Ellis Island Ship Manifests: 1906-1923

In the 33 years between the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (known to posterity as a "great reformer") and the outbreak of WW I, about one third of the east European Jews left their homelands-a migration comparable in modern Jewish history only to the flight from the Spanish inquisition. (1492-1808)

The paths of migration were seldom direct. The departure from Russia, Poland, Romania, and Austria-Hungary can be traced along four main routes:

  1. Jews coming from the Ukraine and southern Russia would usually cross the Austro-Hungarian border illegally, travel by train to Vienna or Berlin, and regroup themselves for the journey to one of the major ports of embarkation: Hamburg and Bremen in Germany, Rotterdam and Amsterdam in Holland, and Antwerp in Belgium;
  2. Jews emigrating from western or northwestern Russia would surreptitiously cross the German border and proceed to Berlin and then the northern ports;
  3. Jews from the Austro-Hungarian empire would legally cross the German border, journey to Berlin, and there join with the mass of Jews from Russia to proceed to the ports;
  4. Jews from Romania, whose mass migration first began in 1899, traveled mostly through Vienna, Frankfurt am Main, and then the Holland ports, though a few took the sea voyage from Trieste or Fiume.

[source: "World of Our Fathers" by Irving Howe, p. 28. Publisher: Schocken; Revised edition (January 3, 1990)

Over twenty-three million immigrants came to America in the period 1880-1919. For those Eastern European Jews who chose to escape the persecution of their homeland and immigrate to America there was no turning back. In 1851, only one immigrant from Russia was admitted to the United States. In 1890, 35,600 Russian immigrants arrived in the United States; and by 1907 over 259,000 Russian immigrants escaping the “Pale” came to the United States to seek refuge from persecution and economic hardship. The persecutions provided the impetus for mass emigration and political activism among Russian Jews. More than two million of them fled Russia between 1880 and 1920.

The flight of the European Jewish immigrants was spurred not only by economic exigencies but also by the systematic persecution of an antagonistic government. They could not return to their homeland; few carried with them nostalgic memories of a beloved mother country. John W. Foster, U.S. Ambassador to St. Petersburg, compared the situation of the Jews in Russia to the barbarities of the Dark Ages.

From The Shtetl To The Tenement: The East European Jews and America, A Social History 1850-1925, by Jay M. Brown, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home.

The manifest image contains additional clues not found in the database that may help you determine a family connection. Look at who the passenger was travelling with, what town they came from, where they departed from and their final destination in the U.S., whether they had been to America before. The job of interpreting possible clues or variations in spelling is left to you - the individual researcher.

July 21, 1906 (family sailing from Liverpool, July 14, 1906 to NY, Name of Ship: "The Etruria")

0012. Blumin, Hirsh M 30y M Russian, Hebrew Nowogord (Harry Blumin)
0013. Blumin, Stise F 31y M Russian, Hebrew Nowogord (Stella Blumin)
0014. Blumin, Chaje F 4y S Russian, Hebrew Nowogord (Lillian Blumin)
0015. Blumin, Pesche M 3y S Russian, Hebrew Nowogord (Harry M. Blumin)
0016. Blumin, Moisei M 1y 3m S Russian, Hebrew Nowogord (Morris, a/k/a Sambo Blumin)
0017. Blumin, Aron M 3m S Russian, Hebrew Nowogord (Arthur Blumin)

They departed to Germany from Novogrod. The manifest described Hirsh's occupation as tailor. He paid for tickets himself and was not in possession of any money upon arrival. He was "going to join a relative, L. Lewin, 9th Street, New York." Aron became known as Arthur (father of David and Leonard). On the exit papers "Chaje" started as "Maja" (then Sonia at some point) and anglicized as Lillian as a young girl in Staten Island. Stella began as "Stysia," then "Stise," and finally Stella.

The exit papers from Germany read as follows:

Abram Blumin and Frau Stysia;
Moisseass=Morris a/k/a Sam, Sambo;

Notation: individual volunteers read microfilm copies of the original ship manifests and entered selected data fields into an electronic database. During this process, every effort was made to preserve the historical accuracy of the original document. Even in situations where a name appears to have been written incorrectly on the original historic document - the job of the volunteer was to preserve the integrity of the original, not to use a modern-day interpretation in correcting it (which would vary from one volunteer to another). A close examination of this manifest image revealed the correct spelling for the wife to be "Stise," not "Lisle" as the volunteer interpreted it.

June 12, 1910 (departed May 24, 1910, port of departure Libau, "The Russia". Libau refers the the German name for the town of Liepaja in present-day Latvia)

0005. Pekurowsky, Nissel M 27 ys. born 1883 S Russian, Pokurawky, Russia (Sam Baker, Passenger ID 101368170203)

Notations: Shows occupation as teacher, father is Jankel Pekurowsky, from Choinyky, Minsk, place of birth for Sam; final destination to visit Uncle L. Cohen, 550-552 Maxwell Street, Chicago, Illinois. The manifest listed date of birth and age is not accurate. Sam was about 20 years old at the time of entry. Using Sam's original Certificate of Naturalization of 3/2/1922, I personally examined his Petition for Naturalization, Certificate of Arrival, Declaration of Intention, which contained a certificate from Ellis Island attesting that he entered the U.S. on June 13, 1910 as well as his own attestations to that date. These original documents are located at the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Cook County Archives Holdings, Daley Center, Chicago, room 1113.

At the time of his Declaration of Intention of 1919 to become a citizen of the United States, Sam Baker was 29 and worked as a Pharmacist, residing at 1300 S. Lawndale, Chicago. He listed his date of birth as October 27, 1889. In a life insurance document from 1945 he listed his date of birth as October 29, 1890. He listed his physical appearance in the the Declaration as dark complexion, 5 feet 6 inches, 145 pounds, black hair, dark brown eyes. Sam's Petition for Naturalization, filed July 21, 1921 and Certificate of Naturalization granted on March 2, 1922, showed his request and the court order changing his name from "Schevel Leib Pekurowsky" to Samuel Leib Baker, then residing at 3636 Douglas Blvd. Chicago, Illinois. Max Meyerovitz, an attorney who was Goldie Baker Meyerovitz's (Sam's new wife; her date of birth listed at June 24, 1898) older brother, and Joseph Osman were witnesses to the July filing. Joseph Osman was the husband of Lillie Meyerovitz, Goldie's older sister. Sam resided in Illinois continuosly from September 15, 1913 to the time of filing for naturalization in 1921.

On March 2, 1922 Sam Baker became a USC and legally changed his name from "Pekurowsky" to Baker. He had a 6-month old boy named Lester and we know that his pharmacy business was beginning to prosper. 3 months later on June 23, 1922 he visited Ellis Island NY to greet his father, Jacob or "Jankel" and his younger brothers Sydney and Harry. From an oral history tape recording Joel Baker supplied we know that Sam departed NYC on the same day that he saw them for the first time in 14 years! Why? To return to his wife, child and drug store. A loving son, brother, husband and father, dedicated entrepreneur- all revealed on the same day. Sam Baker left his 4 brothers a little money in his 1953 will: $100 to Nathan, Sidney, and Max, and $250 to Harry.

September 25, 1910 (departed September 13, 1910, port of Libau to NY, "The Lituania")

0023. Pekurowsky, Morduch M 17y S Russia, Hebrew Choniki, Russia (Max Baker)

Notations: The manifest listed Max as a shoemaker; for name and address of nearest relative in country "whence he came," the manifest listed "Jankel Pekurowsky" (Jacob Moshe, his father who emigrated later in 1922), town of Choniki. The manifest showed that Morduch was "Going to visit his "Uncle L. Cohen, 550-552 Maxwell Street, Chicago, Ill." Louis Cohen was the husband of Gertrude Baker, Jacob's younger sister. Gertrude was the first Pekurowsky immigrant and settled in Chicago. Supplemental information listed Max at 5' 5", light complexion, black hair, gray eyes." We know that Max’s Yiddish name was Mordecai, and his nickname was Mottel. From Chicago, Max and Rebecca (his wife from Chicago) went first to Rochester and then to Bronx in 1924. Then in ‘34 back to Chicago and the whole family followed in ‘35 for a job change with the shoe company Florsheim.

April 14, 1913 (departed April 1, 1913, port of Libau to NY, "The Czar")

0004. Racinow, Reise F 42 M Russia Reshitza, Russia (Raisel Robinov)
0005. Rabinow, Frsim 16 S Russia Reshitza, Russia (Frank Robinov)
0006. Rabinow, Wulf 13 S Russia Reshitza, Russia (William Robinov)
0007. Rabinow, Boruch 8 S Russia Reshitza, Russia (Ben Robinov)
0008. Rabinow, Fanie 11 S Russia Reshitza, Russia (Fay Robinov)
0020. Pekurowsky, Itzko 17 S Russia Chmiky, Russia (Alex Baker )

Alex Baker (a/k/a Itzko Pekurowsky) sailed on the same ship as his Aunt Raisel Robinov and his 4 cousins; "The Czar" departed port Libau and arrived in NY on April 14, 1913. Notation on manifest listed "Gadelia Rabinow" as Raisel's husband-spelling her name on the manifest as "Reise Racinow." 702 Bay Street, New York, New York. "Gdalis Rabinow" (Gadelia Robinov) departed on the The Lituania from the port of Libau and arrived in New York on April 17, 1911, listed at 40 years old. Samuel Robinov, a/k/a "Simcha" on his passport, arrived in the U.S. in 1910.

Alex, who suffered from epilepsy, was a tailor. Sasha was his Russian name. He listed his father "Sam Pekurowsky" as a relative living in "Minsk gub." and that his declared final destination was to visit his "brother Sam Bacer" (Chicago Sam Baker) who apparently lived at "2105 Broadway, Gary, Indiana" at that time in April 1913. By 1922 Sam resided at 3636 Douglass Blvd. Chicago, about 35.4 miles northwest from his Indiana residence. Alex had $25 at the time of arrival. Supplemental information listed Alex at 5' 5", dark complexion, dark hair, brown eyes, Honiki Russia. "
August 26, 1913 (departed August 9, 1913, port of Departure, Triest, to NY, "The Alice")

0019. Pekurowski, Tznig M 27y M Russian, Hebrew Chojiniki, Russia (Nathan Baker)

Notations are somewhat confusing but confirm that this represents the manifest for Nathan Baker. It lists him by name on line 19 but the notation on line 18 lists "Jackob Becker" as "cousin" and that "Tznig" was 5 ' 10". We know that Nathan was the tallest offspring of Jacob and Leah Esther and was certainly taller than 5' 5"; most of the Baker brothers were about 5' 5". He had $50 at time of arrival. Listed as "farm labor." Nathan was separated from his wife and children from 8/9/1913 to ca. 1/27/1923- approximately 9 years 6 months.
September 19, 1913 (departed Liverpool port on the "The Lusitania", September 13, 1913; Built for Cunard Line, British flag, in 1907 and named Lusitania. Liverpool-New York service. Torpedoed and sunk off the Irish coast; 1,198 lost in 1915.)

0007. Blumin, Simon M 39y M Russia, Hebrew Reczitza, Russia

Notation: Simon was separated from his children from 9/13/1913 to 9/2/1922, nearly 9 years. Going to join "G. Robinov, 702 Bay Street."

November 24, 1913 (departed November 15, 1913 sailing from Liverpool, "S.S. "Carmania")

0016. Persin, Chaja F 35y M Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Ida Sarah Blumin, Passenger ID100803030120)
0017. Persin, Hinde F 11y S Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Hilda Passin, Passenger ID100803030121)
0018. Persin, Ettel F 8y S Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Esther Passin, Passenger ID100803030122)
0019. Persin, Dweine F 4y S Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Dorothy Passin, Passenger ID100803030123)
0020. Persin, Sime F 3y S Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Rose Passin, Passenger ID100803030124)
0021. Persin, Berko M 11m S Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Ben Passin, Passenger ID100803030125)
0022. Persin, Juda F 7y S Russian, Hebrew Reczica, Russia (Julius Passin, Passenger ID100803030126)

Notation: Going to join Husband, 702 Bay Street, New York, where sister Raisel and G. Robinov lived. Ida's husband Abraham Passin arrived September 22, 1911 and changed his name after he arrived, but his two brothers kept the name Persin.

Until about 1925 the spouse and minor children derived naturalization from the petitioner, so Ida and the children (excluding Hilda) obtained U.S. citizenship on January 18, 1923.

1922 Petition listed 8 children and wife Ida. Abraham Passin was born Jan. 12, 1878 and resided at 1423 North Rockwell Street, Chicago. His wife Ida was born Jan. 12, 1880.
Naturalization granted on January 18, 1923.

Hilda 1 Jan. 1901
Ester 25 Dec. 1903
Julius 31 July 1905
Dora 4 May 1907
Rose 30 April 1909
Bennie 5 Jan. 1911
Eva 3 Jan. 1914 (born Wisconsin)
Sylvia 23 Nov. 1916 (born Wisconsin)
June 23, 1922 (departed June 17, 1922, sailing from Southampton to NY, "S.S. "The Mauretania")

0008. Pekurovsky, Jankel M 69y W Russia, Hebrew Minsk, Russia (Jacob Moshe Baker)
0009. Pekurovsky, Simcha M 22y S Russia, Hebrew Minsk, Russia (Sydney a/k/a Sam Baker)
0010. Pekurovsky, Herstel M 17y S Russia, Hebrew Minsk, Russia (Harry Baker)

Note: ship manifest corroborates Joel Baker's written recollection from his father, Harry Baker.
Joining relatives: Max Baker, Samuel Baker (sons of Jankel, brothers of Sam and Harry), 128 E. 113th Street, New York.
September 2, 1922 (departed August 26, 1922, Southampton to NY, S.S. "The Mauretania")

0017. Blumin, Aron M 18y S Russia, Hebrew Retchiza, Russia (Harry Blumin)
0018. Blumin, Rosa F 22y S Russia, Hebrew Retchiza, Russia (Rose Blumin)
0019. Blumin, Evsei M 16y S Russia, Hebrew Retchiza, Russia (Isador "Irving" Blumin)
0020. Blumin, Borris M 16y S Russia, Hebrew Retchiza, Russia (Benjamin David Blumin)
0021. Blumin, Moische M 11y S Russia, Hebrew Retchiza, Russia (Morris Blumin)

Notation: Simon Blumin is listed as Father, residing in Tompkinsville, NY.
Simon was separated from his children from 9/13/1913 to 9/2/1922, nearly 9 years.
Isador and Ben listed as same age; Irving was a year older.
January 27, 1923 (departed January 16, 1923 Antwerp port to NY, "The Kroonland")

0020. Pekarowska, Dina F 32y M Polish, Hebrew Jurewicze, Russia (Dina Baker)
0021. Pekarowska, Doba F 14y S Polish, Hebrew Jurewicze, Russia (Dorothy Baker)
0022. Pekarowska, Samuel M 12y S Russian, Hebrew Jurewicze, Russia (Sam Baker)
0023. Pekarowska, Heura Miza F 10y S Polish, Hebrew Jurewicze, Russia (Henrietta Baker)
0024. Pekarowska, Abram M 8y S Polish, Hebrew Jurewicze, Russia (Abraham Baker)

Notation: Nathan Baker was separated from his wife and children from 8/9/1913 to ca. 1/27/1923- approximately 9 years 6 months.
For Nathan's first son Sam Baker, records show "Samuel Pekarowska" appeared on the first manifest to be traveling with his Mom, Dina, and 4 siblings on January 27, 1923 using the name Samuel Pekarowska, the ship was the Kroonland. He was quarantined and crossed off this list. We know from Dorothy's tape that her younger brother Sam was quarantined and the ship manifest revealed that he was reunited with his family in about 6 days.
February 2, 1923 (departed January 23, 1923 Antwerp port to NY, "Manchuria")

Sam, Nathan's child, again appears on Feb. 2, 1923 manifest arrival listing, as "Szmul- 11 years old" (ship Manchuria departing Antwerp on January 23, 1923) using name Schmul Pekurowski. Thus, there are 2 records for the child Sam Baker. His father is listed as "Natan Beeker, Tompkinsville, NY."

0021. Pekurowski, Schmul M 13y S Russia, Hebrew Jurowicz, Russia

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