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 Zavelsky Family of Glukhov
"I will never forget the first day I found an actual document confirming that we were Zavelskys before we were Sovels. I came to understand that my grandfather had wanted to shorten his name from Zavelsky to Zavel, but when he immigrated to America the name Zavel came out as Sovel."
"I knew I had found my family when Julia Ballo wrote us that her mother Leah Zavelskaya had said, her father's brother Zalman had gone to America, and that they were always waiting to hear from him. It took 90 years, but the Zavelsky family was reunited"
Click here to see more Zavelsky images.
Click here to read Miriam Weiner's article on how she discovered my Zavelsky 2nd cousins living in Russia and Ukraine.
"Researching the Zavelsky family is an exciting and rewarding project which will continue for a lifetime"
This family history project was compiled through a combination of sources and methods. Wherever possible, the data used has been documented and verified. I have retained copies of the original records of the following: Birth certificates/registers, Death certificates, Marriage Applications/Registers, Notary Documents, Wills, Petitions for Naturalizations, Ship Manifest, Social Security Applications,Ukrainian archival documents, etc.

The recollections from family members provided me with the most accurate and interesting facts. I made a concentrated effort to speak with members of the family who could recall the early days in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, and to video tape and correspond with present day Russian and Ukrainian family members. I have many hours of video tape which were made by Vitaly Chumak, Miriam Weiner's assistant in Russia and Ukraine.

The majority of the research in Philadelphia was conducted by Elaine Kolinsky. The documents she found in the Philadelphia archives and the time that Elaine spent at Montefiore Cemetery finding the graves and Hebrew names of our relatives, 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.

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 and is coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy. 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, February of 1994, May of 1994 and July of 1994, Miriam included our family towns of Glukhov, Nezhin, Romny, Kiev, Lvov, Priluki and Kharkov into her itinerary and did archival research, ancestral town visits and personal interviews. When after her first trip to Ukraine for us, Miriam presented her findings, both Alan and I were dumbfounded with what she had discovered and accomplished.

Throughout her several trips for us to Ukraine, she has brought back hundreds of documents for the Zavelsky family. It is amazing that today I can sit in our home and have a copy of my great grandparents' Marriage Register from the 1870's. Not only did Miriam find documents, but she also found information on brothers of my grandfather whom we had never heard a mention.

Her thorough investigative skills and follow-through, led to the discovery of a Zavelsky second cousin of mine who lives in St. Petersburg, Russia, and several second and third cousins living in Ukraine. She pursued this project until she personally spoke with Julia Ballo, daughter of Leah Zavelskaya, on the telephone in St. Petersburg, and met and interviewed many of our relatives in Ukraine.

With the help and direction of Miriam and Elaine, I had sent out over 1000 various requests and letters for additional information. I tried to obtain any written record that was available on the chance that it would provide a new name or town. To document family arrivals in America, I spent countless hours in the New York Public Library going through ships indexes, and manifests. I have used a computerized telephone directory to contact persons with the same family surnames as ours. The videos and photographs that Miriam and her assistant Vitaly took and brought to us from Russia and Ukraine were wonderful. They bring to life a part of the past that we would otherwise not have known.

The results of Miriam's research is used throughout this web site. Without her work, there would not be a web site or the book that we previously published.

#1...The joys of genealogy...Our twin granddaughters with my twin second cousins who were born and lived in Ukraine until a few years ago. Raphael and Ilya Zavelsky and their families now live in New York.
#2...Kharkov 1995, Marjorie & Alan meeting thirteen Zavelsky cousins for the first time.
#3...Kiev 1995, Marjorie & Alan meeting four Zavelsky cousins for the first time.
#4...Nezhin 1995, Marjorie & Alan meeting four Zavelsky cousins for the first time.
#5...Lvov 1995, meeting five Zavelsky cousins.
#6...Marjorie with the vice-mayor in Glukhov at the war memorial. The vice-mayor is translating the Jewish names on the monument.
#7...Marjorie with the vice-mayor at the old Jewish cemetery in Glukhov looking for Zavelsky names on the tombstones.