Posted in Ancestry, DNA, Galati, Genealogy, Haimowitz, Hyamovitch, Iasi, Jewish History, Odessa, Romania, Strulowitz, Weiss

Marks Hyamovitch Family

In the story of The Three Little Pigs, the 3rd and final house was made of brick ~ The wolf huffed and he puffed but couldn’t blow the house down. With genealogy we often refer to a brick wall in our research, that wall stops us in our tracks and can keep us from moving backwards in our research. But I huffed and puffed and with the help of this blog and a little help from a fellow blogger, one of my brick walls did crumble.

What I knew was that my great grandfather had family living in England. Who they were and what the connection was I had no idea. I also knew that he had a sister but we had no knowledge of her name or who she married. We knew only that she had immigrated from Romania and was here in New York with my great grandfather Samuel Haimowitz. The extent of our information on her was one photo and only a partial picture of her at that. So when I was contacted by a descendant of our English branch of the family I was overjoyed not only to learn of them but to have a wonderful photo shared with us.  Below and on the left is the “mystery sister” next to her brother Samuel and Freda, their niece, daughter of Marks Hyamovitch, brother of Samuel, visiting from England. They were meeting in New York for the first time. This photo was sent to me by a cousin stating ‘we think this is your great grandfather with the daughter of his brother Marks Hyamovitch.

SamuelHaimowitz6 copy

Later identification was confirmed by my family members as well as DNA to a new English cousin. That indeed was my great grandfather with his sister along with Freda Hyamovitch.

Marks Hyamovitch was born in 1880, Iasi, Romania. He was five years younger than his brother Samuel who was born in Odessa, Russian Empire/Ukraine in 1875. Their parents were Hyman Haimowitz and Ida/Yetta Greenblatt.  Tracking their movement from documents, we know that in 1875 the family was at home in Odessa, along the Black Sea where Sam was born. Some time prior to or by Samuel becoming 5 years old they made the move to Iasi, Romania, the hub of Jewish life where Marks was born in 1880. From this time frame up until 1898 I have no family information. Samuel married Rebecca Strulowitz, daughter of Samuel Strulowitz and Minnie Cohen by 1898 (in Romania)  At some point Samuel had left Iasi and moved south to the town of Galati, Romania. That is where his first son Hyman/Herman was born in 1898.

By 1900 at the age of 20, Marks had made his way to England, where he settled. Samuel had not arrived in New York until sometime between 1901 and prior to the 1905 which left the possibility of him traveling to England as well, before departing for New York. I have been unable to find any information on Samuel’s immigration or been able to track a route for him. So many question are still left unanswered. Had he possibly gone with his brother to England and then over to America?

Both Samuel and Marks named son’s after their father so I suspect Hyman had passed away by the time 1st grandson Hyman was born in 1898. This raised the question for me, where was their mother Ida/Yetta? Had she remained in Romania?

I am not concerned about the different spelling of Marks last name as Hyamovitch and not Haimowitz  like Samuels. I attribute it to location, perhaps a spelling error or assimilation to region if there is such a thing. I tend to think Hyamovitch may have been the more accurate spelling of their last name.

Shared with me by the family of Marks is the document below.

Aliens Order 1920, Certificate of Regerstration

17 April 1945


What a wonderful document. Even though his profession of carpenter is crossed off (why?) Marks and his brother Samuel both were carpenters their entire adult life.

His wife was named Polly Weiss born in 1882, Romania. She was the daughter of Sam Weiss and her mother’s maiden name was Shwaltz (info from family) and shown on document. I am unable to make out her first name.



From the descendants of Marks and Polly I learned they had eight children spanning a period of 20 years all born in London. This generation of children went on to change their last name to Hyams.

First born was Samuel b. 5 May, 1903 followed by Hyman b. 17 May, 1904,  Philip/Pinny 5 June, 1906 Jack b. 28 June, 1908 Annie b. 1912 Benjamin b. 20 March, 1912, Freda b. 1919 and Harry b. 26 March, 1923

Marks Hyamovitch died in December 16, 1962 in the Tooting Bee Hospital, Wandsworth, London, England. He was 81 years old. Cause of death was listed as 1a. bronchopneumonia 1b.generalized arteriosclerosis 2. senility


He is buried at the Rainham Jewish Cemetery, Rainham Borough of Havering, Greater London, England


A big Thank you to the members of the Facebook page ‘Tracing The Tribe’ for the translation of the stone. Their willingness to help, explain, suggest, interpret is always so appreciated. Member Robin Meltzer wrote;

Hi Sharon – this is the complete translation: “[abbreviation] Here lies buried/ Mr. Mendel son of Mr. Pinchas/ died 20 Kislev 5723 [abbreviation] by the small count/ [abbreviation] May her soul be bound in the bond of life.” The Hebrew word at the very bottom of the stone is “Shalom,” in this context, “peace.” His father’s name was Pinchas.

So two things jumped out at me, the first being that Marks name was actually Mendel which I did not know and the second thing was his fathers name was written as Pinchas. This is in conflict with what was written on the stone of his brother Samuel seen below.

So I posed this question or statement

“What is interesting to me is that on the headstones of two brother’s one said ‘son of Haim’ and this said ‘son of Pinchas’. Both brothers named son’s Hyman and Pinchas. I suppose the engravings of names on the stones is reflective of who is giving the information and not always the exact name. One brother was in the states the other in England. Again thank you all for the help.” 

Sharon – it is possible that the father had two given names, “Chaim Pinchas” or “Pinchas Chaim.” On the headstones you mentioned, is there a time period where one name is used and not the other, or do they switch back and forth? If there are religious marriage records for his children, that might help clear this up

I posted the photo of Samuels headstone


And the translation of Samuel’s headstone by Robin

“[abbr] Here lies buried/ Yehoshua son of Mr. Chaim/ died 18 Nisan 5714/ [abbr] May his soul be bound in the bond of life.” “Haimowitz” is the patronymic of “Chaim.” But people changed surnames, full siblings adopted different surnames, so proving that could be difficult. If “Pinchas” was in use earlier than “Chaim,” another possibility is that the father had “Chaim” added to “Pinchas” as an amuletic name later in life due to illness. But it is actually rare that even when there is good documentation of an additional name, that the amuletic name is included in the headstone inscription. Different families have very different customs for this.

I do not have an explanation for the difference in their fathers known first name. I still am partial to Samuel and Marks having sons named Pinchas/Pincus = Paul to us and Philip/Pinny = Pinchas/Pincus and son’s named Hyman as an explanation for tying the first name together.

Marks Hyamovitch 

7 copy

Marks and Polly with Annie and Freda 

MarksPolly2girls2 copy               Photo’s  courtesy of the Hyamovitch Family

Polly Hyamovitch nee Weiss

Polly .jpg

Polly passed a year after her husband Marks on March 13, 1963 at Middlesex Hospital, St Marylebone, Middlesex, England. She was 82 years old.





An adoptee who found both her maternal and paternal side 17 years ago, I began digging into my new found families past. The journey has been amazing connecting and reconnecting lost and found generations.

19 thoughts on “Marks Hyamovitch Family

  1. Such amazing work you have done! I did have to smile at someone going by the name Hyman Hyams—that must have gotten people tongue-twisted. The different names for the fathers on the headstones is puzzling, given that everything else points to them being brothers and that both had a surname meaning “son of Chaim.” It looks like Marks was 12 years younger than Sam—could they have had different fathers? If you find the sister’s gravestone or records, perhaps that will help clear things up. Great post, Sharon!

    1. Thank you Amy. I am puzzled too with hope always in unraveling this naming mystery. I am rechecking the dates. I was told he was born in 1880 with the date/age for the death that would make him born 1882 if I have this right, 7 years difference. But we know how dates could and can be wrong. Anything is possible with parentage at this point. ~ Sharon

  2. Also, as Robin said, he might have had two first names. My great-grandmother was always known by my mother as Bessie—I was named for her (my middle name), but my mother’s uncle listed her name as Fanny on his Social Security application. I was completely bewildered until I looked at her headstone which had her Hebrew name as Pessel Feige—thus, Anglicized to Bessie and Fanny. Apparently she went by both names!

  3. The photo of Marks, Polly, Annie, and Freda in particular caught my eye. Would you happen to know the occasion on which it was taken? I’m wondering about the veils the two little girls are wearing.

  4. This has been such a wonderful journey and opened up so many things for you. More puzzles and questions, of course! I would say that with both brothers naming children both names, there is a good chance their father used both in some combination. Now HE didn’t have a brother with one of those names, did he? But each of these sons is referring to the same man as their father, so ….

    I have found it sometimes interesting to see who gave the information on death certificates, or to tombstone engravers. Children don’t know everything, they weren’t listening closely to the family stories, or maybe they only heard something mentioned once in passing. It’s clear you’ve found relatives, though!

    1. Thank you Sue…naming person on his death certificate was son Hyman Hyams …and anything’s possible with additional brothers and sisters at this point. I have found relatives and I love sorting through this mystery mess of jumbled and repeated names ~ Sharon

  5. My great grandfather had the name Solomon/Shlomo. He became ill and was given the name Abraham. His passport from Poland had the name Shlomo. I am not sure what was on his grave. But two great grandsons were named for him. Both named Steven. One was given the Hebrew name Abraham Shlomo, the other just Shlomo. The addition of a second name was to confuse the angel of death. Haim means life. So that makes sense. What a great breakthrough for you.

  6. Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving! One of my cousins changed his name from Abeles to Aldor, probably about the same time he immigrated to the U.S. I wonder if he did it to avoid detection, or if it was just one of those Jewish things. Either way, at a JewishGen conference I learned that there are several reasons for different names in our Jewish history, and a lot of them have to do with politics and culture. I’ll have to look it up and try to explain it in a post.

    1. Wow thats sounds great, I would love to hear what was explained. My Tannenbaum family changed their name to Tanner and it was specifically to avoid detection with business and travel. It’s all so interesting. It’s hard to imagine changing your names for those reason today but maybe ~ not really? Happy Thanksgiving back to you 🙂

  7. Quite a mystery, I hope you solve it. I did my family tree some years ago and decided to pass it on to other members of the family to continue, but it was a lot of work.

    Have you tried the JGSGB (Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain)? They might be able to help. Presumably you’ve looked in JewishGen and Cyndi’s List?

    By the way, I’m originally from London and the hospital would have been in Tooting Bec not Tooting Bee. 🙂 Tooting Bec is an area in Wandsworth in South London.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and the wonderful comment. I have not tried the JGSGB but yes to JewishGen and Cyndi’s List. I will be checking with family in London about JGSGB before I reach out there and will be double checking on Tooting Bec – Thank you

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