May 15, 2019

GENEALOGY BLEG: In building a family tree I’ve been frustrated by my inability to find any record of my great-grandfather’s family from Kėdainiai [Keidan] Lithuania. His name was Yehuda Stravinsky (phonetic), his father was Koppel and his mother Raisza (Rose). Stravinsky was a very unusual name for Jews, so you would think it would be easy to track down, but I haven’t had any luck. I’ve been told that given the vagaries of dialect, the name could have been spelled in different ways–Stravunsky, Strawinksy, Strapinsky, etc. Yehuda was a shoemaker, and came to the U.S. in 1887, owned a shoe store, and at some point the family’s name was changed to Stein. In English, he was variously known as Louis, Edward, or Julius Stein. According to an interview I did with my great-grandmother, he had eight siblings, all or most of whom also came to the U.S. I don’t know whether they all also became “Steins.” I have DNA samples at several genealogy websites, but no unknown Steins or Stravinksys have come up. The Ellis Island records are no help, because his arrival was before Ellis Island opened. And his citizenship card lists an arrival date into the U.S., but it doesn’t match records on that date. Anyway, given the rarity of the surname, perhaps by posting this some distant cousin will get in touch. The only other clue I have is that my great aunt once told me that some of her cousins immigrated to South Africa, though I’m not sure if that was on the Stein side.

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