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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Sophia from Latvia

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

Today I discovered that the name of Ari’s Latvian 4x great-grandmother was Sophia. I knew that her husband was Josif or Jossel, and I knew that her daughter was Hinda, but she was just a blank in our tree until today. Yesterday I was looking (again!) at possible deaths in Liepaja or Kuldiga, where her husband had died in 1902, and I found a possibility in the Latvia Deaths Database on the JewishGen website:

The original record in the Latvian archive looks like this (below, no. 28), so I am very grateful to the transcribers and indexers!

As you can see from the first record, it also gives us her father's name, Osher (= Asher). This was a good clue, because it would explain the use of this name by their descendants (Hinda and Charles Feinstein had a baby son, Osher, in 1888, who died at seven weeks old from stomach disease. And Hinda’s brother Lozer and his wife Ette Gordimer had a son they named Osher, born in 1879).

But this wasn’t proof that Sophia was the mother of Hinda. I found a Brant Family tree on the MyHeritage website which had Sophia as the husband of Jossel, and it gave me the names of three children I hadn’t heard of before: sons Sundel and Laser, and a daughter, Golda. The tree also gave some siblings of Yossel, which was extremely helpful, including Hirsh Hirshfeld, who was the ancestor of the tree owner. I was then able to look for records for all of these people.

This morning, I was following up on one of the sons, Sundel, and discovered that, like his sister's children, he had emigrated to South Africa. According to his death record, he was a merchant, living in Potchefstroom, married to Sophie Nesselstrauss. They had no children, but he mentioned his sister, Golda Jacobsohn, who his wife reported was “somewhere in Russia – address unknown”. (She had married Mozes Hirsh Yakobsohn and had a son, Aizik Meier, in Liepaja in 1895, and died there in 1928.)

But the best part was the names of his parents, which were given as:

This was the proof I needed. Now I just need to find out her maiden name!

Sundel’s Hebrew name was Chanoch Zundel Ben Yosef, and he was buried in Potchefstroom cemetery in August 1922.

©Jono David/HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library.

This discovery nicely fills a gap in Ari’s fan chart:

Ari, this is how you are related to Sophia:

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