|Our ancestors immigrated to many places.
Some to Canada, a few to China, a great many to Israel, South
Africa and England, and the majority to America.
Those immigrating to South Africa usually went through England.
Today, there are many Geffens living in Canada, England, Israel,
and South Africa as well as the United States.
The Voyage To America
Our ancestors came to America during the peak immigration years
between 1880 and 1924.
Despite the emotional pain of leaving family friends and home,
these travelers hoped that their life in America would somehow
They walked, used horsedrawn carriages and traveled by trains
to reach the harbors where the steamships departed for America.
Before boarding their ships steerage class passengers had to
take an antiseptic bath, have their baggage fumigated and be
examined by steamship company doctors.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s the cost of steerage class
passage was approximately $25.00 for each passenger.
Second cabin passage was $50.00 for an adult and $25.00 for
a child. Second cabin passage meant private staterooms and exemption
from the intense scrutiny upon arriving in New York.
One of the earliest Geffens to arrive was Abraham David Geffen
and his wife Anna Leventhal. They arrived at the port of New
York on February 5, 1884 aboard the SS India.
Where They Lived
In many ways life was quite different from the villages in Lithuania,
but in many ways quite the same. It was a clustered life, divided
into sections by nationality.
The living conditions were crowded and not always clean. Families
of five and six lived in one or two rooms.
Probably 75% of our Geffen immigrants settled in the New York
area, specifically in Brooklyn in the early years. Later the
families branched out to many other areas of the United States.
However, records show that a very early immigrant, Isaac Geffen,
born 1865, immigrated in 1885 and settled and raised his family
in Sioux City, Iowa. Also, Isaac brought his parents, Aryeh
Tzvi, born 1831 in Vilkomir, and Feiga Shrifra Geffen to Sioux
My own great uncle, Joseph Geffen, born 1868 in Vilkomir immigrated
in 1890 and settled in the town of Shandakin, New York. Later
my great grandmother Toiba and her husband joined him there.
Life was not easy for the immigrants. They toiled and worked
hard and many times lived in not the best of conditions.
We should all be very proud of our ancestors. Without their
hard work, we not all have become what we are today.
|Some areas where Geffens
have and are living now
Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD, Boca Raton, FL, Boston, MA,
Brentwood, CA ,Brisbane, Australia, Bronx, NY, Brooklyn, NY,
Broomall, PA, Buffalo, NY, Calgary, Canada, Capetown, SA, Charleston,
SC, Chicago, IL, Claremont, CA, Cleveland, OH, Colorado Springs,
CO,Concord, MA, Dallas, TX, Delray, FL, Denver, CO, Detroit,
MI, Dorchester, MA, Edmonton, Canada, Ellensburgh, WA, Encino,
CA, Forest Hills, NY, Geneva, Switzerland, Grapevine, TX, Hartford,
CT, Hollywood, FL, Honesdale, PA, Isle of Man, England, Johannesburg,
SA, Key Biscayne, FL, Kovno, Lithuania, Lake Worth, FL, Leeds,
England, Lindenhurst, NY, Livingston, NJ, London, England, Los
Angeles, CA, Melbourne, Australia, Miami, FL, Mililani, HI,
Minneapolis, MN, Montreal, Canada, Needham, MA, New Hope, PA,
New Orleans, LA, New Rochelle, NY, New York, NY, Newark, NJ,
Newton, MA, Norfolk, VA, Oakland, CA, Okemos, MI, Omaha, NB,
Paris, France, Philadelphia, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Plainfield,
NY, Plandome Manor, NY, Portland, OR, Powell, TN, Red Deer Alberta,
Canada, Richmond, VA, Roosevelt Island, NY, Roslyn, NY, San
Francisco, CA, San Mateo, CA, Santa Barbara, CA, Savannah, GA,
St. Louis, MO, Scranton, PA, South Africa, Southbury, CT, Southport,
CT, South Miami, FL, Sussex, England, Switzerland, Sydney, Australia,
Tel Aviv, Israel, Toronto, Canada, Tulsa, OK, Upton, CA, Utica,
NY, Ventura, CA, Vero Beach, FL, Washington, DC, Waterbury,
CT, Wellesley, MA, Westport, CT, Winnipeg, Canada, Winston Salem,
NC, Yardley, PA,Yoder, CO