Rabbi Eliash-Hirsh (Elias1) (Eliahu Zvi) Pushkantser was born 15 Oct 1863 in Rumshishok (Rumsiskes), Lithuanian region of Russia. Rumshishok is near Kovna (Kaunas) on the Nieman river across from Poland. His father was Hilel Pushkantser who, in a second marriage on 25 Jan 1861, married his mother Chavka (Chava-Matla) daughter of Chaim Zodikov. Elias was the second child of this marriage. An older brother died at the age of three, but he had a younger sister named Paya-Molka (Fannie)[43, 78]. At the age of ten Elias is still listed as living in Rumshishok. At the age of 19 he married Chaya-Michle (Matla-Ida) daughter of Israel (Srol) Ikowitz/Itzkowitz on 21 Nov 1882 in Rumshishok. At the age of 25, after 15 years of study in Kovna, he immigrated to the US on 1 Aug 1889[197,198]. He first settled in Meriden for a few months and then in New Britain, Connecticut in 1890. At some point he adopted the name Rosenberg. One and three-quarters years later his wife and first four children (who were male) came on 24 Apr 1891 with the name Puskanzer on the SS Breslau from Hamburg to Glasgow, Scotland and then with the name Puskanza on the SS Pomeranian from Glasgow with a stop in Moville, Ireland to New York. Because of problems in taking male children out of Russia, they were listed on the Hamburg manifest as two girls and two boys. Arriving in New York they were listed as three girls and an infant, although the youngest was almost two years old. This immigration is also listed in a book called “Russians to America” as a mother with three girls and an infant boy. Elias’ sister Paya-Molka immigrated in 1905 and was met at the boat by Elias. He became a US citizen at the age of 42 on 4 Sep 1906 when he was living at 34 Willow St. in New Britain, CT. Elias and Ida had 12 children, of which one died at the age of five. There are photos of many of the children.
Elias’ father died of pneumonia at the age of 80 on 10 Mar 1913 in Rumshishok. Elias then brought over his 72 year old mother on 4 Aug 1914 on the SS Vanderland which sailed from Antwerp. She was admitted to the Ellis Island Hospital at noon the next day and died there five months later on 17 Jan 1915. Elias died at the age of 63 on 28 Oct 1926 and is buried at Beth Alom cemetery in New Britain. Ida died in 1943 and is buried with him.
There are 138 of his descendants in the Poskanzer Family Tree.
1. Another Elias Pushkantzer was born in Kiev on 6 Aug 1876. He immigrated on the SS Moltke from Hamburg on 5 Dec 1903 to Hartford, CT to his sister’s husband Hersch Horowitz. He was a cooper and then a cabinetmaker. He applied for citizenship in Brooklyn in 1914. I have not yet been able to fit him into the family tree.
- 43. “Lithuanian State Historical Archives,” 7/20/00, obtained by Olga Zabludoff.
- 45. “Revision List,” Rumsiskes, 1874, All Lithuania Database, 11/11/02.
- 49. “Marjorie Tiven story,” Martha Davidson, 1987, Sonny Poskanzer, Albany, NY.
- 50. “Rosenberg family tree from Marjorie Tiven,” 11/16/98.
- 71. “Ellis Island Passenger Record,” 12/20/03, Michael Gilbreath.
- 78. Email from Ina Fine, 11/06.
- 131. “Photos from Ed and Dave Rosenberg,” 7/24/05.
- 181. “New York Passenger Lists”, 12/13/06, 3/28/07.
- 193. “Hamburg Passenger Lists” 3/28/07.
- 194. Russians to America, 1850-1896, Genealogy.com, CD360, 12/1/04.
- 197. “citizenship application,” front, back 9/4/1906, New Britain, CT.
- 198. “Elias Rosenberg Obituary,” top, bottom New Britain Herald, 10/28/1926, page 1, newspaper.
- 199. New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, “Records of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry”, 4/14/07.