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The Myth of Ellis Island, Part 4

Hudson County, New Jersey, "Naturalization Records, 1749-1986," FamilySearch ( accessed : 1 January 2017), entry for Joe Freedman of Russia Poland, 1888; citing Declarations of Intention 1888

Genealogy Proof Standard Study Group Homework

Chapter Three — Evaluating Records


Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case 4th Edition Revised, (San Jose, California: CR Publications) 2014.

Here I begin to assemble and evaluate additional records as I try to answer my research question and not get “hung-up.”

In Chapter Three of our reference text, the author, Christine Ross likens the set of records we family historians collect about an ancestor to the contents of the kitchen “junk drawer,” and recommends that we “periodically...turn it all out and try to sort and identify each item.” [End Note #1]

So, what items (or records) do I have for my 2nd great grandfather, who started out as Yussel Wilkimirsky in the Kovno District of Czarist Russia and wound up as Joseph Friedman of Hudson County, New Jersey?

I found a Passenger List indicating in January of 1885, a “Jossel Wilkomirsky,” a 40 year-old workman from Kovno, a citizen of Russia, arrived in New York City aboard the S.S. Bohemia. [See End Note #2] I do not have any reason to doubt that this is my 2nd great grandfather, and, given his age, my thought is that this is not his first trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

Although I told you in my last post, that Alan, my cousin and Freidman-Lipschultz family research partner, and I were not able to find the naturalization papers for Yussel, I was wrong. Just as soon as I published that post, Alan alerted me that he had found what he suspected to be Yussel’s Declaration of Intention to naturalize on [See End Note #3]

As you can see from the picture above, the document [See End Note #4] does not contain a lot of information. The petitioner is one Joe Freedman of Russia. This only helpful to me if I can be sure that the petitioner, one Joe Freedman of Russia, is my Joseph Friedman.

I was able to review the 1887-1888 City Directory for Jersey City, Hoboken, West Hoboken, Union Hill and Weehawken, New Jersey [See End Note #5] and was able to find only one individual by the name of Joseph Friedman or Freedman or Freeman listed. His occupation is listed as “Peddler” and this is consistent with the information obtained from Bessie’s book. [See End Note #6]

Additionally, on the Intention to Naturalize document, “Joe Freedman” gives his year of immigration as 1872. So, what is the significance of the year of 1872 as the year of immigration? It is the same year of immigration given by Joseph Friedman on the 1910 census. [See End Note #7]

And how do I know that the Joseph Friedman, living in Bayonne, New Jersey, at 65 West 21st Street, in Bayonne City, New Jersey listed in the 1910 census is my Joseph Friedman?

Using the Google Maps search engine, I can get a photograph of that exact street address as if looks today. [See End Note #8]

I can compare that photo with one of Yussel, Tziril and their grandchildren, taken about 1910. If you look closely, you can see that it is the same doorway. We are talking about the same person.

Yussel and Tziril with grandchildren about 1910

If nothing else, these records can help me to form a theory about my 2nd great grandfather’s name change: that it occurred sometime between his arrival in New York in 1885 and when he filed his Intention to Naturalize in 1888. At least, this is my current thinking.

Thank you for reading! Comments, criticism, and correction of fact always welcome.

End Notes

#1. Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised, (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014) page 21.

#2. "Passenger Record," images, ( accessed 24 Sept 2015), manifest German S.S. Bohemia, 16 January 1885, entry for Jossel Wilkomirsky, age 40; citing "National Archives and Records Administration, microfilm publication M237."

#3. Alan Weinberg, on 1 January 2017, to Barbara Zabitz, email with the subject line: (No Subject), privately held by Barbara Zabitz, Oak Park, Michigan

#4. Hudson County, New Jersey, "Naturalization Records, 1749-1986," FamilySearch ( accessed : 1 January 2017), entry for Joe Freedman of Russia Poland, 1888; citing Declarations of Intention 1888

#5. William H. Boyd, compiler. Gopsill’s Jersey City, Hoboken, West Hoboken, Union Hill and Weehawken Directory, 1887-8. Pages 198-201; from “U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995,” Digital Image., ( accessed : 30 December 2016) for Joseph Friedman.

#6. Bess Waldman, The Book of Tziril: A Family Chronicle (New York, New York: Adama Books, Second Edition 1988), page 143.

#7. "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 January 2017), Joseph Frieshman, Bayonne Ward 2, Hudson, New Jersey, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 10, sheet 6B, family 112, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 886; FHL microfilm 1,374,899.

#8. Google Maps (https:// : accessed 12 November 2016), 65 West 21st Street, Bayonne, Hudson, New Jersey.

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