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The last name that they went by when they came to this country was Spigel, but it was S-P-I-G-E L. When they came into the United States the guys would say write down the name and they were just in a hurry and they just left out the first E just for these two and thats all theres ever been. And the rest of the family, like I said, we have no idea what happened to them.
My grandfather was the type that he said when he left the old country what was there stayed. No nothing. He was not going to talk about it. So we only can assume that there were a lot of things that were not very pleasant and he didnt want to think about them. So I dont know that much. I have one aunt, my fathers only sister, and Ive asked her but she is almost ninety and she doesnt remember a lot now, so I dont know that much about why things were done. But I know that my Uncle Joe came first and it had to have been in the middle 1800s [1880s?] because Grandpa and my grandmother moved to Spartanburg in 1903. They were already married and then my aunt was born in 1906 and my father was born in 1912.
The Jewish Pale
Now, the background, my father came to Charleston init was probably 1884 or 5. Must have been 85 because he was supposedly born in 1870. He would never tell us but just putting together all of these things we figured out that he was born in 1870, in the town of Smascki, I think it was. S-M-A-S-C-K-I, and its on the map, oddly enough. I think thats how you spell it. He always called it Schumasky. But it may have been Kopcvi, because he spoke of the two and both of them are about maybe 5 or 10 miles from each other and there goes a little history, a little Jewish history, history of the Jewish pale. Which happened to be typified by the experience of his family. He always talked about Kopcvi and Smascki and wondered about that so we have a family tree which was developed by one of our cousins from Knoxville, Tennessee, whose name was Rose Gorse, the official family historian. Now, in that family tree, which went back to 1770, the family along about in 1792 changed its name from B-A-N-O-R to B-A-N-O-V, Im sorry, to Banovitz and I wondered about that and I noticed that they moved from Smascki to Kopvci or vice versa, along about that time. So I got curious about that. So I looked for a map of that period. Why did they move in 1792? So I went down there and I found out that in 1792 was the first partition of Poland, that this town was originally Poland where the name was Banor because thats the Polish and it became Banovitz which was the Russian, so obviously they moved, and I wondered why. Well, that was the partition of Poland, and the part they were in went to Prussia and they apparently didnt like the idea of being partliving with Prussians so they moved over to what in those days must have been a more gentle population in Russia. So thats why the name was changed to Banovitz.
F-R-E-M, F-R-A-M, F-R-O-M
We had to have this picture made, and they told us to be at the photographers, all the family. See, there were six siblings, my grandparents and six siblings, and each one of them hadI think we were the only ones with six children, some of them had four, three, or five. Everybody was there. Its a gorgeous picture. I have the picture at home, in my house. My grandfather and grandmother and all the brothers and all the grandchildren. One person was missing. They told the photographer and he said, Just save room. Well put [him in]. Send us a college picture. He was at Georgia Tech. His name is Charlie. Well, he calls himself Charles, and we call him Charlie. His last name is F-R-A-M. This is very interestingThey all came to Ellis Island and would give their names and the people at Ellis Island, of course, would translate it. Theres some in the family that spell it F-R-E-M, and some who spell it F-R-O-M, and some are spelled F-R-A M. I think were the only ones that are F-R-O-. I thought it was pronounced frahm but spelled with a A. So this man at Ellis Island said, If his name is From, its got to be F-R-O-M, so thats the way. But some of them are F-R-E-M. So when the Frems and the Frams and the Froms met at the photographers, everybodys in the picture except this one Charlie Fram. He was the oldest one and they left space for his picture. It was interposed, and everybody is looking facing the camera, and hes facing that way, so you can see its a very interesting picture.
My cousin comes up with a verya story thats hard for me to believe, how [our grandfather] got the name of Baron. He was a young man during the pogroms. According to him, my old grandfather and a few other young men took on the Russians, who were sort of raping the females and you know what, and they became the protectors of their little village. According to Natehe said that our grandfather and his friends took care of the Russians so well that the Czar wanted to see the leader of the group in Leningrad or wherever it was. When he got them there, he offered him that barony and made him a Baron. When he came to this country, they asked him what his name was and he said Baron so-and-so, so they named him Baron, so he became Joseph Baron.
When my dad, he graduated high school in 1918 in New York, decided that he was tired of writing his name Abraham Jacob Steinhauser andif you remember, if you went to school and had to do the Palmer method and write your namewhen he graduated high school he dropped Abraham to Abe, A-B-E, and Jacob to Jack, and then he changed that to just a J, and cut off the hauser and used the Stein.
I was raisedalways Jewish. We were very Orthodox up until Mother had to break up her home, you know, and move up to New Jersey. She thought that was bad luck, andyou asked me how we changed our nameshe was a numerologist and [through] her readings, she figured out, she changed my on to an, I was born G-O-R-D-O-N, and the Stein to S-T-I-N-E, to change the namethe spelling of it, not the letterscause that was going to change her luck.
Son of Abou
[My great-grandparents were] Moshe and Nechanah Abalovitz. Thats kind of self explanatory, abou in Arabic is father, aba in Hebrew is father. So the father of so-and so was how these names evolved, and then its the son of. When they got into Eastern Europe and they had to have surnames, it was Abalovitz, which is the son of Abou. That all went by the board when they got to this country, because the firstmy grandfathers brother, who came here first, took the name Levenson. Where he got it from, we dont know, but he took the name Levenson. It might have been a friend, or his sponsor. So when my father followed him, he also took the name Levenson. When he got to Ellis Island, [the officer] said, What is [your] name? and he says, [mumbling] Isaiah, and they said, Oh, well put down Isaac Levenson. So in this country he became Isaac Levenson.
Their [my mothers family] name was not Cahn. My grandfather, her father, his parents had two boys, and in Europe she hadeither my grandfather or my grandmother had a sister who didnt have any children, so one sister raised one boy and the other sister raised my grandfather, because if you had two sons, one went in the army. So one sister raised one and one sister raised the other. One was Kaplanthey settled in Chicago, that end of the family, and they took the name Kaplan. And my uncle took the name Cahn when he came over. C-A-H-N, which is strictly Irish. [Cahn is pronounced by Mrs. Schlosburg as Kane. Both Kane and Keane are Americanized Irish names; the spelling Cahn may be unique to this family.] They decided they would open a saloon, because thats a good way to make money in Baltimore. If youre going to open a saloon, you pick an Irish neighborhoodyou dont pick a Jewish neighborhood, you pick an Irish neighborhood. So in order to do business they took the name Cahn, C-A-H-N, which is Irish. And then they brought their family overthe two older boys came, and then they brought their family, instead of the father coming and bringing the children. Thats the reason Mother didnt come to this country until she was about fifteen, I would say, and then she was married by the time she was nineteen, I think.
Alter means old. The thing was, in the old countryand in this countryWhen your brother in-law, Sol Lourie, almost diedhe was six years old and he had double pneumonia and he couldnt make it, he was so sick in St. Georgemy mother and my husband took him to the Jewish synagogue and gave him a nickname Alter. They thought that would prolong his life. Of course, that was superstition, I know that, but my mother believed in it, and my husband was very devoted to the Lourie children. So Alter is not a name, its something thats added onto your name. Sol is named after my grandfather, my mothers father. Schlami Zalman was his real name.
Make it lesser
What happened was the Lessers came through Ellis Island. They gave their name to the bureaucrat and he said, Cant you make it shorter than that? They had some long name. So Mr. Lesser said, Well, make it lessermeaning make it smallerso he made it Lesser. Thats the story they tell. I dont know whether you should believe it or not.
You know that famous story about the family named Fergusonyouve never heard that? Well, when he came to this country the man was trying to think of his name, because you know they were given all kinds of names by the Russian officials, sometimes the most defamatory-type names in Russian. And so he came to the immigration officer and the immigration officer said, Whats your name? and he said Forgesen,forgotso he wrote down Ferguson.
I went to Leeds the first time in 1960 and I went to visit my fathers[he] had a sister whose name was Eisenberg. She had died, but had two sons. One of them had changed his name, for business reasons, I guess, from Abe Eisenberg to Alf Inglesby. The other one was Eisenberg, Jack Eisenberg. Abe Eisenberg had one sonAlf Inglesby had one sonand Jack Eisenberg had one son and a daughter. He had a little store in the neighborhood, [a] section of Leeds, for household goods and knitting and crochet thread and that sort of thing. The other one was a salesman. Anyway, when I went to Leeds I usually stayed at the Queens Hotel, [which] is always the big hotel near the railroad station in England, and when I checked in I picked up a telephone book and started looking for Laders and Inglesbys, and I found Addlestone in the telephone book. There must have been 150 Addlestones. I assume what happened when my dad came as a greenhorn to register, his name could have been Adelstein or something similar to that, and it became Addlestone. I guess thats the way they registered him, because all these people were from the Church of England, none of them were Jewish. Theres an Addlestone, England, right near Gatwick Airport. In fact, my cousinwho was just married to David Appel, from here at the Storm Eye Institutethey were there together and brought me pictures of the time. Evidently its a well-known name in England, because I got a picture from a brewery with three beer dispensers and one of them said Addlestone Ale. Somebody sent me a soap wrapper that said Addlestone. Its spelled the same way. Nobody here spells it that way. A-D-D-L-E-S-T-O-N-E. Ive seen it E-D-D-, A-D-E-L-, but not A-D-D-L-E-S-T-O-N-E.
Drop the t
My fathers half-brothers always spelled their name Breitbard. My fathers name became Breibart, we pronounce it Breibart, but probably when he applied for his citizenship papers he pronounced it Breitbard and thats how they spelled it, they spelled it B-R-E-I-B-A-R-T. So that was on his papers and he just took that form of it and used it.
When my Grandfather Jacobs got to Ellis Island (or perhaps Liverpool) his name was Isaac Karesh and when they asked him his name he couldnt talk English, he told them Yitchok ben Yankov, Isaac the son of Jacob. The man there said, Ill put you down as Isaac Jacobs. He said, All right. So his brothers kept the name Karesh. We are actually related to more Kareshes than Jacobs. In fact, I never heard of a Karesh we are not related to pretty far back. Jacobs, except for my grandfather and his descendants, thats the only Jacobs we are related to.
Well, the story is that Mr. Jacobs was really Karesh and when he got to the immigration department they asked his name and he said Jacob. His name was Jacob Karesh. And they assumed that would be his family name, Jacobs. Thats what they became, Jacobs. Jacobs instead of Karesh. Sammy Jacobs, who was a long-time historian, unofficial historian, he always said that was not true, he didnt want to be a Karesh, he wanted to be really a Jacobs. He resented that.
We always knew they came from someplace near Bialystok. And it could be that they lived in a small town outside of Bialystok because Bialystok was a very industrialized city and they could have lived there. But when I was last in Israel they have a kind of a computer system where for 25 cents you could plug in your family name and where you think they lived and you would get aand Ive got that report upstairs if youd like to see it. What Bialystok was like in those times. And instead of the name Karesh coming up, it came up as Kravcheck. One of my distant relatives, Julian Krawcheck, who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio, was a journalist and he interpreted Kravcheck to be Taylor. They were tailors. And there were a lot of tailors in my immediate family, particularly in the Krawchecks, in the Karesh family there were several people who had experience in tailoring. So it could very well be the name was Kravcheck instead of Karesh.
Spell it Read
Papas name actually was Frank Redt, R-E-D-T. And thats the name he used when he came to this country. And the ladies of Pinopolis were teaching him English that he never got fully, but he could make himself understood, believe me. And they kept telling him when he signed his name Frank Redt that thats not how you spell Read, cause they thought that was his European accent. And he finally ended up by going before a judge and having his name legally changed to Read.
His brother, Charlie, Charlie Chaplin, can you imagine, came separately from my dad. Ellis Island did the same thing on names, in his case cutting off everything down to the last five letters. So, there one brother who was Chaplin, another brother who was Linsky. They had a summit meeting and settled on Chaplin.
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