Introduction to Volume I


The Introduction to the Efron Family History is set forth in a separate book and describes how to use this multi-volume genealogy, with general information such as the origin of the name Efron, DNA testing and analysis, and other information applicable to all Efron families. The following introduction relates only to the Efron families who lived in the town of Amdur, or are related to the Efron family from that town.


Key Sources for Volume I

There are a few sources which are relied on extensively in understanding the genealogy of certain branches of the Amdur Efrons.


Sam Effron of Poughkeepsie’s “Saga of the Effron Family” genealogy [GEN029]. Portions of this appear throughout Volume I, and identifies in detail the descendents of Motte, son of Tsine of Amdur.


Max Effron of Arizona’s family tree chart. This family tree focuses on a Mashe, one of the sons of Motte Tsines and is a therefore an extension of the Saga of the Effron Family.” [GEN013]


Amdur, Mayn Geboyrn Shtetl, by Yedidia Efron. An important source of information about Various Efrons in Amdur, and other residents of the town – many of whom are related to the Efron family even though they do not carry that name. Portions have been translated to English in an ongoing effort to have the entire book translated. The entire bookin Yiddish can be read online in at the New York Public Library website.


Pinkas Amdur is a monograph written in Israel, post-Holocaust, about Amdur. At pages 64 - 67 is a list of approximately 150 Amdur residents (listed by street) who contributed in 1930 to a fund to support yeshivas. That list and other portions of the book have been translated but there is no project established to translate the remaining portions of the book. [MISC154]


Finally, I have compiled a great deal of information about Amdur families other than the Efrons, and this information is found in the “Other Amdur Families,” which is currently being edited for inclusion with the Efron Family History.




Amdur is in fact the town of Indura, now located in Belarus. The Jews called it Amdur. Why?  At least one linguist believes it was simply a corruption of the word Indura.  I disagree.  I cannot believe that the Jews, when they first began to populate Indura, could have mistakenly changed the town name so radically.  A literate people, compared certainly to the indigenous peasants, the Jews were fully capable, having all the necessary phonemes in their native languages (Yiddish or Hebrew), to pronounce “Indura.” 


My pet theory, which has little basis in reality, is that Amdur is a nickname bestowed on the town by its Jewish residents. This did occur in other shtetls  If Amdur is a nickname, where did it come from?  In the Romance Languages, I believe the translation could be a contraction for “love of gold.”  “Am” = love plus “d’or” = of gold.  This suggests a Spanish or Italian or similar influence amongst the early Jews to settle in Amdur and there has been some mention of that..  A pre-war visitor to the shtetl (I don’t recall who told me this) stated that the dress of the Jews was in the style of the Sephardim – Jews with origins in Spain.  After all, “gold” is a root word of many Jewish surnames – why then not for a nickname for a town?  There is also another connection between Amdur and gold – one of its important residents was dealing gold throughout Russia. Shael Efron’s story can be found in chapter --.


Three is a common myth that the shtetls where our forebears lived were “wiped off the map” in world War II.  This is not so., for example, shows Indura, and even some much smaller places.  Notice the street going to Hrodna -- the modern spelling for the city of Grodno. [Insert link to online map of Indura]


Shirley Hager has Amdur roots, and sent me two photos in January, 2006. One is of a street in Amdur. On the back it says Main Street, Amdur 1922. The other is a photo of her family and other Amdur people.[Verify and get copies of photos]. On the back of that photo it says Conn – 1938.


A modern map shows Grodna and some nearby towns: [MISC141]. Below Grodno 40 kilometers is Indura (Amdur) and a bit below that and to the left is Odelsk – the tiny shtetl where the Braverman branch lived. Along the west is the border with Poland, shown by a dashed line, and just beyond that, in Poland, is Krynki. Much further south of Grodno is and nearby Berestovitsa (“Berestvice”). To the east can be seen Lunna, Ros, Mosty (Masty) and the city of Vaukavysk (Volkovysk). Efron families lived in these and many other towns close to Amdur,  but there is no evidence to show if, or how, they are related. Another view of that map can be found at MISC146, where additional towns to the east can be seen.


A very detailed map shows ИНДУРА – the Russian spelling for Indura -- that is, Amdur. with its surrounding villages and estates. [MISC142].


In another map, Odlesk is shown as a large town, though this does not mesh with my understanding of its population or importance. In this map [MISC143], many of the Polish towns to the west of Amdur are shown. For example, directly south of Odelsk is Krynki, and in the bottom left of the map the “K” in Bialystok is visible, which is the meeting place of the two major highways heading in that direction.


Close by, to the Northeast of Indura, can be seen the village of Kozly, described in detail in Sam Effron’s Autobiography. To the south, and a bit to the southeast, can be seen Bereztovitsa Wielke and Bereztovitsa Mala. [MISC143].


A very detailed map shows the towns north of Krynki [MISC144] is 1:50,000. In the top right can be seen Indura, and Odelsk to the southwest. Though a map of Krynki, this image [MISC144] does not include the town of Krynki itself.


Another detailed map shows Indura in the top left, and the villages and towns to the southeast. [MISC147]


Description: Map of Grodno Gubernia nice details


It is worth noting here that  in the days of the czars, the Russia/Poland kingdom was divided into governmental units called gubernia. Within each Gubernia, there were further subdivision, called Uyezds. Each uyezd contained perhaps several dozen towns  Without exception, the nine uyezd in Grodno Gubernia were named after the capital city in them.  Thus, the city of Grodno was the capital of the Uyezd of Grodno as well as the capital of Grodno Gubernia. Amdur, or more accurately, Indura was located in the Uyin the district of Grodno, which in turn was in Uyezd of Grodno, in Grodno Gubernia.


Amdur is well-known for its famous Hasidic Rabbi, Cheikel Amdurer. His name was Chaim Cheikel, and because he came from Amdur he was known as “Cheikel Amdurer.” There does not appear to be any connection between him and the Efron family. Cheikel Amdurer died 1787 and lived his whole life in Amdur. He was the son of Shmuel.


 Hasidism is the topic of Chapter 3 (pp. 121-143) of Lithuania Hasidism, by Wolf Zeev Rabinovitch, forward by Simon Dubnow (Schoken, New York, 1971; ISBN 0 853 03021 9; a translation by M.B. Dagut (University College of Haifa) from the Hebrew original, (HaHasidit HaLitait) published by Moshe Bialik, Jerusalem). Amdur Hasidism was a branch of Lithuanian Hasidism. Rabinovitch regards Karlin Hasidism (from another nearby shtetl) and Amdur Hasidism as two of the three branches of Lithuanian Hasidism. (J. Lewis)


There was bitter sectarian strife between Mitnagdim (those who were against Hasidism -- Mitnagdim means "they are against") and Hasidim for 30 years. In 1781, in the face of Mitnagid "bans and boycotts," Karlin and Amdur were "the refuge of Lithuanian Hasidism." Rabbi Chaim Cheikel established a Hasidic center in Amdur in 1772-1773. He authored an 18th century kabbalistic book republished in Israel called Hayim v'Hesed (first edition: Warsaw, 1891). Renowned Jewish philosopher Martin Buber mentions Cheikel in one of his books. Cheikel died in 1787 and was succeeded by his son, Rabbi Shmuel of Amdur (active in 1798). Amdur Hasidism did not continue thereafter; Rabinovitch attributes that to Mitnaged opposition.  (J. Lewis)





Marty Meyerson asked me about my Berestovitsa connections in an email to me on 7/18/09.


1. One branch of the EFRON family seemed to have origins there. Eli Effron, son Nathan of Cincinnati/W. Virginia and connections in Kentucky and Tennessee are the US residents who emigrants from the Town of Berestovitsa were going to when they came to the US around the turn of the century. I still haven't figured out how these people were related, although relationships are written on their ship manifests. In some cases I’ve searched for but not found descendants of these immigrants to ask about this.


One of Eli’s grandmothers was Chana Mintchike, and she died Tevet 6, 1876 (5636), Beresterovich [GEN008-SD]


2. Sheine (EFRON) Kraselnick arrived in 9/28/1910 with Rochel and “Eli”, ages 27, 7 &3. They are going to Abram (husband), who lives at 204 Madison, St., NYC.  Travelling with them, also from Berestovitsa, is Esther Suchowitzky and her four children. Series T715, Roll 1542  Frame 294 & 295 (mis-indexed in Ellis Island database) List 13, aka Page 31 All family members, according to the ship manifest, were born in Berestovitsa and her parents, Samuel N. Effron, lives there at that time.


Sheina was the daughter of Shmuel Nisan, who was a nephew of Eli Efron of Cincinnati.


Shmuel Nisan had the following children, almost all immigrated to the US:


Unknown daughter. She died in the cold in Europe. Nothing else is known about her.

Jennie Kraselnick

Jacob Feld

Ida (Chaya) Seligman

Elie Effron>    

Harry Feld


3. Litman and Esther Rochel Braverman from Berestovitsa. Jerry Block's great grandmother, Fanny Litman, was born around 1875, maybe a little earlier.(Verify: Litman was both Fanny’s father’s given name, and the last name of her husband?)The known children of Litman and Esther were Chaime, Yosef, Fannie and Chaike. Most of them went to Argentina. Some of them later went to Toronto or New York. Jane-Ellen Schneider, Ph.D. is also researching Braverman from the area of Berestovitsa and had corresponded with Jerry.


My Efron ancestor who was a sister of Eli of Cincinnati was married to a Braverman, but he lived in a different, though close by shtetl.


4. In 1868 there was a Moshe Braverman, son of Yehuda (Yudel), who was born in 1841 and then lived in Berestovitsa [revision list]


5. Etke "Esther" Alte [ES; YAD073] Effron or Marantz [YAD073], b. Brzostowica Wielka (Berestovitsa), 1882, d. Holocaust, married  Mashe (Moishe) Efron [YAD014; YAD074; YAD075; YAD076] He is possibly the son of  Judel Effron identified on Max Effron’s (of Arizona) family tree [GEN013] (see page ___), and is presumed to be the son of Ephraim “Visranker” Yudel Efron (see p. --). She is the daughter of Motte "Matsul" Effron.


If my suppositions are correct, Etke and Mashe had the following 15 children:


Batya (Shoshana) Lisogurski (her entry here may be in error).

Avrom Ezra


Rosa Weismann


Shmuel David “Sam”


Donna Dembowicz

Yonna (Taible) Weisman


Esther Dovidowski






6. David Efron, b. Amdur, 1868, d. Sajaroff, E. Rios, 1940, married Sara Debora Lesnik, b. Berestovitsa, Lithuania, 1870, d. Sajaroff, E. Rios, 1948. She could be the same as the Devora Lasnick who was believed to have been killed in the Holocaust. See page --. He was the son of Motte "Taube's"


His six children all went to Argentina


Celina Shlime Fingerman


Catalina Gitel Rais

Elias Elie

Teresa Taibe Mazo

Raquel Pustilnik


7. Ancestry, naturalization, US District Ct for Western District of Virginia, 7/22/1921

Rebecca Roth, 29, merchant, , b. Indura 12/15/1892 and now lives in Norton, VA. She last resided in Indura. She is a widow. Maiden name is Rebecca Abrams, married to Israel Roth. Certificate of arrival shows arriving at Baltimore 2/16/1910 on the Main as Riwke Abraomowitz. On Memorandum of Continuances on 5/3/1926 she is Rebecca Roth Abrams. She was related to her second husband, who was also an Abramowitz "Abrams" and who is "closely" related to me.


SS Main, arriving Baltimore 2/16/1910, Riwke Abramowitz, 20 and single. She leaves her mother Rachel Abramowitz in Prestowitz [Berestovitsa], which is where she last lived and where she was born. She is going to her brother in law, E. Effron, at 521 Smith St. in Cincinnati. See also Jacob (Yankel Effron) Feld, whose immigration history is identical.





Effron branches which may or may not have origins in Amdur – Volume I or Volume II?


There is a large branch that came from Amdur, which can be called the “The Heffrons of Boston” branch. Although some members of this family lived in Amdur, they are considered to be from Lunna because of the strong possibility that Benjamin Efron, the father of some registered Efrons in Amdur, is the same as the Volf (Velvel) Efrons who appear in an early list of Lunna residents.


The Daniel Efron branch (Volume 1, chapter 23, is known to have come from Amdur initially, though no records of them actually living there, and no known connection to the Amdur Efrons, is known.


There is a record of a family that had been living in Suwalki Gubernia, which has origins in Amdur. [MISC046] That family is small and did not merit its own chapter – They fit somewhere, but will reside for now right here:


Mattias Efron

>          Yankel Hanoch, b. 1877 (registered to Amdur), married to Kuna, b. 1880, daughter of Abram. Their family was relocated from Lejpuny, Suwalk to Mogilev in 1915. [MISC046] (All birth dates are within a year.)

>          >          Josel, b. 1910

>          >          Elko, b. 1911

>          >          Abram, b. 1913

            >          > Owsiej, b. 1915


Amdur cemeteries


Amdur benevolent society.


At one time, Charles Kleinberg kept the records for the Amdur Benevolent Society.


Amdur family name website.