May 10

In 1887, Dora Joseph was born in Romania. She was the sister of my father’s mother. She came to America in the early 1900s where she married another Romanian emigrant, Jacob Goldberg. Dora and Jacob had no children.

In 1923, my father was born as Louis Sepersky. When Aunt Dora came to see her new nephew, she told her sister, “He doesn’t look like a Louis. He’s a Leonard.” From that time forth, my father was Leonard.

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What was my grandmother’s maiden name?

My father’s mother was born Rebecca Joseph, according to my mother and brother. I have not been able to find any information about her under that name, though, and as such, I have found no information about her parents and little verifiable information about her siblings.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered an alternative last name. The birth certificate of my uncle Ben from 1907 lists his father as Samuel Saporky and mother and Beckie Fakir. That must be them, but Fakir is not Joseph. “Fakir” is Turkish for “Poor”, so maybe she was just saying in Turkish (which she may have been) that they were very poor, and that was put down on the birth certificate.

Now, I have found information about what appears to be the marriage license of my grandparents. In 1904, Philadelphia recorded the marriage of Samuel Separisky and Rebecca Hirsh. Again, that seems to be them, but now there’s the name Hirsh, not Joseph or Fakir. Here’s another lead for me to search immigration and marriage records for her siblings.

“Joseph” name possible breakthrough

One of the roadblocks I’ve been running into is getting any information about my father’s mother’s family. She was Rebecca Joseph from Romania. I have never actually found any records listing her maiden name as “Joseph”. That’s just what my mother tells me it was. I can’t find immigration records, marriage records, birth records, nothing about her. I have first names of 4 brothers and sisters of hers, but I’ve never been able to find any records about any of them by that last name.

Pennsylvania recently release birth certificates for 1906-1908. I found my Uncle Ben’s birth certificate, from May 24, 1907. On it, his mother’s maiden name is “Beckie Fakir”. I know she was commonly called Becky, but this “Fakir” name is brand new to me. I will now try researching Rebecca and all of her siblings by that name.

When I do a Google Translate of “Fakir” from Romanian, it has nothing, but suggests that perhaps I want Turkish. In Turkish, it means “poor”. This is interesting, because my brother remembers Uncle Ben saying that his mother came from Romania, but wasn’t really Romanian, was perhaps Turkish. Intriguing! Must find out more.