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fauxklore
One fun thing to try is to see how far back I can go on my ancestors. The previous entry went to Izrael Itsko, who was born in 1826. Searching for his father, Girsh, gets things to considerably more tenuous conclusions.

The problem is that there don’t seem to be vital records earlier than the mid-1840’s. And the earlier revision lists are, in general, less comprehensive.

That said, I can find a Girsh FAINSHTEIN from Josvainiai, who was born in 1806. That seems likely enough, but I can’t find anything that has him in the same household as Izrael Itsko. His father is Shlioma and he has two brothers, Berko (or Ber) and Abram, with whom he is living in 1868. Berko would have been born in 1819 and Abram in 1828, which suggests that they might not all have the same mother. I can find a record for Shlioma from 1834, which includes Berko, as well as two daughters, Vikhna (born in 1816) and Rashka (born in 1824) and his wife, Leah (born in 1795). Shlioma was 46, so born in 1788. In that record, he has a brother, Abram Itsko (born in 1800) and a nephew (Abram Itsko’s son, Movsha Yankel, born in 1825) living with him. This record also tells me his father’s name is Boruikh. The most interesting thing in the 1834 revision lists is that Girsh (who is identified as 30 years old) and his wife, Leah (born in 1809) are living with Zelman FAYN and his wife, Dina. Is it possible the family name was originally FAYN and they, so to speak, got SHTEINED later? Or is it just coincidence? (I suspect the latter and that Leah was probably Zelman’s sister.)

The most promising record is from 1852, when Ber (now called Berel) and Girsh are both living in Kedainiai. It indicates both brothers are bakers, Ber lives in Viliampole and Girsh in Vilkija. That’s interesting since I can find a death record in Vilkija for Girsh FAINSHTEIN, whose father is Shlioma. It’s from 29 April 1877 and gives his age as 73 (meaning an 1804 birth, but that is well within the margin of error) and the cause of death as inflammation.

From the 1874 revision list I can find the children of Girsh’s brothers. Ber was married to Mindel (born in 1822) and they had a daughter, Meriasha (born in 1859), and a son, Shmerel (born in 1858). Abram is married to Chana (whose age is not given). They have a son, Izrael Chaim (born in 1866) and two daughters – Eyde Chaya (born in 1858) and Chane Mere (born in 1860). An 1874 record (which is tied to the same family registration number as Izrael Itsko’s) has a family headed by Iosel (born in 1842) whose father is Abram, is married to Etel (born in 1846) and has a son, Shloma Ber, born in 1870. But it seems that can’t be the right Abram, because he’d be too young.

Shmerel shows up again in the 1879 revision list, which indicates he is a semi-literate joiner, living in Kaunas and owning a house. I believe the semi-literate part means that he can read Yiddish and/or Hebrew, but not Russian. He apparently has a brother, Shimel Ekel, who was born in 1850. The interesting part of that is that in 1874, Shimel Ekel had his own house, was married to Etlia (born in 1851) and had a daughter Malke (born in 1874). So where are Etlia and Malke 5 years later? There is also a possible marriage record for Meriasha to Nahum GERMAN (which, of course, is probably HERMAN, with a Russian spelling) in Vilijampole on 18 June 1876. There is a 5 year age discrepancy, but that may be an error. Still, it makes it low confidence.

The problem is that the information for Girsh here in the 1874 revision list doesn’t make sense, as it has him born in 1813 and married to Etlia (born in 1816), which is all too young to be Izrael Itsko’s parents. I am assuming there is another Girsh, who is likely a cousin.

To make things even more confusing, there is a Shymel Shloma FEINSTHEIN in the 1816 revision list from Jovainiai. He was 60 years old (so born in 1756), his father was Borukh, and his wife was Manna Leah, who was 50 (so born in 1766). I can’t figure out how to fit him into anything at all. There aren’t any earlier records to try to follow.

I should note that there is a large FAYNSHTEYN family in Kaunas which has a Ber whose father is Girsh and whose son is Izrael. I believe they are unrelated, as they appear to be from Grinkiskas, but there may be a more distant connection.

It also appears likely that Izrael Itsko had a brother, Leyzer, born in 1834. Leyzer had a son, Movsha (age not given), who transferred to Cesiske as of the 1887 revision list. My confidence in this connection is high, because the family registration numbers on the revision list match (#94, vice the #18 which shows up for the 3 brothers). There is more work to do there.

To summarize, with relatively low confidence, Izrael Itsko’s father is Girsh, born in 1806 and his grandfather is Shlioma born in 1788. There is a lot of information that potentially contradicts this and it is entirely possible that Izrael Itsko’s ancestors came to Josvainiai from somewhere else that won’t show up in the available Lithuanian records. So I can only be confident back to 1826. That’s still further back that I have material for any of the rest of my family. Our history is still like a jigsaw puzzle with no picture on the box and missing half the framing pieces.
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