Zaval Shavelchik Family Story

My grandfather, Irving Isaac Siegel z”l, was a talker. He loved to tell us about how important it was to be Jewish, to get a good education and study hard. He talked about being a Litvak (from Lithuania; Stolpce Shtetl to be exact) though he was born in Brooklyn; with such great pride that I wanted to be one too. He talked about Aunt Molly, Aunt Sarah, Cousin Helen and Bubbe. And he reminded us often that his father was fluent in 6 languages. As a young girl, then a teen-ager, and as a young adult, I wasn’t interested in learning more about his family, my heritage. Now, as a mother of grown children, I wish I had taken the time to ask the questions and to listen carefully to the answers, so I could absorb our story and be ready to share it with the next generation. A number of years ago, a member of the Siegel family did ask the right questions and began to gather the story of the descendants of Zaval Shavelchik, my great, great, great, great, great (?) grandfather. This is compiled into one document and a facebook group was formed. Through this document I learned the story of our immigration from Stolpce to New York in 1899 on the SS Patricia. My great grandfather was a sergeant in the Russian Army under the Czar. He deserted, and basically, that is why the whole family had to leave Russia! I too am a talker. May my descendants be just like me (and Grandpa Irving).

Year: 1899


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