Using Late a 19th Century Will to Begin a Paper Trail:
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
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
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
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,
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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