I have received a number of different records from Marius Chelcu, the man who has been doing research for me in Iasi, Romania. Among those records are the birth records for five of the children of Jankel Srulovici and Tillie Rosenzweig, my great-great aunt. I now have birth records for Isidore, or Srul, their oldest child, for Bertha, or Bruha, their second child, for David, their third child, and one for Rebecca/Ray, their fourth child. I also have one for a son who died in infancy, Zissu. Unfortunately, Marius was unable to find a birth record for either Pincus or Leah.
First, the birth record for Isidore, or Srul, indicates that his birth date was June 9, 1883, and that his parents were Iancu Itzic Strulovici, age 38, and Bruha Thela Strulovici, age 36. This birth year is consistent with Isidore’s age on the 1910 US census, so it would be appear to be the right child and the right parents.
This record provides corroboration that Jankel Srulovici, here named Iacob Itzic Strulovici, was in fact Isidore’s father and that there was no first husband named Adler. The same is true on David, Bertha, and Rebecca’s birth records: Iacob Itzik Strulovici is their father. There is no indication on any of these birth records of anyone named Adler, and it thus does seem that the Adler name was chosen by the family sometime after arriving in NYC for reasons that are not yet clear.
If the ages of Jacob and Tillie are correct on Isidore’s birth record, they were born in 1845 and 1847, respectively, contrary to the 1851 and 1860 on their American death records.
The record for their next child, Bertha, has a date of birth of February 16, 1885, and her parents’ names as Iacob Itzic Strulovici, age 39, and Tilla Strulovic, age 36. Two things raise questions for me here as to whether this is the same mother named in Srul’s birth record. First, the mother is still 36 years old. That alone would not concern me, given how inaccurate the ages on these records appear to me. But her name is different. Certainly Bruha Tella could be the same person as Tilla, but the child’s name was also Bruha. Given Jewish naming patterns, it seems quite unlikely that Bruha would give her daughter her own name. It seems more likely that Bruha had died between 1883 and 1885 and that Iacob had then married Tilla, the mother of Bruha. But obviously I cannot be sure.
The next record is for David, born on October 22, 1886, in Iasi, to Iacob Itzic Strulovici, 41, and Tela Strulovici, still 36. Perhaps Tillie just didn’t want to age and she was the mother of all three children?
Next is the record for Zissu Strulovici, who was born April 1, 1891 and died six days later on April 7, 1891. At his birth Iacob is listed as 45 and Tillie as 40. Tillie had finally gotten older than 36.
But when Rebecca was born on October 24, 1892, her father was 48 and her mother 39. So the best we can say about the accuracy of the Romanian records is that they are consistently inconsistent.
Assuming then that Jacob was really 48 in 1892, he would have been 63 when he arrived in NYC in December, 1907, eight years older than the 55 he claimed on the manifest and at Ellis Island for his immigration hearing. Given the typical lifespan back then and the fact that he was reported to be senile by the doctor who examined him at Ellis Island, it does make it seem even more likely that he died not long after being admitted to the US.
I was also interested to see on Isidore, Bertha and David’s birth records that Jacob signed his name in Hebrew or Yiddish. I can decipher the “Yaakov Itzic Srulov—“ . It also appears that his older brother Joseph was a witness and signed as “Strulov” on David’s record. On Rebecca’s birth record six years later, it seems that Jacob signed his name as “Strulov” and not in Hebrew letters, as did the other two witnesses. It also seems that Strulov could have been written by the same person, presumably Jacob, on both documents as the writing is very similar.
I find great comfort in seeing these documents. It’s wonderful to have a record of events that happened in the family so long ago, and it gives me hope that all the work I’ve done will survive as well. It is also very moving to imagine my grandfather’s cousins as babies, their births being recorded for all time by their parents. Given what I’ve learned about how the lives of these children unfolded and ended, it is particularly poignant to think of them as innocent babies, unaware of their struggles ahead.