My name is Ella Romm. I was born in 1966, in a small Russian town of the Rostov-on-Don region, named Sholokhovskiy. My father Yuliy Vaysman relocated to Sholokhovskiy from Kishinev, Moldova, where he was born, spent his childhood and early adulthood. In 1993, my family immigrated to the United States. I had been living in New York for 15 years and then moved to San Diego, California in 2007. My passion for genealogy started with building my own family tree in 2010. I was inspired by the stories heard from my father and his mother Anna Meites. When I decided to expand to a wider Kishinev family tree, the research was inflated to all the relatives by marriages. Now, there are more than 5200 people in my tree. More than half of them are from Bessarabia.
As a result of my genealogical studies, several books were published. 'My Jewish Bessarabian Roots' (two volumes about Vaysman and Meites families) and 'Eliyahu Meitus: A Grandniece's Book about a Hebrew Poet'. I also published my father's memoirs 'From Bessarabia to...'
My tree has over 1800 records of birth, marriage, and death. Many records in this book were collected from these websites:
Yad Vashem is Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust (Shoa in Hebrew), established in 1953.
Yad Vashem collects data mostly provided by the victims' relatives. Their testimonials give incredible information not only about the victims but on their families as well.
JewishGen is an international electronic resource for Jewish genealogy founded in 1987. It was the main source of records in my tree. As a volunteer, I helped JewishGen in recording translation from Russian to English. I also participated in the Famous Bessarabian People project and translated materials about the Kishinev ghetto. In many cases, I used help from my husband Michael Romm, who also took part in the publishing of this book.
The other three websites are online genealogy platforms that give users the opportunity to create family trees and search billions of global historical records.
I also collected information from other people's researches or just from surfing the web.
The people in my tree can be divided into two groups: the long-time residents of Kishinev and those who moved into the city from the other towns and shtetels more recently. Mostly, those migrations happened at the turn of the 20th century due to marriages or in attempts to improve the quality of life.
Today Kishinev is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Moldova. However, throughout its history, the city belonged to a number of counties. Since its foundation in 1436, it was a part of the Principality of Moldavia under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire; from 1812 to 1918 - the capital of Bessarabia, a province of Russia; from 1918 to 1940 - a provincial town of Romania; from 1940 to 1991 - the capital of Moldavian Republic of the USSR. First Jewish families appeared in Moldova in the 14th or 15th centuries. There are no reliable documents from those times that I could locate. Therefore this book will cover the period from the end of the 18th century to the end of World War Two.
Brides and grooms were arriving in Kishinev from the towns of Bessarabia, Ukraine, Belorussia, and even Litva. Besides Kishinev, many other cities and shtetls are mentioned in my tree.
There are about 300 different last names in the tree. Most of them are typical Jewish names, but some look more Ukrainian or Russian, even though they belong to Jews: Chernenko, Krutologov, Lopatin, Vodovoz, Yeshanov, Khromchenko, Starikov, Beznos, etc.
The rest of the book will focus on some families that lived in or moved to Kishinev. My goal is to help those who are looking for their roots in the area. I will appreciate any feedback and I am available to answer any questions you may have. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also find me on Facebook as Ella Romm.
Сhapter 1. The Families in My Tree
I already said that some families have lived in Kishinev from generation to generation while others moved to the city from near-by or far-away places. Many families were large and extended and kept close relationships with each other.
The Vaysmans' family (1950s)
Here is the list of some Kishinev residents' last names from my tree:
And now for some examples of these families.
Yehuda Leib Averbuch was born in about 1790 and his son Yankel - in 1817. Yankel married twice because his first wife died. He had 7 children, one of whom was Geynikh Averbuch. Geynikh's daughter Tseytl was my great-grandmother and a mother of the Hebrew poet Eliyahu Meitus. Averbuchs were a well-known and wealthy family but there were other families by the same last name in Kishinev.
One of the oldest families in my tree is Brokhmans. Gershko Brokhman was born in about 1760 and his son Moshko - in about 1790. Moshko had at least 5 children and 11 grandchildren. One of the grandkids was Nakhman Brokhman (1847-1913). He and his wife Nekhama had 7 children. Their extended family also had a lot of kids but many perished in Holocaust.
A screenshot from my family tree on ancestry.com
The Dobrins family was decimated by the Holocaust. The stars of David on the tree leaves in my book represent those who did not survive World War Two.
The Zonis family is one of the largest in my tree. Volf Zeev Zonis was born in 1780. One of his grandchildren, Yankel (1834-1907), had 12 kids and 29 grandkids.
Another big Kishinev family was Goreshts. Gershko Goresht was born in about 1780, his son Yos - in 1818. Yos was a vendor of salt and had 6 children. One of his grandchildren Moishe Duvid Goresht had a grocery store on the corner of Armyanskaya and Leovskaya Streets.
Moishe Duvid Goresht
Moishe Duvid had a typical Jewish family with many children.
And now on some of the families of those who moved to Kishinev from other places at the turn of the 20th century: