below to view the pages for each family
Family of Nezhin
Family of Nezhin
Family of Bialystok
Family of Vilkomir
Family of Jablonka
Family of Glukhov
|In Eastern Europe, the
name Chaiken is pronounced Haiken
This family history project was compiled through a combination
of sources and methods. Wherever possible, the data used in
the previous book and this web site, have been documented and
verified. I have retained copies of the original records of
the following: Birth certificates/registers, death certificates,
marriage license applications/registers, wills, petitions for
naturalization, ship manifests, Social Security applications.
The recollections of family members provided me with the most
accurate and interesting facts. In 1994 and 1995, I made a concentrated
effort to speak with members of the family who could recall
the early days in Philadelphia. As new information was uncovered
from other sources I tried to verify it with the oldest living
family members. I have many hours of conversations which were
taped in person and with permission, on the telephone. Whenever
I mentioned the name Chaiken, the first response from the cousins
who grew up in South Philadelphia was..."of course, they
had the drugstore".
The majority of the research in Philadelphia was conducted by
Elaine Kolinsky. Elaine is a member of the Jewish Genealogical
Society of Philadelphia. She has an intense interest in genealogy
and was a major factor in building our Philadelphia family tree.
The time that Elaine spent at Montefiore Cemetery finding the
graves of the Chazanoff/Chasanow family, and her translations
of the tombstone inscriptions, enabled me to discover who our
family members were. The hours she spent at places such as the
Balch Institute, The Immigration and Naturalization Service,
The Logan Library, The City Archives and so on were invaluable.
Elaine also provided me with the where and how to obtain enormous
amounts of information. Without her direction, I would not have
been able to obtain the information or documentation that I
I was very fortunate to be introduced to Miriam
Weiner, C.G. Miriam is the first Jewish genealogist certified
by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She is an acclaimed
lecturer throughout the United States. Every three months Miriam
returns to former areas of the U.S.S.R and Poland where she
has access to the Archives, and special permission to conduct
research. During October of 1993 and February of 1994, Miriam
included our family towns of Glukhov, Nezhin, Sosnitsa and Odessa
into her itinerary to do archival research and ancestral town
From the first moment I spoke to Miriam, I was impressed with
her knowledge and her services; I knew we would work well together.
The concept of her company, "Routes to Roots," is
unique. We had never met personally before her October 1994
trip to Ukraine, but I had full confidence that if there was
any information in the towns or archives, she would find it.
When we met at Miriam's home after her first Ukrainian trip
and she presented her findings to us, both Alan and I were dumbfounded
with what she had discovered and accomplished. She brought back
hundreds of documents for the Chazanov, Chaiken and Zavelsky
families. It is amazing that today I can sit in our home in
Florida and have a copy of my Great Grandparents' Marriage Register
from Nezhin in the 1870's. We have over 500 documents for the
Chaikens in Nezhin.
Last but not least, the trip that Miriam and her associate,
Vitaly Chumak planned for us, was a highlight of our lives,
and one we will never forget. The experience of following in
our ancestors footsteps brought to life a part of the past that
we would otherwise not know. We thank you, Miriam, from the
bottom of our hearts, and we look forward to our continuing
With the help and direction of Miriam and Elaine, I had sent
out over 1000 various requests and letters. I tried to obtain
any written record that was available on the chance that it
would provide a new name or town. I spent countless hours in
the New York Public Library going through ships indexes and
manifests to document family arrivals in America. I have used
a computerized telephone directory to contact persons with the
same family surnames as ours.
With the growing amount of databases on the Internet, researching
census, immigration and vital statistics has increased greatly.
The final task of compiling all the data into the first a book,
and then this web site, was the most challenging. The task,
corresponds to that of a crossword puzzle, where one clue leads
to another. In the case of the family history, its correspondents
are the Sovel family leading to the Chazanov family, and the
Chazanov family leading to the Chaiken family. After all the
data was received and computerized the writing began, and I
could then see the relationships between the families.
This is however only a beginning. The research will continue
and the pages will grow. We hope all members of the family from
the oldest to the youngest will enjoy learning about their ancestors
who live on in each and every one of us.
Please see the resources listed on the Bibliography
Marjorie and Alan in front of the Nezhin Archives,
where our Chaiken documents were found...Photo 1995
on the Internet
When I first started to research in 1994 there
were limited resources on the Internet. Today, this has all changed.
With the Ellis Island Database it is possible to look up and view
the manifests for all ancestors who came through Ellis Island. These
manifests provide wonderful information on birth dates, birth towns,
year of immigration etc.
Also, now many of the documents from Eastern European countries
have been entered into searchable databases.
Birth and death certificates are available right from one's desk
with some states providing the information on line.
There are online groups dedicated to those searching various regions.
The Jewish Genealogical Society provides countless resources and
The Internet has made the life of a genealogist much simpler and
To see listings and links for some of these sites please click