Chapter 37 Arcardi (Israel) Effron of Vilna (Philadelphia, PA)


Israel “Arcardi”, b. approx. 1845, married Goda (Yetta? Odella? "Gertrude"?) Wilson [MAR-- -- verify]. One of his brothers went to Italy, and Andre, possibly a son, went to France (FSE).  Her father was Wolf Leib.


The father of Leon Effron of Philadelphia is Israel Aron (Aaron) Efron from Ivenets, based on the evidence gathered. From oral history, it is known that Leon had brothers named Boris, Andre and Mark, though there is some uncertainty whether they were in fact brothers or had some other connection. For Leon, it is known that his middle name is Arcardovich and it is a patronymic, such that his father’s name would be “Arcardi,” a common Russification of the Hebrew name “Aharon.” In addition, it is recorded that the father of Leon is “Israel.” Thus, Leon’s father’s name was hypothesized to be either Arcardi/Aaron, Israel, and very possibly both. One would expect to find some record of an “Israel Aron Efron.” In early April 2011, doing research on this branch in conjunction with a business trip to Philadelphia, I found new records posted to JewishGen which matched perfectly with my expectations – Birth Records for three sons of an “Israel Aron Efron” of Vilnius, with origins in Ivenets [BIRTH 043; BIRTH 044; BIRTH 045].


During that same burst of research on this branch in April 2011 I also found the immigration record of Andrew Effron, whose immigration was sponsored by Leon Effron of Philadelphia.


Much of the older generation information was obtained by Ed Effron from James Effron, son of Leon. 


Dorry related that Gertrude had told her: “We believe that Arcardo or his father had 2 brothers one in France and one in Italy, one of whom was named Hudine. Gert was unclear whether this was a grandfather or great grandfather.”  There was also something about an assassination attempt.  There are many similarities here to the family of Sergii Efron. Dorrie Effron created a family tree for this branch. [GEN018]


Acknowledgements: Ed Effron, James Effron, Frank S. Effron, Sr., Dorry Effron, Harry Boonin


Description: Arcardi Branch_Page_1.jpg   Description: Arcardi Branch_Page_1-1.jpg   Description: Arcardi Branch_Page_4.jpg

3 Left: Leon Effron

4 Center: Leon Effron

5 Right: Sarah Sheppard Effron; Sarah and Frank



Frank and Dorry Effron located the marriage certificate for Leon’s second marriage. It says that his father is Israel and his mother is Yetta Wilson. A Jewish family of the name of Wilson lived in Phialdelphia, according to researcher Shirley Palley. According to her, “My father arrived in NY in July of 1923. The family name was Woloshin (?). His siblings were already here and had had their name changed by immigration authorities (Wilson was President and it's easy to spell.). The siblings  lived in Philadelphia when he came so that's where he went on arrival.” Possibly Yetta also came from a family named Woloshin. Volozhin is a well-known shtetl, famous for its Yeshiva and close to Ivenets.


>              Boris


>              Andre (FSE) (or Andrew). Andre lived in France and was probabaly Leon's brother (FSE), although their age difference of 34 years (assuming that the Andrew Effron of ARR—is the same as Andre) suggests that Andre could be a nephew. Tentatively, Andrew Effron of New Haven, formerly identified as a possible son of Abraham Effron of Vilna (Eliashberg branch), is now considered part of this branch.


If there is more than one Andre(w)s who is related to Leon, it may be that there was an Andre Effron, a brother of Israel Aron Effron, and he is the same as Akim Efron, a member of the Legion of Honor of France, and a member of the family of Ilya Efron (see page --) [verify cite]. According to oral history, Andre Effron arranged for Leon to be the U.S. representative for Baldwin Locomotive Co., Phila, which was to supply the engines for the trans-Siberian Railroad. (FSE) It is unlikely this was the Andrew Effron who was born in 1898. Akim (Aaron) Effron, son of Abraham Effron of Vilna and brother of Ilya, Jean Effront, etc. was born in 1852 according to GARF001, or according to snippets of biographical data gleaned from online searchers, born in 1859. If he were born much earlier then he could be a good prospect to be Israel Aron of Ivenets, but it appears that Akim was not born early enough to be Israel Aron.


It almost appears that Leon and his brothers are the children of Abraham Efron of Vilna. There is substantial evidence for this, but in the end, it is well established that Leon and his brothers are the sons of Israel Aaron Efron, not Abraham Efron. Note that in the GARF records, one of the children of Abraham is a Judel who was born around 1864 – Judel and Leib are names that always go together [GARF001]. Abraham was on the board of the Libavo-Romenskaya railway – oral history informs us that Leon was an agent for a railway company. Abraham had an additional son named Mavrikiy – who was born around the same time as Mark. Abraham had a daughter (?) named Borisa. If there is any connection, it may be that Abraham’s son Akim (Aaron), who was connected closely with France, is the same individual as Israel Aron – Leon’s father. But as mentioned above, Akim was born too late (1852 [GARF001] or 1859 [various Google book results]) to be the father of Leon Effron.


According to oral history, Andre got Leon to leave Vilna because his views were pro-czarist and not compatible with the Bolshevic atmosphere. 



>              Mark Effron, b. 11/7/1863, Vilna [BIRTH044]


>              Leon (Arcardovich), b. 10/7/1864, Vilna (or Moscow) (7/23/1863? [BIRTH043]), d. abt. 1938 (FSE)  [~CEN00; CEN1017; ~CEN20; NAT–; CEN3146], married in Camden, NJ 11/30/1893 (FSE) to Sadie (Sarah) W. Sheppard, b. 4/1863, NJ, d. 3/18/1927 [CEN2050; MAR120]. “Arcardovich” was his patronymic. His naturalization is witnessed by Noi Horenstein (Florenstein?  Florsheim?) of Philadelphia [NAT--]. 


He was a dentist, and was still practicing dentistry in 1935. He arrived 6/13/1881 at New York.  Leon came to the US on a student visa and was one year at Penn (possibly where DDS was obtained) (FSE). (FSE says he did not come through Ellis Island). In 1889, he is listed as living in Reading, PA and practicing dentistry.  In 1890, he was a dentist residing at 411 So. 8th St., Philadelphia.  In 1895 and 1896 they live at 333 S. 8th St and in 1900-01 at 800 Pine St., and all the time he is listed in the local directory as a dentist. [DIR056]


He was appointed by the Russian government as a representative to the Baldwin Locomotive Co. (apparently through Andre’s efforts) and received a commission on locomotives sold to Russia, thus getting money for school – this per Gert (FSE). (The Trans-Siberian Railway was started in 1891, which may be the railroad for which he supplied locomotives – FSE.)


 In 1900 Sarah was living with her father and son, Frank S. [CEN0012], and in 1920 she was living with her brother.  Her husband is never listed. Sarah created a scandal by being caught in a liason, and it made the newspapers.  She was promptly divorced. (FSE) According to his second marriage record, the divorce trial took place in April, 1900.  Her second marriage was to Russel H. Conwell. (FSE)  Leon is listed in the 1900 census as Louis A. Effron, age 41, 800 Pine St., Phil (vol 151/ED80/line 118) per FSE.  Leon was still at Pine St. when he died. He lived at 333 S.o. 8th St. in 1895, at the time that Frank was born.  In 1930 they own their house and have several borders living there.


There was a divorce trial in April 1900. Harry Boonin found a short notation in a book from a doctor who testified at the trial.  The Doctor was Michael V. Ball, obviously a friend.


Leon was the member of an acting troupe that put on productions in the Russian language. In 1894 the troupe did a production of a Gogol play in Philadelphia [MISC118]. He was a considered a member of the Russian-Jewish intellectuals of Philadelphia. [MISC119]


>              >              Frank Sheppard, b. 5/13/1895 Philadelphia, PA, (or 5/18/1895 in Camden, NJ?), d. 12/1949, Miami, FL (FSE viewed birth record), married in Pittsburgh, PA abt. 1919 to Florence Spandau, b. 1893, PA, d. 1981 [CEN0012; CEN10?; CEN2102; CEN30?].  They lived in Pittsburgh in 1920.  His family lived at 333 So. 8th Street when he was born.


>              Married 2, 1904 (?) to Alice Blackman, b. abt. 1868 in NJ [CEN1017; CEN3146].


>              >              Amy "Gertrude", b. 2/6/1905, PA, d. 11/23/1992 [CEN1017; SSDI196; CEN3146]. She lived on Cape May, NJ. She said that Ernest Effron Borgnine, b. Hamden, CT 1917 (born as Ermes Effron Borgnino) was related to the Effrons, by his father who was a count (FSE).  She also says that there is a connection with the family of Houdini (Erich Weiss) or Houdine (the French magician after whom Houdini took his stage name). (FSE)  She has her father's birth cert (FSE).  She says that the family came from Vilna (FSE). She says that a Boston area Professor was a related Effron.


>              >              James Isadore, b. 3/26/1910 or 3/10/1910, PA, d. 5/-/1991 [CEN1017; SSDI242; CEN3146; GEN004], married after 1950 to Josephine Elizabeth Fleck, b. 4/26/1911, PA, d. 12/1968, Blackwood, NJ [SSDI158].  He lived in Blackwood, NJ. He was in WWII (FSE). She was previously married to John James McCosker, Sr. of Philadelphia, with whom she had six children, including Sally McCosker, b. 6/30/1937. Josephine was the daughter of George Jackson Fleck and Sara Ellen (McGuckin) Fleck of Philadelphia. Josephine is buried at Locustwood Memorial Park in Cherry Hill, NJ.


                Lev, b. 12/29/1864, Vilna [BIRTH045]


>              Euphem (This could be the father of the Russian poet Ariadna Ephemovna Efron.)


>              Bernice