JewishGen Home Page

An affiliate of


ViewMate Posting VM 72357

Submitted by Karen Milstone Amato

Information Picture Question
Category: Interpretation
Approval Date: 3/10/2019 7:00 PM
Family Surname: Isaacson
Country: Russia
Town: Smolensk, Mogilev, Bremen
Date of Image: 1923
Click the picture to enlarge

Moses Benjamin Isaacson's immigration record to the U.S. gives clues to his ORIGINAL immigration from Russia to Canada in 1892 or 1893, when he was about 13. What are the facts recorded towards the bottom? Smolensk was located between his town of birth, Medyn, and his parents' town of birth, Mogilev. Does Smolensk or Bremen refer to towns or ships? (In an earlier border crossing document for Moses, the name of his ship from Russia is recorded as "unknown" and the year is 1893, not 1892.) It appears that the SS Smolensk only launched in 1901 and that the SS Bremen only launched in 1896, so I doubt either can be the ship name. Perhaps Bremen (although pretty far away) was the port of departure? "Arrived in NY Sept. 1892, in transit to Canada." What do the words on the bottom right say? Can you figure out from this document the details of his journey from Russia? Thank you.

You must be registered and logged in to respond to images.
Read the FAQs here to learn how to send thanks to a translator.

On  Response 
3/11/2019 11:48 AM Hello Karen,

Just a guess here, but perhaps the bottom line says this:

In transit to Canada. Dir/Du Ferry

3/11/2019 10:44 PM The name of the steamship is definitely "Bremen" (at least, according to whoever wrote it down).
The text under "Bremen" might be "By Ferry" as in how he got to Toronto from New York.
Traveling by Smolensk.

It is of course possible that the clerk got things wrong.
3/12/2019 7:30 AM This is a crossing at Detroit on the ferry. He originally arrived at New York, Sept 1892 on the SS Bremen. It says traveling by Smolensk - perhaps that is the name of the ferry, but it could be where he came from originally. He is a Canadian citizen.

I often went from Buffalo (where I lived) to Detroit via Canada, as it is shorter than going around Lake Erie on the south.
3/12/2019 1:19 PM A train went through Smolensk by that time period, so perhaps he left his town and went to Smolensk to begin his journey by train towards a port.

3/12/2019 1:22 PM There were several ships named Bremen. The earliest built in 1858.
3/15/2019 1:05 AM Hi, Karen.

I'm pretty sure that "Bremen" here is the name of the ship he arrived in in September of 1892 (if I understand correctly, to New York City in transit to Canada ("in transit to Can." in lower-left).

My guess is that Smolensk (under "Russia") is an added detail of "Place of Birth", and that what is seen at lower right ("DW Ferry") is (albeit displaced) the answer to "Traveling by" (how Moses Benjamin Isaacson got to his destination: "Det" in "Mich" (or Detroit, Michigan) ; I figure that "DW Ferry" refers to a "Detroit-Windsor ferry" which took passengers between Detroit and the neighboring Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (A webpage about ferry service in the 19th century between the 2 cities (with nice photos) is this one:

Good Luck.


3/15/2019 1:40 AM Further Internet research indicates that there wasn't an "SS Bremen" in 1892, so I may well have been mistaken.

I do see "Bremen" under "Name of S. S.", and "1892 sept" under "Date of Landing" -- which I assumed was a landing in New York City "in transit to Can[ada]" (but I could have been wrong about that).

Perhaps Bremen was the port from which the 1892 ship sailed/traveled (??).

(I'm pretty sure that the "DW Ferry" notation refers to the crossing to Detroit which is the reason this card was filled out. )

Again, Good Luck.

3/15/2019 10:29 AM Hi Karen,
According to this document, he arrived in the U.S by ferry from Windsor Canada July 19 1923. He originally arrived in Canada in 1892 via the port of New York. He left from the port of Bremen Germany(the SS Bremen's first sailing was 1896) and Smolensk was the town he travelled from before boarding in Bremen. According to the Michigan naturalization document his place of birth is Medin, (today, Medyn)Russia. Travelling from Smolensk would have most likely brought him through Minsk and Warsaw on his way to Bremen. The document names his children, all born in Canada (as a side point, their children can claim Canadian citizenship) His wife was Rosel(Rosie) Dalgoff. His father was Sam Isaacson, his mother, Sarah Kafets.
Hope this helps

You must be registered and logged in to respond to images.
Read the FAQs here to learn how to send thanks to a translator.

Have a ViewMate success story? Please share it using the Help page form.
All times shown on ViewMate are in US Mountain Time
Last Updated 1 Apr 2019
ViewMate idea and author: Bernard Israelite Kouchel ז״ל
Web Author: Josef Herz, updated by John Berman, Gary Sandler
Edmond J. Safra Plaza | 36 Battery Place | New York, NY 10280
646.494.5972 | | © 2022, JewishGen, Inc. All rights reserved.