Adar Belinkoff Web Site
Pintchuk Family Page: Beginnings
During the past two years, three documents have been discovered that shed great light on the origins of the Pintchuk family.
The documents are Max and Sam Pintchuk's birth "certificates", and a memorial (Yahrtzeit) plaque for grandfather Naftali. The
birth certificates are shown in Figures 1 and 2. They are handwritten in Russian in a style created by Napoleon and later used
throughout the Russian Empire. They were obtained through an organization that indexes Polish vital statistic records and
makes them available through JewishGen, the web site of Jewish Genealogy. The translations were also done through
Birth Certificate - Max Pintchuk
18 May 1895
Birth Certificate - Sam Pintchuk
11 July 1899
The third 'document' was a Yahrtzeit plaque, commissioned by Grandmother Etke Pintchuk, in honor of her husband on the first
anniversary of his death. The plaque with translations in shown in Figure 3. The lacquer-on-wood plaque was found by Norrine
Greenwood, daughter of Natalie Pintchuk Fried, in her house which formerly was occupied by her grandparents, Sam and Sarah
Pintchuk. The significance of the plaque is that it gives the name of Grandfather Naftali's father, Yeshayahu Nachum, thus
extending our family tree back a whole generation.
The most important things learned from these documents
are, first, the name of our great-grandfather, Yeshayahu
Nachum, and second, the maiden name of our
grandmother, Matevitzky. Although great-grandmother
Neche (Nechama) immigrated to the US with Naftali, her
only son, we had no knowledge of her husband's name
prior to finding this plaque. With that name there is some
possibility of tracing the family back even further.
The name Yeshayahu, Isaiah in English, is very often abbreviated to Shaya, or Shaike, even in modern Israel. Thus, the English
version of the name in Figure 3, Shaianochum, uses the diminutive of Yeshayahu run together with his second name Nachum.
Undoubtedly that is what he was generally called. The Yiddish version clarified the derivation of the run-together English name.
Since all Jewish families in the Russian Empire gave the first child after a death, the name of the deceased, we would expect to
find a Yeshayahu, and perhaps a Nachum in the next generation. We will explore that below. Indidentally, note the use of the
Hebrew month and date in both English and Yiddish texts, but the use of the secular year in the English version and the Hebrew
year in the Yiddish version.
Grandmother's maiden name, Matevitsky, should not have been such a surprise. On her death certificate in 1930, Sam gave her
father's name as Lazier Misowiskey, although the latter is hard to read. That clue was ignored since I have a note from my
mother saying the name was Greenberg. The translator of the birth certificates said the name could have been Moshevitzky or
Mishevitzky. On grandfather Naftali's ship manifest when he immigrated in 1903, he indicated he was joining a "friend", (more
likely his wife's relative it now appears), Moshe Matewitsky, although, again the spelling is hard to read and open to
interpretation. Genealogists always prefer older documents since memories fade over time. Thus Sam's spelling in 1930 must
be suspect, and I have chosen to use the Matevitsky version. Further research may produce the immigration papers for the
above mentioned Moshe Matewitsky which could clarify the name.
Incidentally, the English spelling of the name Pintchuk has gone
through several iterations. Our earliest English record is Naftali's
ship manifest where the name is Pintchuk. When the rest of the
family immigrated in 1906, the name can be read as Pinchuk,
although Ellis Island lists it as Pincsuh (see Figure 8 below).
Great-grandmother Neche came on the same ship with the rest of
the family, but she is listed at another place in the manifest. Her
name appears to be Pincsuk. When Grandfather declared his
intention to become a citizen in 1905, the name was Pintzuk, which
was also the spelling on his Petition for Naturalization in 1913 and
the actual Certificate of Naturaliztion in 1914. However, in the 1910
census the name is Pinchuk. By World War I they had settled on
Pintchuk since that is the name on all the 1917 draft registration
cards and WWI military records, and also the 1920 census. The
name Pintchuk means "man from Pinsk" according to A Dictionary
of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire: Revised Edition by
Alexander Beider, and that helps our understanding of the family's
origins. Jewish families in the Russian Empire were required to
adopt surnames between 1804 - 1844, so we know that by that time
they had left Pinsk. (Only someone who had left Pinsk would
adopt that name.)
The next significant facts from the birth certificates have to do with dates. The use of two dates for each event is due to the fact
that Russia had not yet converted to the Gregorian calendar in use in most of the rest of the world. Promulgated by Pope
Gregory in 1582, it corrected for the fact that the earth's rotation is not exactly 365.25 days as assumed in the then prevalent
Julian calendar. England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 when Wed., 2 Sep 1752 was followed by Thur., 14 Sep 1752,
thus dropping 11 days from the calendar. Russia did not formally adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1917, but as we see above,
the use of both dates was common. The second dates above are the ones consistent with current use.
Thus, Max's birthday was 18 May 1895, and Sam's was 11 July 1899. Since these are contemporary records, We must assume
they are accurate. It should be noted that most Jews at the time paid little attention to actual dates, especially Julian/Gregorian
dates. Hebrew dates were followed more closely, but were often lost or forgotten. Thus Max celebrated his birthday as 25 May
1895; the Petition for Naturalization says May 1895; the 1910 census suggests 1896; the 1920 census suggests 1897; his army
discharge says 1896; and his World War I draft registration says 1 May 1896. In Sam's case, the ship manifest lists him as age 4
in 1906, the Petition for Naturalization says August, 1900, the 1910 and 1920 censuses say 1900, and the Social Security Death
Index says 18 Aug 1900. He celebrated his birthday as 29 Jun 1899. Note that in both cases the births were recorded exactly
one week after birth, thus on the day of the bris. They could not have been registered earlier because Jewish boys are not
named until their bris.
Grandfather and grandmother were both born in Vysocki Litovsk (Vysoko Litovski in the birth certificates above) according to
the Petition for Naturalization. We also know that Sarah and Sol were born in Vysocki, but that Max and all the other children
were born in Tomaszov Mazowiecki. Thus we can trace their migrations from Pinsk to Vysocki sometime before 1844, and from
Vysocki to Tomaszov about 1894. The latter move was made for better education for the boys, since a Talmud Torah in
Tomaszov was run by a relative, according to Natalie. The migrations are shown in Figure 4. The distance from Pinsk to Vysocki
is about 160 miles and from Vysocki to Tomaszov, about 180 miles.
Grandfather Naftali's age is given as 38 in Max's Birth Certificate and 34, four years later when Sam was born. The Petition for
Naturalization shows 26 Jun 1871 as his birth date. That would make him 24 in 1895 rather than 38. His Ship Manifest, Death
Certificate, the 1910 Census and Belle Belinkoff's Date Book, (a comprehensive, but not necessarily accurate compilation of
family dates), say 1869 or 1870 as his birth year. My best guess is 1869, making him 26 at Max's birth and 30 at Sam's. The ages
on the Birth Certificates may be mis-translations. Note that the witnesses, the same at both events, age properly over the four
years. Naftali is indicated as a day laborer or worker, indicating a hard time supporting his growing family.
Similarly, grandmother Etke's birth year ranges from 1866 to 1878 in the various documents. There is some indication that she
was the same age as Naftali, so I am guessing at 1869 for her birth year also. This variation in dates is widespread in Jewish
genealogical sources, and stems from the above mentioned general inattention to date specificity.
One other very interesting fact can be gleaned from the three new
documents. Sam's birth certificate gives his name as Shayia. At first I
thought that was a clear translation error. But the discovery of the
Yahrtzeit plaque indicates that Sam was most probably named Shayia after
his grandfather. Furthermore, since the previous boy child was named
Victor, it is clear that great grandfather Shayia Nachum died after Victor's
birth (1897) and before Sam's (1899). 1898 would be a good guess. Sam's
name on the ship manifest is Shepsel See Figure 8). It was quite common
for Jews in Europe to have a Hebrew name, a Yiddish name, maybe even a
secular name, and a nickname in common use, and to change them all
after arriving in the US. Thus baby Shayia was called Shepsel, and
changed his name to Samuel in the US. Very recent research indicates that
manifest information, while written at time of boarding, came from the ticket
agent who sold the tickets, and therefore from the ticket purchaser, in this
case grandfather Naftali..
Max was given the name Moshko Lazier at birth. Moshko is a diminutive for Moshe (Moses). Leizer was grandmother Etke's
father's name, indicating he died sometime before 1895. We don't have Max's ship manifest (or Sol's - see below) so we don't
know what he was called as a child. His WWI draft registration says Mack but his military record says Max. Victor's name, quite
English, is surprising although I have seen the name Vigdor several times in various Polish/Russian documents. Figure 8 shows
the portion of the ship manifest with all the names. The last name is Nate's and probably was Nachum, great grandfather's
second name, although I originally read it as Nathan, an improbably English name. The fourth name is Belle, but it is very hard to
determine what she was called, probably Balshe. As can be seen, Etke, Belle, Sam and Nate changed their names in America as
did great grandmother Nechama, who became Anna. Natalie is named after Nechama. The original indexer of the Ellis Island
records listed the names as Etke, Tara, Victor, Balcse, Shepsel and ...ohom, with the last name as Pincsuh.
|Figure 8 - Ship Manifest
SS Pennsylvania Arrived New York 27 Sep 1906
On 14 Mar 1903, Naftali arrived by himself in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada on the SS Lake Simcoe from
Liverpool, and then travelled by train to the US. The manifest indicates his last address was London, he paid
for his passage by himself, had "more than $30" (equal to about $600 today),(1) and was going to the above
mentioned Moshe Matewitzky at 15 Eldridge St., NYC. We have no idea how he got to Liverpool, but voyages
to Canada were cheaper than to the US because there was one day less at sea. He probably chose
Youngstown because of a friend, although the Youngstown Jewish community was actively seeking new
immigrants. (2) The steel/coal country of western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio attracted many eastern
European immigrants, and Jewish storekeepers followed because they could speak the languages and
knew the customs.
On 27 Sep 1906 Etke arrived at Ellis Island aboard the SS Pennsylvania
from Hamburg, with Sarah, Victor, Belle, Sam, and Nate, with Naftali's
mother Neche, and with 2,375 other immigrants. Sol and Max were not
with them - see below. The ship manifest has Neche marked with the
dreaded "X", meaning detention for further medical examination and
possible non-admission for reasons of "Senility". After four days in
the infirmary she was cleared to enter.
The family had been separated from Naftali for three and a half years, presumably subsisting on meager earnings in Tomaszov
plus help from Naftali. Certainly he paid for their passage. According to Marian Pintchuk Heiser, Max had an eye disease and
was denied passage by the steamship line because, if denied entrance to the US, they would have had to transport him back to
Europe free of charge. Sol was left with him presumably as a guardian. They were 11 and 13 years old. Supposedly they
followed to the US within a few weeks. I have been unable to find the record of their immigration, possibly because they had been
left with friends and travelled under a different name.
The family lived at 310 E Woodland Ave. in 1910 according to the census, They were not well off, subsisting from a small
grocery store, and the earnings of the older boys. Naftali was active in the community, being elected Secretary of the Emanu-El
shul in its new building in 1912.(3) Frieda Burson, a Belinkoff cousin, told me a story she heard from our Belinkoff uncle, Joseph
Magidson, who was also active in community affairs in Youngstown. According to the story, Joseph caught Naftali with "his
hand in the cookie jar", but raised some money to help him because "he felt sorry for Naftali with all those children". The
children, except for Sarah who was 15 when she arrived and married at 19, and who may have gone to night school, all went to
school and probably finished 8th grade.
Neche died in 1916 of "acute cholecystitis" and "bronchopneumonia", and Naftali died 1n 1919 at the age of 50 from "carcinoma
of the esophagus". In the 1920 census, the family lived at 609 Holmes St. Sarah had married in 1910 and Sol was apparently
living elsewhere. He married in June, 1920. Sam is listed as living at home, even though he may have been studying and living
in Cleveland. They also had a cousin, Luis Zbar, later of Milwaukee, living with them as well as, surprisingly, a servant. Ethel,
known as the "little Bubbie (grandmother)" lived until 1930, spending her last years with Belle in Cleveland. Her death is listed
as from "toxic hepatitis" following surgery. All three are buried in Knox St Cemetery in Youngstown. (4) The entire family, ca
1920 is shown in Figure 12.
I visited Tomaszov Mazowiecki in 2006 with
my oldest grandson, Louis Katz. It is a
pleasant city of about 67,000 population, 28
miles ESE of Lodz. It was not destroyed
during the war and many old buildings can be
seen. In the older sections of the town are
wooden buildings with very clear signs that
mezzuzahs were on the door posts. In 1930
11,300 Jews lived in Lodz. There is a 2,000
grave Jewish cemetery in the town, very
overgrown with trees and shrubs. Most of it
is inaccessible with the gravestones knocked
over and broken. A small section has been
somewhat restored with a monument to the
15,000 Jews from Tomaszov murdered by the
nazis in Treblinka.
Undoubtedly great grandfather Yeshayhu
Nachum is buried there. Restoration of the
cemetery, an activity carried out by an arm
of Jewish Genealogy, would be very
expensive. Figure 5 shows the sign at the
entrance to the town. Figure 6 is from a
postcard ca 1900 showing the town
square. I took Figure 7 during my visit. In
spite of the automobiles, the old city is
quite recognizable. There are many other
pictures on this web site from Tomaszov,
including the cemetery, mezzuzah niches
in door frames and buildings that look like
they could have been Jewish institutions.
From the Home Page, click on Photos and
enter Tomaszow (or just Tom) in the last
name field of the search form.
Tomaszov Mazowiecki ca 1900
Tomaszov Mazowiecki 2006
We have found World War I draft registration cards for Victor and Max, and Max served. Victor supposedly served in the
Merchant Marine but we have no documentation. Sam enlisted, falsifying his age by about two months. Sam suffered a
significant injury which gave him trouble all his life. Sol told me that he served in Panama guarding the canal, but we have been
unable to find any proof. However, we have a picture of him in uniform - go to the "Sol, Victor, Nate" page to see it. Nate, of
course was too young to serve in WWI, but was drafted in World War II.
The Pintchuk Family ca 1920
L to R- Rear:Nate, Ben Gateman, Sam, Sol, Victor, Max
L to R-Front: Manny Gateman (age 9), Sarah,
Mollie Gateman (age 7), Ethel, Belle
By the April, 1930 census, the entire family had left Youngstown. Sarah, Sol, Max, Belle, and Sam were married and all the third
generation children had been born. Sarah, Max and Belle and their families lived in Cleveland. Sam's wife, Sarah and their
children also lived in Cleveland, but Sam was in Los Angeles preparing to move the family there. He has not been located in the
1930 census. Sol lived in Chicago with his family. Victor was living with Belle, and Nate was nowhere to be found.
Sol, Victor and Nate have no living descendants. Sarah, Max, Belle and Sam have living descendants and further information
about them is password controlled. To learn more about each of them click on "BACK TO TOP" below and then click on the the
1. Columbia Journalism Review, www.cjr.org
2. "THESE ARE THE NAMES, The History of the Jews of Greater Youngstown, Ohio 1865 to 1990", Irving E. Ozer, Pg. 44
3. Op cit, pg. 77
4. "JEWISH CEMETERIES OF MAHONING COUNTY, OHIO", Mahoning County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Pgs 109-110
Naftali submitted his Declaration of Intention to apply for citizenship in April, 1905, before the arrival of the rest of the family. The
Petition for Naturalization was submitted on May 30, 1907. In response to its question about children, he included six, omitting
Sarah for unknown reasons. Sarah was 16 years old and not yet married. He did not take the Oath of Allegiance, the "second
papers", until May 8, 1914, 22 days before the expiration of the 7 years allowed. Citizenship was granted as of May 8, 1914.
Over the next 28 years, each of the six children used the Certificate of Naturalization to register their citizenship, as evidenced by
six dated stamps on the Certificate.
The Descendants of Yeshayahu and
Yahrtzeit Plaque for
Migrations of the Pintchuk family