I have been working the last couple of days on the search for what happened to the husband of my great-great aunt, Tillie Rosensweig Srulovic/Strolowitz/Strulowitz/Adler. The last record I have of him is on the manifest for the ship that brought him along with Tillie and their three youngest children to the United States in December, 1907. On the manifest, as previously discussed, his name is Itic Yankel Srulovici. There are notations on the manifest that indicate that although he first was considered in good health, a later notation written over that finding indicates that he had scars on his corneas and coloboma in both irises. However, the record also indicated that he was examined by a Doctor Snider and is stamped “admitted,” though it also indicates that the family was held for several days and a bond had to be posted for their release.
I did some research on the history of Ellis Island, and apparently there was a contagious eye condition, trachoma, that was commonly a basis for refusing entry to an immigrant. Perhaps when the inspectors saw something strange about Itic’s eyes, they decided to hold him for further examination. Reading this the first time, however, I wasn’t sure how to interpret the “admitted”—did that mean he was admitted after the exam? Was it possible they had deported him? And if he stayed, when did he become Jacob Adler, and when did he die?
And why is there no record of him after leaving Ellis Island? In my emails with Itic’s great-granddaughter Jean, she said that family lore is that her great-grandfather never left Ellis Island. Did that mean he had died on Ellis Island? Had he been deported? I could not determine how to figure this out.
And that’s where the generosity of genealogists comes in. I posted an inquiry on the JewishGen discussion list, asking for opinions and help in figuring out what had happened to Itic/Jacob. And within less than an hour, I started receiving responses and continue to receive very helpful responses. I have said this before, but I continue to be amazed and touched by how helpful, supportive and generous with their time and energies these experienced genealogists are. Renee Steinig continues be an incredible source of support—with ideas, suggestions, and documents that she finds for me on her own time. Others also have gone out of their way, including Bette (whose last name I don’t even know but who has helped me before on other questions), Phyllis Kramer, Marian Smith, Don Solomon, Sally Bruckheimer, David Crook, Diane Jacobs, Adelle Gloger, and several more.
And so what have I Iearned? Well, most of these people advised me that it is very unlikely that he was deported. If the document is marked “admitted,” then he was admitted. There would be some notation in the file if he had been deported. Several people gave me websites and search engines to use to see if I could find a death record or gravesite where Itic/Jacob appeared. So far I have not found any record other than the the death certificate for a Jacob Adler who died in 1910, but I can’t find a gravesite for that person. I hope to have the death certificate by the end of next week, so perhaps if it identifies him as Tillie’s husband, we will have an answer.
I also was advised to request a document from the National Archives and was even provided with the document identification information by someone who was looked it up on an index I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to access. I called the National Archives, and I am now waiting for them to call me back. So I am hoping that by the end of next week I will have some documentation that may fill out the story and tell us what happened to Tillie’s husband, Gisella’s brother-in-law.
I could never have gotten as far on this journey without all this help. Thank you again to every person who has provided me with help. I look forward to paying it forward to another new genealogy researcher some day soon. I can never pay all of you back for what you have given me.