Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 20: Fearless Females: Maternal Lineage Brick Wall

March 20 Prompt— Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

Oh! Is there a female ancestor who is my brick wall? Where do I begin?

All of my ancestors past second grandmothers are from Russia/Poland and together compose of a very solid wall. With few exceptions, and tiny clues, I know little about them. I'm lucky if I know a name! For the purpose of this post, I thought I would pick one with a higher number of clues and hope that expert genealogist readers who often amaze me with their resourceful might be able to chip away at her wall.

The woman in question is believed to be named: Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky. She is a the edge of my Yarmovsky branch. I learned of her name from the family tree I inherited from my grandmother Ethel.  If you are a regular on my blog, and have been following this month's series of prompts about my female ancestors, than you've heard quite a bit about my female ancestors from this branch precede Chaya Minucha. Being a maternal line, the name Yarmovsky, might not ring a bell so I thought I would explain the relationship and link to earlier post about each of the remarkable female descendants of Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky, I've already written about:

Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky is my third great-grandmother. Here is the family connection:

Me→  my mother→  Ethel Girlie Bogdanow (Bloomfield) her mother  Minnie Bloomfield (Crane) 
her motherFeige Kranowitz (Yarmovsky) her mother →  Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky (maiden name?) her mother

As you can see, this is a daughter to daughter connection. A pure maternal lineage.

What I know about Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky and the [source] of this information:
  • Wife of Vevel Yarmovsky (Son of Yankel Yarmovsky) [Family Tree]
  • Died relatively young, leaving behind a husband and small children. Her husband eventually remarried and had children with a second wife (name unknown). Chaya Minucha's younger children spend much time away from their step mother at Feige Kranowitz's home (their older sister) [Minnie's memoir, Stored Treasures].
  • Mother of at least six children: Harry Yarmovsky, Hillel Yarmovsky, Feige Kranowitz (Yarmovsky), Sara Kreigel (Yarmovsky), Rivke, Minnie Zacepitzky (Yarmovsky) [Family Tree]
  • Lived in a near Belitsa, Russia (now in Belarus) where her daughter Feige Kranowitz lived. Feige was not from Belitsa originally but from a near by village [Minnie's memoir, Stored Treasures]
  • Potential places the Yarmovsky family could be from:
    • Zhetel- where Minnie Zacepitzky lived with her husband [Zacepitsky family records]
    • Pinsk-where Hillel Yarmovsky worked at a Yeshiva [Minnie's memoir, Stored Treasures]
  • Minnie Bloomfield (Crane)'s hebrew name was Minucha [my mother, Ellis Island Ship Manifest], probably named after her grandmother. Minnie Zacepitzky's hebrew name was also Minucha [her grandson], most likely named after her mother.
  • Probably died before 1896 when Minni Bloomfield Crane was born. May have died at childbirth while birthing her daughter Minnie Zacepitzky [In Jewish Ashkenazi tradition, one is only named after someone who has passed away, not a living relative]
  • Belonging to the N1b mtDNA haplogroup which is the [results of my mtDNA test] and since I am a daughter of daughter, I've inherited my mtDNA from Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky. 
What I do not know about Chaya Minucha Yarmovsky and would love to find out:
  • Her maiden name
  • Parent's names
  • Information about possible siblings 
  • Place of origin
  • Date of birth
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Place of burial
Help and suggestions are most welcome!

To learn more about +Lisa Alzo's 31 inspirational writing prompts in celebration of Women's History Month visit her blog:  The Accidental Genealogist. It's not too late to join!

Don't forget to check out my new blog Ethel's Scrapbook!


  1. My husband has family from Germany and Russia, I do find the different language a challenge. How do you handle it?

    1. It's very difficult. Jewish Genealogy is my best source. I have some cousins who can read a bit of Russian and Yiddish but not enough to translate documents. We've hired translators a few times, but it gets pricey.

    2. Have you tried posting images of things you need translated on's Viewmate page? There are tons of people who will try to help with translations. Then you get a couple interpretations that can be helpful.

    3. I do like viewmate. People are very helpful! Bigger documents do need a better translation. I am going to bring some documents to the Jewish Genealogy conference this summer and hope to break some walls!

  2. Wow. I have only one thin little suggestion: Her maiden name could appear as the second name as one of her children. You could do a last-name search in nearby areas.

    Do you know @JenniferAlford, who writes for the In-Depth Genealogist? She might have some good suggestions, or know someone who would. Good luck!

    1. That's a good suggestion Mariann, though it was not a very common Jewish practice, but I've heard of stranger things. There was a daughter of a famous Rabbi who was so well respected that all of her children and in-laws changed their last name to be named after her first name. Very unusual but true. I know of @JenniferAlford, I'll send her a note and see if she has any thoughts!

    2. Finally had a moment to give this some thought. I've had the most success with looking at the children's records to try and find out more about the mother. Without knowing more I'd look at whichever children might have immigrated to the US. I have found marriage licenses that list the parents with maiden names, place of residence, etc. I've also found death records of the child that will say the parent's maiden names. Hope these give you some good ideas. is my go to for tracking down things in Europe. If you get me more specifics I can spend some time "on the hunt" for you (pro bono). Email me! jenalford at gmail.

    3. Thanks so much Jennifer for taking the time to look at this. Only one of her children made it to the US and I have been able to track down his documentation. That is an excellent idea. I'll try that. I also use JewishGen, and have had limited success, especially with the Yarmovskys since I don't even know the name of their village. I appreciate your pro bono offer, I will email you and maybe you can give me more tips for European records, I'd hate to make you spend too much time on it. Are you going to the Jewish Genealogy Conference in Boston?


Thanks for sharing your comments!