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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Looking for Sheva

Sheva (Sophia) Brenner was Ari’s 4x great-grandmother, and I am using this blog post to look again at what we know about her, which is very little! The facts are these:

Sheva is listed as Sheva (maiden name Brenner) in the birth records of the following children:

· Khatzkiel Feinshtein, born 3 Feb 1857 in Liepaja (Father’s occupation: Merchant. Officiant: Zalman LEVITAN. Parent’s place of registration: Grobina)

· Khaya (Johanna) Feinshtein, born 13 June 1859 in Liepaja (Parent’s place of registration: Polangen)

· Yakob Feinshtein, born 11 June 1861 in Liepaja (Officiant: Zalman LEVITAN)

· Yosel Feinshtein, born 12 November 1866 in Liepaja (Officiant: Zalman LEVITAN)

· Aron Feinshtein, born 3 July 1869 in Liepaja (Officiant: Zalman LEVITAN)

According to my grandmother Rose, there was also a daughter Pauline, but I have never found any records for her.

Sheva must have married Itsik (Isaac) Abram Feinshtein in about 1850, but there are no records for marriages in Liepaja before 1853.

Other information comes from the death records of her children. Khatzkiel (later called Charles) died in Johannesburg in 1930 (his story is here). His death record gives his mother’s name as Sheva:

Jacob died in Johannesburg in 1932. His death record gives his mother’s name as Sophia:

Aron died in Johannesburg in 1945, and his record just says ‘Deceased’ for both parents.

Family information on Sheva (Sophia) comes from Lola Solomon, who was the granddaughter of Sheva’s daughter Khaya (Johanna), who married Juda Leib Soloman in 1887 and moved to Asbury Park, New Jersey. I originally had Sheva’s parents as Abraham and Bessie, but this didn’t come from any records. I think the information came from Lola Solomon, who was not sure if Bessie was on the Brenner side or the Feinstein side. Apparently she lived to be 105 and was a herbalist and healer!

So far I have found no record of Sheva's birth or marriage, but there is a death record which is a possibility. This is the death of Sophia Feinshtein in Liepaja on 22 May 1880 from meningitis. Her age was 42. This record (no. 12), from the Latvian State Historical Archives, is in Russian and Hebrew:

I think that Sheva had a sister called Minna, who married a Leib Feinstein in Liepaja in 1859 and had about ten children. I like to think that Leib was a brother of Sheva’s husband Itsik but there is no proof of that yet. Minna’s records give us some new clues.

Her birth is recorded in 1836 (via JewishGen from the Latvian Archives):

So based on this, I am revising the names of Sheva’s parents to Khatzkiel and Sarah, and we have a new surname to search for: Oppenheim. We also know that Khatzkiel’s father was Abraham.

We also have the record of Minna’s marriage in 1859 (at, but unfortunately it does not give their fathers’ names. It does tell us that there was a dowry of 300 rubles, and that Leib Feinstein came from Palanga.

Ari, this is how you are related to Sheva:

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