More roadblocks, dead ends and wrong turns

The two young men in front look like brothers; the fellow in back doesn't, but he could be the fellow with the cane sitting in the front row in the large group photo at right in Excelsior Springs, Mo. But we have no idea who these three are.  If you are related to these men, please e-mail us by clicking here.

This dapper gathering was held at the Regent Spring Pavilion in Excelsior Springs, Mo., a short excursion by horse-and-buggy (seen in background at right) from Kansas City, Mo. We wonder who they were, what was the purpose of their outing and when did it take place? We do know that Excelsior Springs had been known far and wide since the 1880s for the supposedly curative power of its water. (The young man seated in the front row holding a cane may also be seen in the photo in the above left corner of this page.)  If you know more about this photo, please contact us by clicking here.


The woman in dark clothes (above center) holding a purse looks like Golda Leah Krewiansky Gordon. Could this be an early gathering of the Kansas City Hadassah? We think so. If you know more about this photo, please contact us by clicking here.


We know from his tombstone (right) that Morris L. Fischer's father's name was Chaim and that he was a kohane. We know Morris that immigrated to the United States before Oct. 14, 1866, when he married Ernestine Kober in St. Louis, Mo. He came from Prussia or Germany, depending on which documents we check. But none of these records specify his home town in Europe.

We have his marriage certificate, his citizenship papers and his death certificate, but not one document gives his shtetl. However, we have not yet been able to definitively find his ship's arrival record.

 A "merchant" named Moritz Fischer, age 15, arrived in New York aboard the Donau via Hamburg on Aug. 2, 1856. He was about the right age to be our Morris Fischer, but this manifest doesn't give a home town, and if this was our Morris, it raises the further question of where was he and what did he do between 1856 and 1865. A more likely possibility is a Moritz Fischer who is reported to have emigrated through Hamburg in 1865, but this also doesn't give sufficient information to confirm that it was our Morris Fischer. And while this record involves a departure, we haven't found this man's arrival record.

Morris L. Fischer's tombstone (right) is in the oldest section of the New Mt. Sinai Cemetery in Affton, Mo., a south suburb of St. Louis.

Isaac Levik (above right), who changed his surname to Levin, was Abraham Levik's brother. He is seen with a cousin named Olga Sorokin. We don't know what became of Isaac and we have no idea who Olga was. The Levik brothers had a sister named Rebekah, but we don't know anything about her except that she was a nurse. 



Marvin Kagan has an old photo dated June 26, 1913, showing a young man wearing a Russian military uniform. It is inscribed on the back in Russian: "From your cousin Moses Kagan. Kiev. For my dear brother Samson [Samuel Cohen]." We don't know who Moses was, but he may have been the son of her aunt and uncle with whom Dweira Mindla Kagan lived when she first arrived in Kiev, Ukraine, where she met and married Abraham Levik.


Perhaps our oldest photo, she  resembles Michel Mayer Gordon. Could this be his mother, whose name we don't have? 

Abraham Levik was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1877 the son of Leib Levik. On JewishGen's database of Belarus revision lists (a form of census), there is an Abram Levik in Minsk listed in 1811 as the son of Leiba. That Abram Levik was born in 1779, nearly 100 years before Abraham Levik. Considering the Ashkenazic Jewish tradition of naming newborns for deceased ancestors, can we assume that Abram was Abraham's grandfather and that Leiba was Leib's grandfather? How likely is it that Abraham would have been born nearly 100 years after his grandfather?
Old family trees say that Menachem Mendel Levin's shtetl was called Palupska, Mvolov, or Palopokow, Malow, Russia. Repeated attempts to definitively find this place have failed. Using various printed and online gazetteers, including ones with the Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex system, we haven't been able to find it. But the possibilities include Palavkoviche-Male, Belarus; Pobolovo/Pobalava, Gomel, Belarus; Palupykh'ya, Estonia; Pylypki, Ukraine; and Paliepiukai, Lithuania.
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Experienced amateur genealogist Martin Fischer is available to conduct freelance family history projects including searching online databases, creating family trees, editing memoirs and developing genealogical Web sites. For more information, go to, click on find a freelancer, and type Martin Fischer in the search box, or go to, click on search by name, and type Fischer and Martin in the search boxes.

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