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 Chaiken Family of Nezhin
 Chazanov Family of Nezhin
 Fine Family of Bialystok
 Geffen Family of Vilkomir
 Goldberg Family of Jablonka
 Katz/Hollander Family
 Zavelsky 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.

Family members
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 now have.

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 visits.

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 relationship.

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 Page.

Marjorie and Alan in front of the Nezhin Archives, where our Chaiken documents were found...Photo 1995

Researching 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 fascinating data.

The Internet has made the life of a genealogist much simpler and much faster.

To see listings and links for some of these sites please click here.