Believe it or not, we didn’t know our ancestors were from Lithuania until the past year. Christie’s grandfather didn’t know his grandfather and has little information about Kasimires Yurgelis, other than he came to the U.S in 1890. Luckily, my cousins Eric and Andrew have spent countless hours building the Finkelstein Family Tree with Ancestry.com. Eric interviewed several key family members during the 1970’s. Not only do we have some photographs, but also the name of the village, Cekiske, in Lithuania where the Finkelstein’s and Nodel’s lived.
“Finkelstein” means diamond or “sparkle stone” and reflects our forefather’s trade as gem merchants during the 1800’s. Our experience around Kaunas and Cekiske (check-keesh-ke) revealed that most non-Jewish villagers worked for Jewish merchants during that time. Continue Reading