The history of the MILLER family from its MELAMED roots to its Millard, Turow, Shankman, Skolnik, Chargo, Albert, Shargorodsky, Kraznitskie, Goldenberg and Golden branches . . . . plus a lot of other limbs too! The FAMILY SURNAMES listed in the menu are the FIRST-WAVE of our ancestors to arrive in America. Other first-wave names may be added as research expands to other first-wavers who married into the families. I hope you find information about your ancestors on this website.
This website is dedicated to the memory and honor of all ancestors and descendants of Broukh Gadalev MELAMED, citizen of Rechitsa uezd (district) in the Minsk guberniaya (province) of the Russian Empire, that is today in southern Belarus, Ukraine, Russia.
The Avrum branch
Our European Roots
Our ancestors lived in the Russian Empire in the 1800’s. They were oppressed by the Tzarist Regime’s anti-Jewish policies and Progroms. They escaped from Europe, legally or illegally, and made their way to America and Argentenia (and possibly other countries). These ancestors are the ‘First Wave’ roots of our American family heritage. The extraordinary and bold actions by our ancestors in venturing into the unknown has given us our American heritage. If not for their courage we might not be here today.
The origin of the MELAMED family is documented to the town (Shetl) of Mayzr (Mozyr), Province (Gubernia) of Minsk, in Ukraine, Russia. Geographic area maps and information help explain the geo-political area that changed over the decades. They were Sephardic Jews. Historically the Sepharic Jews, until the 1400’s, lived in Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East. Until the 1400’s, these areas were controlled by Muslims, who generally allowed Jews to live in peace. When the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 many migrated north. It is believed our MELAMED ancestors were part of this exodus, eventually settling in what was called the Jewish Pale Of Settlement.
An interesting challenge relates to Jewish surnames. Historically they did not have them until either the middle ages (Sephardic Jews) or about 1800 (Ashkenazi Jews). “Different historical events account for this. Between 1880 and 1924, over two million Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews immigrated to America from the Russian Empire, where repeated pogroms made life untenable. They came from Jewish diaspora communities in the Russian Pale of Settlement (the territory where Jews were permitted to live in the Russian Empire, encompassing modern Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova), the vast majority of them entering America through the Port of New York, at Ellis Island.
Many of these Jewish immigrants had strange, foreign-sounding surnames, very different from the surnames of their American-born children and grandchildren. How did these immigrants originally obtain their Russian or Eastern European surnames? Where did they get them from, and how long did they have them? When, where, and why were they changed? That is the topic of this review article, JewishSurnames in the Russian Empire | Surname DNA Journal (2.3MB PDF) and some of the questions that it is intended to address.”
Russian Pogroms*, World War’s I and II caused the destruction of most towns and most, if not all, of those relatives who remained in Europe. Most civil records were destroyed; most but not all. Genealogy researchers are discovering that many records still exist. Many of our ancestors birth, death, marriage and civic records still exist in the archives of Kiev, and other cities. Many historical documents are being preserved on microfilm or on the Internet. Since most records are in Russian or Yiddish it is difficult to do ‘easy’ research. But as these documents become translated by genealogical researchers even more family history may be discovered.
*Pogrom is a Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.” Historically, the term refers to violent attacks by local non-Jewish populations on Jews in the Russian Empire and in other countries. The first such incident to be labeled a pogrom is believed to be anti-Jewish rioting in Odessa in 1821. Source: www.ushmm.org
Existing family oral histories, family photos, ship manifests, and Naturalization document’s have made it possible to discover and verify family roots from their Russian origin in the “Pale” to their arrival via the ‘immigrant ships’ that brought them to America.
Ship passenger manifests data, WWI draft registration and active service records, the U.S. 1910, 1920 & 1930 census records, social security forms, marriage, divorce, and other civil and family documents are making it possible to further reconstruct and expand our ancestors family histories. These records and documents allow opportunities for identifying information about past generation parents, siblings, and other interesting genealogical information that is often missing from our family heritage.
Stories about ‘the old country’ were not often told. From our European ancestors’ mostly unknown past we are able to present our American Roots so our current and future generations might have a more complete understanding of who they are and where they came from. Please take time to view these various historical records on this website. And if you discover historical documents or information not displayed on this website I would encourage you to provide them so I may add them, thus enriching our family history for future generations.
Our American Roots
Many of our ancestors arrived during the period of the immigrant exodus from Eastern Europe between 1880-1920’s before restrictive American immigration laws were passed. Those arriving from Europe, or via South America, entered the United States thru Canadian ports, Ellis Island, Philadephia, Galveston, and perhaps others.
- Most changed their names. See the manifest page to view name changes.
- Our relatives arrived steerage class accomodations. Read about typical steerage conditions.
- You may also be interested in the logistics of how some of our relatives departed Europe on their trip to America.
Those who remained in the Pale were subjected to the anti-Jewish pogroms that were prevalent during that time. When Congress passed the restrictive Quota Act of 1921, and the Reed-Johnson Act of 1924, virtually all emigration from Europe to America ended. Those remaining family members who could not, or would not, emigrate were most likely killed during World War I or World War II. What follows is some family history of our immigrant ancestors. If you were born in America as a member of the family you will be able to trace your roots back to the Pale of Settlement. More information on restricted US immigration policy.
Our ancestors paved the way for our futures . . . this website honors their memory.