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  Using Late a 19th Century Will to Begin a Paper Trail:
Eric Goldstein's Shabashevich Family

Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006 All Rights Reserved

 This is an example of how even late 19th century records can begin a paper trail leading back to earlier lists.

Eric Goldstein, a professor of Jewish History at Emory University in Atlanta, was surprised when he recognized his great great grandmother, Chane Leah MERKEL, on a Will which was part of an index of 1870 -1880 Wills and Court Documents held at the Kaunas Regional Archives.  She and her mother were listed as the beneficiaries of her grandfather.  Her mother was Faiga MERKEL, and Faiga’s father, the deceased, was Fayvel SHABASHEVICH, who was born in 1807. 

 1875 Will of Fayvel Shabashevich

Surname

Given name

Father

Age

Comments

SHABASHEVICH

Fayvel

Leyb

68

died on May 1, 1875; will in Russian and Hebrew

SHABASHEVICH

Nokhim

Fayvel

 

son of the deceased, beneficiary

 

Toyba

 

 

granddaughter of the deceased, daughter of his late daughter Sheyna, beneficiary

IOFE ?

Asne Leah

Leyb?

 

granddaughter of the deceased, daughter of Malka, beneficiary

MERKEL?

Chane Leah

Velvel?

 

granddaughter of the deceased, daughter of Feyga, beneficiary

MERKEL?

Elka

Velvel?

 

granddaughter of the deceased, daughter of Feyga, beneficiary

SHABASHEVICH (maiden name)

Slova

Fayvel

 

daughter of the deceased, beneficiary

IOFE ?

Mirka

Leyb?

 

grandaughter of the deceased, daughter of Malka, beneficiary

IOFE ?

Elka

Leyb?

 

granddaughter of the deceased, daughter of Malka, beneficiary

MERKEL                                               

Feyga

Fayvel

 

daughter of the deceased, beneficiary

TOV

Yankel

Berel

 

drew the will

LAPIDUS

Sholom Yankel

 

 

witness

EPSHTEYN

Yankel

Aria

 

witness

MARGOLIAS

Mordkhel

Abel

 

witness

BERNSHTAM

Bentsion

 

 

wrote application for Feyga Merkel, from Raseiniai

SOLOVEYCHIK

Isaak

Vulf

 

translated the will, wrote application for Nokhim Shabashevich; certified translator of Kaunas Jewish community

The important information that was learned from the Will was the maiden name of Feyga MERKEL.  Now that Dr. Goldstein knew the surname SHABASHEVICH, he could go back further.

He found Fayvel’s father, Leyb son of Abram, on the Raseiniai 1858 Revision List.

 1858 Raseiniai Revision List

Reg. #

Surname

Given Name

Relationship

Father

Age in 1858

Comments

Class

194

SHABASHEVICH

Leyb

Head of Household

Abram

59 in 1850

Died in 1856

Petit Bourgeois

194

SHABASHEVICH

Fayvush [Fayvil]

Son

Leyb

46

 

Petit Bourgeois

194

SHABASHEVICH

Nokhem

Grandchild

Fayvush

15

Reregistered in 1889

Merchant

194

SHABASHEVICH

Chaim

Son

Leyb

28 in 1850

Died in 1856

Petit Bourgeois

194

SHABASHEVICH

Elka

Daughter in law

 

46

 

Petit Bourgeois

194

SHABASHEVICH

Feyga Riva

Grandchild

Fayvush

22

 

Petit Bourgeois

194

SHABASHEVICH

Riva

Grandchild

Chaim

14

 

Petit Bourgeois

194

SHABASHEVICH

Chaya

Grandchild

Chaim

12

 

Petit Bourgeois

Then he found Leyb’s father Abram son of Girsh on the 1816 Revision list for Raseiniai. Abram was born in 1766, and there was a notation that the family had moved to Raseiniai from Vidukle, which is nearby.

1816 Raseiniai Revision List 

Reg. #

Surname

Given Name

Father

Relationship

Age

Comments

135

SABASEVICH (?)

Abram

Girsha

Head of Household

50

Came from Vidukle in 1813

135

SABASEVICH (?)

Slova

 

Wife

45

 

135

SABASEVICH (?)

Liba

Abram

Daughter

22

 

He then looked at the 1784 GDL Census list for Vidukle, but wasn't able to find them there.  However, he did find Abram with his father Hirsh (Girsh on 1816 list) son of Fayvel in Pawidukle, a small place near Vidukle.  Here is Girsh son of Fival with his wife Malka and three sons who were also on the 1816 lists in other nearby towns. He estimates that Girsh was born in 1745. 

1784 Grand Duchy Census Extract for Vidukle (Pawidulke means "near Vidukle")

Pawidukle: Lessee Hirszo son of Fawel, wife Malke, son Abram, son Szmerko, daughter Rochla,
son Leyzer, daughter-in-law Merja, son-in-law Abram and his wife Etka

Sources:

1875 Will of Fayvel Shabashevich, Kaunas Regional Archives, Inheritance and Court Files Project, Vitalija Gircyte and David Hoffman.
1816  Raseiniai Revision List, from Lithuanian State Historical Archives, Vilnius, Jewish Family History Foundation.
1858 Raseiniai Revision List, from Lithuanian State Historical Archives, Vilnius, LitvakSIG, All Lithuanian Database.
1784 Census of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania,
Jewish Family History Foundation, Grand Duchy Project.

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