Rome wasn't built in a day. The same principle applies to genealogy. When I first started researching my family tree, I didn't yet have the skillset to uncover all the records I needed. If I couldn't find something, I would leave it behind and continue onto the next.
This was the case with the ship manifest for my 2nd great-grandfather, Jacob Klane's arrival. Klane was originally Klein, so I was disheartened from the get-go searching for such a common name at the turn of the 20th century.
Jacob appeared in several other city directories over the years, usually living with my great-grandfather. However, I could not find him in the 1910 census living with any of his four known children or on his own.
The only information I had for his arrival to the United States was with the 1920 census, where he listed 1901 as his year of immigration. Although a good ballpark, years of arrival can be wrong, especially the more time that passes.
This was the information I had to work with. And I searched and searched and nothing. But this past summer, I decided to try again, utilizing the skills I had recently learned in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate program. Like I had before, I researched "Jacob Klein," and other variations of the last name (Klane was a variation on Klein). I set his year of birth to 1850 give or take 10 years and paid attention to the entries that listed from where the passengers immigrated.
But I also needed to think outside the box. I was maintaining old habits from before I knew better about names. Yes, he was always described to be as "Jacob," but that wouldn't have been his name before arriving to the U.S. It would likely be the Yiddish, "Yankel."
That was it.
I couldn't believe it! What had originally seemed insurmountable obstacle was solved with a new methodology in a matter of seconds.
And then I became really ambitious. What about Jacob's wife, my 2nd great-grandmother Sophie? I checked the following page, and she wasn't there. So I used my newly acquired skills a second time.
My 2nd great-grandmother wouldn't likely be Sophie back in Lithuania. Her grave listed her Hebrew name as Elisheva, which put into perspective why on my 2nd great-grandfather Jacob's death record that I ordered from the Massachusetts Archives she was listed as Seva.
Because I felt confident my 2nd great-grandmother would probably take a similar route as the family members who had arrived before her, instead of looking broadly in the "Immigration and Travel" database on Ancestry, I focused on the New York Passenger Lists. I figured she might arrive soon after her husband, so I inputted her arrival as 1902 +/- 5 years. I attempted many different combinations for "Seva" and "Sheva," including the wildcard symbol (*), which soon led me to my second find of the day!
I couldn't believe it. I had found my 2nd great-grandparents in less time than it took me to write this post. Genealogy is not a sprint, it's a marathon. With new methodologies, I was able to overcome these brickwalls and add these wonderful records to my collection.