Lara Diamond, blog author from the website Lara’s Jewnealogy, has shared this blog as part of our ongoing “How I Solved It Series”. 

This blog teaches us that it might be a good idea to research the relatives of your ancestors instead of your direct ancestors. Those relatives may be able to uncover stories and information in their records and family lines that you might not find in your own.

I’ve written about my grandfather’s first cousin Jack Landor before.  He lived an extremely colorful life and left a ton of documentation along the way.  (You can read about some of his crazy life at the following links, where he was caught as a stowaway on a ship and applied for citizenship of multiple countries, where he survived a shipwreck, and where he was deported from the United States before becoming an illegal immigrant by deserting his ship.)

Well, the latest documents I discovered about Cousin Jack show the importance of researching relatives of your ancestors rather than just your direct ancestors.  (And this isn’t just because Cousin Jack lived such a crazy life.)  Jack’s paper trail may have directed me to where my Diamond family lived before Biscupice (now Berezhanka)!

I recently received Jack’s service file from his time in the United States Navy.

Cousin Jack’s US Navy ID Card, 1944

According to his 70-page record, Jack Landor enlisted in the Navy on July 11, 1944.  And upon enlisting, he filled out a form which gives us a lot of information about his life–and gives a clue to the previous hometown of the Diamonds.

From Jack Landor’s Military File

We learn that Jack had lived in Palestine (this was before Israel was a country) for 11 years and Turkey for 7 months.  He also did “language study” in Italy for 1.5 years and Greece for a year.  He claims to have been fluent in Russian, German, Italian, Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, Greek and French.

He stated that his father had been born in “Horochow, Wolyn, Russia” (now Ukraine) and his mother in “Torchyn, Russia.”  His mother, Esther Diamond Landor, was a sister of my great grandfather Avraham Tzvi Diamond.  I’ve seen another mention of Torchin being the birthplace of a Diamond relative:

Uncle Leibish’s WWII Draft Registration Card

Another sibling of Avraham Tzvi & Esther Diamond was their brother Leibish (Louis in America).  His WWI draft registration says he was born in “Torchin, Waliner, Russia.”

Could Torchin (which is also now in Ukraine) have been the hometown of the Diamonds before they moved to Biscupice–where they were the only Jewish family?  Well, with two separate sources giving Torchin as the birthplace of two different Diamond siblings, it seems like I need to investigate.  (Interestingly, I’ve traced parts of my grandmother’s family to Torchin as well, several generations back.  Looks like all routes lead to Torchin!)

If you have a story idea or a blog that you’d like to share as part of this series, please let us know about it in the comments.

Lara Diamond
Lara has been a genealogist for about 25 years. She started in middle school, took some time off during college and has been obsessively doing research for about 10 years. She started her blog about four years ago as a way to write out the research that she was doing. This helped her answer additional questions and sort through the where and why. Visit Lara's Website
Lara Diamond