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 Chaiken Family of Nezhin
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Leon Fine was the first from the family to immigrate.

The Voyage
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 be better.

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.

Where They Lived
Our Fine relatives settled in different parts of the country. Leon Fine settled in Philadelphia, his brother Morris in Cincinatti, his brother German eventually in Philadelphia also.

The Schnitzler family lived in New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York. The Dennisons and Kaplans in Philadelphia. The Eisemann girls lived in Philadelphia.

In many ways life was quite different from the villages in Russia, 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. The families perserveered and made good lives for themselves.

From Eva Schnitzler Cohen's Diary
"We landed in Philadelphia because my aunt's son, Leon Fine, was here. He had left to escape being a soldier don't know the name of the ship, it was in 1891. I was a baby in my mother's arms.

My father had come about a year before with my brother Abe, and sent for my mother with five girls: Ester, Becky, Jenny & Rachel and myself. (Abe lived in Wildwood and had a grocery store.)
When we landed there was a place here called Tours Hall founded by the Baron De Hirsh which took care of the new immigrants. Times were bad, so they sent my parents and children to Bordentown, NJ. where there was work for the grown children, a wool mill and a shirt factory.

Later on my family moved to Brooklyn when Leon Fine advised my parents to move as there wasn't an evening school in Bordentown."

Immigration Dates

  • Leon Fine...1877
  • Zerlina, Carrie & Lena
  • Eisemann...1880
  • Schnitzler Family...1891
  • David and Toiba Lipschutz
  • Morris Fine c.1897
  • Ida Lipschutz Birch...1921
  • Samuel Eisemann...1926
  • German Fain...1927
  • Eva Shereshewsky Topaz...1928

Two Brothers Who Never Met

As Leon Fine immigrated in 1877 and his younger brother Gershon (German) was born in 1881 in Bialystok, the two never met in Eastern Europe.

German left Russia in 1927. leaving a wife and two sons there. He came out of Russia and into Mexico where he married an American woman to gain entry into the states.

He divorced the woman and left for Philadelphia. German arrived in Philadelphia just a few weeks after his brother Leon passed away. Hence, two brothers who never met.