stay, and not the place she had left. The signature is Russian again and signed by the husband: "Machim Zapozhnin'", it differs a little from the latinized "Sapojnie/Sapojnic" (?). In Russian "za pozhno" means "too late". Hope it helps you a little. Kind regards from Mainz/Germany, Alex. (Franz)
1/11/2013 7:35 AM Looks like "Sister Z. Bers" to me, too. I think the crossed Z was widely used in Eastern Europe before 1920.
1/11/2013 1:43 PM I agree...try "Bers" first. If you can't find anyone from that town named Bers, try the last name "Zers" next. Good luck!
1/13/2013 6:49 PM Hello Michelle,

Regarding the name which appears to be spelled Sapojnic, it could also be Sapoznic with variant spellings. (I did know someone by the name of Saposnick when I was much younger, so I thought that I would share that information with you as a possibility.

The name of the husband is more than likely Nuchim, which is probably a variation of the name of Nachum.

The name of the sister appears to be Z. Bers. You might want to keep in mind that the spelling could be pronounced as Bersh/Bersch in other countries, so when searching in various records, you might try those spellings also.

Good luck with your search....Jo
1/16/2013 8:39 PM Hi, Michele,
The surname is Sapozhnik, which means "shoemaker" in Russian. Rokhel's signature is in that language as well. The mystery letter is actually Russian Cyrillic, and is the cursive form of the letter that carries the Z sound. This is odd, since the previous letter is also a Z, but in the Latin alphabet, crossed, Polish style, to distinguish it from the number 2.
So I read the sister's name as Z. Zers.
Best regards,
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