My personal quest after ancestry and genealogy began one morning in the summer of 1972 when cousin Rivkale and I sat down to question our Grandmother Bobe Eva about the family.
We were driven by simple curiosity, but the stories we heard that day became both the basis and the drive of our quest for Genealogy and Ancestry.
For the next 15 years these stories were actually the only information we had on our Barg Family.
We were already living in Israel and the slim contact we had with family in far away Argentina or the non existing ties with relatives in the USSR made further research at that time an impossible mission.
So we kept the records to ourselves hoping some day a miracle will happen and so actually two miracles happened: the invention of the Internet and the falling of the Iron Curtain and opening of information channels with former USSR.
The Internet gave us access to additional information and documents and we were able in the last 35 years to fill up gaps and gather more and more facts and information.
This page will try to describe step by step how we arrived to our present knowledge.
Being a site dedicated exclusively to the genealogy of the Barg Family it limits to stories behind the search and research of this surname.
Those interested in other surnames appearing elsewhere in this site are invited to contact me and if further information is available I will be glad to share it with you.
For those interested in my Maternal side, I hope in a near future to be able to build up similar Internet sites dedicated to the Tajman – Toker – Rasnoschik – AxmanChisinau and later from Argentina (my maternal Grandmother side) and the Maurer – Neuman – Streitfeld – Hitzig families from Borislav, Western Galicia (my maternal grandfather’s).
CHAPTER I – The Bargs from Odessa and Berezovka
If you trace your genealogy extensively enough – says Bruce Railsback – you are bound sooner or later to reach three conclusions that the rest of mankind find improbable:
- That you descend from a famous person who lived in the distant past.
- That you are related to some very famous people in the present.
- That you are your own cousin.
Although deep in my heart I believe that the BARGS are a special breed, I must admit I have failed so far to find proof to the first two statements and cannot brag having blood connection to Art, Science, Royalty or Money either in the past or in the present. On the other hand, the third statement fits me perfectly and I excel in it beyond any expectation, thanks to some of my ancestors who inter-married their own cousins.
Some Cultures regard these marriages sacrilege, unmoral or illegal but not Judaism.
Actually this practice was common among 19th century European Jews who were often married by matchmaking (Shiduchim), and for that purpose blood relatives presented a much easier and convenient pool of suitable mates than strangers.
In our particular case this is what happened between two branches of our family, the wealthy Odessa Branch, represented by Bobe (Grandma) Eva (1894-1976) and the Berezovka cousins and their delegate, Zeide (Grandpa) Simche Bark (1893-1949).
Familiar tradition had it that they were second cousins but the exact intricacies of their relationship remained obscure until that morning when we asked Bobe Eva the exact nature of their blood connection and were surprise to find that it was much more complex than that. Eva’s maiden surname was Berg. (the surnames Bark, Barg and Berg are interchangeable forms as you can read about here).
She was a first cousin to both her in-laws, Great-grandfather Yerachmiel Barg (1864-1928) and wife Etie Slovesnick (1870-1942), the three of them being offspring of three siblings: Great grandparents Zelig Barg, Shmuel Barg and Lea Barg Slovesnick.
In addition, Eva’s parents (Reitse and Zelig) had been also related between themselves and to their in laws [!] thus making our genealogical tree look like the blueprint of genetic catastrophe or the intermarriages of an European Royal House (aren’t these two synonyms?).
The inter familiar ties made us not only our own cousins but also third cousins, fourth cousins, second cousins once removed and third cousins twice removed to our fathers, Cecilio and Mario(!).
As Scientists (Rivkale is an Anthropologist, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Haifa and I am a physician and ex visitor scientist in the Weizmann Institute of Science) the fact we came out “OK” from this genetic mess (or at least seem to) is both a riddle and a miracle.
The picture that emerged from that conversation with Bobe Eva is the one in the illustration here at the left.
After getting their names we tried to find out their birth and death dates and this was done by asking Bobe Eva questions like “how old were your parents when you were born”, “how old were you when your GF died” or “why was such and such person called by his name”.
In this way we managed to obtain the approximate birth and death dates of the members of our family and found that Eva’s father, Zelig Barg, was 67 years old at the time of her birth (therefore born in 1827) while her mother, Reitse was 42 (thus being born in 1852) and they both died in 1922, supposedly from hunger during the notorious famine.
Some years ago I was able to get a photocopy of their death certificate, issued in Odessa, stating that both died on exactly the same day, a rather suspicious detail and much more consistent with being killed in a pogrom.
I should point out that the certificate states different ages than those given to me by Bobe Eva but I prefer to rely on her legendary memory rather than the accuracy of a Soviet clerk in the middle of the Civil War.
As mentioned, Reitse and Zelig were members of the Barg Family in Odessa.
Zelig had been the manager of a large store dedicated to selling oil, dairy products, eggs, grocery and agricultural produce bought from farmers in the Province.
The store was part of a comercial enterprise belonging to the enlarge family, consisting also of an oil factory, means of transportation and wharehouses in the Port.
The head of his family was Shloime (Solomon Berg) an elder brother of Zelig, who died shortly after WW I and was the reason for naming Eva and Simche’s second son, my Uncle, Shlomo.
Another prominent associate in the family business was Zelig’s father in law (and Uncle) – Bobe Eva’s maternal grandfather, who had died long before she was born, and thought to be named Meyer Shmil.
Zelig was Meyer Shmil’s son-in-law twice (!), as he had married two of his daughters.
First he wedded an elder sister, Sara Lea, who bore him 9 or 10 children and died shortly after giving birth to the last of them.
When poor Zelig nebech, a widower with half a score or orphans, he needed help and to his rescue came his sister in law Reitse, with whom he married and fathered an aditional 10 children (!).
Not all of these 20 children reached adulthood and besides Bobe Eva (the youngest, more than 40 years junior to Zelig’s firstborn) Bobe Eva mentioned a brother called Yankl, another called Meyer who died shortly after WW I and was the reason for giving his name to their eldest son, Rivkale’s father.
A third brother, five years her senior, Shmil, with whom she had a special relationship, emigrated to the USA on board the S.S. Caledonia on 1907, arriving to Ellis Island on September the 29th and changing there his name to Samuel Berg (you can see his Passenger Record here).
All these siblings, half brothers and sisters, nephews and other members of the near family lived in a large house in Ol’gievskaya (Olga) street, right behind the shop where everybody (including Bobe Eva) used to work after school hours.
The house was situated not far from the Sea Port and the children used to walk there to see the ships.
Unfortunately the horrors of late XIX and the XXth century, from Pogroms during the Czar’s Rule through WW I, Revolutions, Civil War, Famine, Soviet Rule and the Holocaust brought by Nazi’s invasion of Ukraine wiped almost all traces of the Odessa branch, except those cousins that managed to emigrate to Argentina and will be mentioned later.
Bobe Eva used to get once in a blue moon some letters from a niece or nephew living still in Odessa and fortunately after the gates of the USSR were opened and Jews began arriving to Israel we were able to make contact with descendants of Meyer Barg who are now living nowadays in Israel.
The Bargs from Berezovka, the shtetl Grandfather Simche was born in, were descendants of Shmuel Barg and wife Ruchl, on her memory my aunt Chiche got her Argentinean name “Rogelia“.
It seems that there were several Barg families in Berezovka and I have found in the Yad Vashem Computerized Data two witness pages for a certain David Barg, son of Moishe and Lea Barg, killed in 1941 that I think was a cousin of GF Simche and a page of testimony on Raitsa YUZEFPOLSKI, born 1855 and killed at the age of 86 years by the Nazis, daughter of Naum and Bassia Barg, a brother of Shmuel after whom my Great Uncle Naum was named.
Tragically during the Holocaust Berezovka became an extermination ground and almost nothing or nobody survived the Havoc.
Fortunately two of Shmuel’s sons, GGF Yerachmiel and his eldest brother Shaye, emigrated to Argentina with almost all their offsprings, but three other siblings had stayed in “the Old Country”: Lea who married a Rasnikov, Etie who married an Adamovsky, and a brother named Moishe.
Some years ago I got information regarding a grandchild of Etie Adamovsky who left the Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Regime and lives now in the USA.
The fact that so many siublings and cousins emigrated to Argentina made it relatively easy to gather data although as a rule second and third cousins living far away are reluctant to cooperate (present readers excluded).
Great Uncle Shaye Barg had been a farmer in Berezovka and pursuid the profession when he settled in Monigotes in the Province of Santa Fe in Argentina like a true Jewish Gaucho together with his seven children and numerous grandchildren.
Yerachmiel Barg had been a dyer and opened a workshop in Moisesville.
Three of his children married into the “aristocratic” families of the town: Naum (Nuchm), named after Shmuel’s brother, married Sara Singer, Manye wedded Abraham Yedlin and Jacobo (Yankl) married Adela Aronson.
Simche had been the last to emigrate to Argentina and probably one of the last Jews to leave Odessa at all in the winter of 1921.
GreatAunt Shirley (Sheive) had married a fellow Berezovker, Solomon (Shlema) Glatt and they emigrated to the USA on board the S.S. Olympic arriving to Ellis Island on April 19 1922.
More detailed data can be found on Shaye and Yerachmiel’s respective pages.
Stories about members of the Barg family in Odessa and Berezovka were of mythical proportions.
Bobe Eva told us of a Great Uncle, Mordechai, who had been kidnapped at the age of 5 or 6 by Cossacks and drafted to the Czar Army.
According to the story he reappeared during the 1905 Riots following Czar Alexander’s murder and protected the family from the pogromchickers.
She told us about Shmuel Barg’s Gargantuan dimensions and strength.
One day, walking by the road he saw a cart driven by an horse that had a broken wood wheel and two young peasants tried in vain to lift the wagon in order to change the wheel.
Shmuel was at the time past his seventies but nevertheless still regarded as the strongman of Berezovka.
He leaned his back to the cart, holded it by his two arms and lifted the wagon until the wheel was changed.
Grandfather Zelig was, according to Bobe Eva, also a tall and strong person.
Returning one evening from the shop he surprised two burglars in his premises and although being more than 80 years old at the time he managed to beat the hell out of the two of them and hold them until the police came and arrested them.
CHAPTER II – The Bargs in Argentina
For many years we thought that all the Barg families in Argentina were descendants of the two above mentioned Odessa and BerezovkaZeide Simche’s siblings, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc. were in contact with our family and therefore it was quiet easy to get from them information.
But the whereabouts of Bobe Eva’s relatives in Argentina, among them many first cousins, had been lost.
For most of them I knew only their names, some had a distinct feature that might help me find their descendants (Jacobo Barg had a handbag factory and shop in Buenos Aires; the daughter of cousin Rosa Barg had married Moishe Hermanoff and one of their children was a physician).
Some of them appeared in a picture immortalized a meeting at my Grandparents home sometime in 1942, shortly before my father, Cecilio (a.k.a. Zelik) traveled to enlist to the USA Army fighting then WW II.
By questioning Bobe Eva, Aunt Manye and my father Cecilio I was able to identify all the 30 relatives in the picture:
TOP ROW: (Lt to Rt): Berta Arinovich BARG, the wife of Moishe Barg, a son of Shaye Barg and therefore cousin of GF Simche); Naum BARAK, son of Yerachmiel, my great uncle; Ana Hinde Beiderman de BARG, wife of Leon Barg, a son of Shaye Barg and cousin to my GF Simche; One of her daughters Elena Barg; Sara Lidia Singer BARAK the wife of Great Uncle Naum; My Great Aunt Manye Barg YEDLIN; Mario Barck my above mentioned uncle, father of cousin Rivkale; Yakov Goldin, husband of Elke Barg – a daughter of Shaye Barg; Haya Barg the wife of Shmil Barg, son of Shaye Barg.
SECOND ROW: crossing arms: Shmil Barg, son of Shaye Barg; Moishe Barg, his brother, son of Shaye Barg; Elias Barg a first cousin of Grandma Eva; Leon (Leib) Barg, son of Shaye Barg; Grandma Eva Barg de Bark; my aunt Rosita Barck Naroski (Narowsky; My father Cecilio (Dr Zelik Barak); my aunt Chiche-Rogelia Bark (Benedyckt); at her left side, standing before and partly hidding her husband, Dr. Miguel Brodsky is Mrs Miguel Brodsky, nephews of GrandMa Eva; Grandfather Simcha Bark; Elke Barg Goldin, daughter of Shaye Barg; Adolfo Pipkin, husband of Rebeca Brodsky.
SITTING: My uncle Shloime Bark; Mr. Brodsky husband of Dora Barg who was a first cousin of Bobe Eva; Aharon Abraham Jaime Glantz, sitting besides his wife Tania Glantz (nee Barg), a cousin of Grandma Eva; Dora Barg Brodsky – a cousin of Eva; the Brodsky twin sisters (Rebeca and Isabel).
KNEELING (partly hidden by bottles) is Kike Enrique Barg son of Estela and Shmil Barg mentioned above.
So the persons in this photo belonged to three groups:
- My close family (my grandparents, their 5 children and two of my grandfather’s siblings)
- Cousins of my grandfather (all of them children of the above mentioned Uncle Shaie from Monigotes)
- Cousins of my grandmother Eva. These cousins must have been Barg cousins from Odessa, connected to the family through Eva’s maternal side. Being Barg by name they could be theoretically descendants of either a maternal Uncle (brother of Eva’s mother Reitse Barg) or a paternal Uncle (brother to her father Zelig Barg). They could not be descendants of a sister otherwise they wouldn’t carry the BargZelig Barg’s side they would have been cousins of Yerachmiel and Etie as well and therefore would have known and treated as close family also by GF Simche and aunts-uncles Manye, Yankl and Naum. But it seemed the connection was primarily with Bobe Eva and when I asked my great aunt Manye about them she said to me that as far as she knew they were indeed family but very very distant relatives. The reasonable deduction was therefore that Eva, Elias, Dora, Tania and the others were related to through Eva’s mother. surname.
Normally this would be the dead end of my research since at that time (late seventies) the USSR was behind the Iron Curtain, the archives were unattainable and there was no place or site were people interested in fanily search and research could share information.
But here comes the Invention of the Century, the Internet.
In 1998 I joined the Jewish Gen Discussion Groups and began looking for Barg relatives.
In the Family Finder there were only 4 other people looking for members of the Barg family, none from Odessa or Argentina and only one from the Ukraine (in comparison today we are 23 researchers !).
I posted a querry in the Discussion Group in which I announced the existence of this web site dedicated to the BARG BARK BERG family name and emphasized that although “We” (actually only I) are not sure neither that the we are descendants of a single line I would gratefull if any Barg or Bark or Berg would be alerted to our existence.
To my surprise, astonishment and joy in a very short time I had my first breakthrough when Dr Nora Hirschler, a Great-granddaughter of Isaias Barg from Odessa, wrote to me.
He was the father of Dora Brodsky that appeared in the picture and from her I got the information on that branch.
Next I found in the data in Beith Hatfusoth and the Family tree of the Jewish People the names of Tania Glanz and Elias Barg (both seen in the picture) and learned that they were children of Shloime Barg and his wife Pauline Hoffman, probably the same Shloime Barg who owned the grocery store in Odessa and after whom my Uncle was named.
A crucial piece to the jigsaw came from a lucky e mail and some deduction.
As I will describe a little further on, I decided to write to all the Barg Families in the Argentinean Telephone Book (that was at that time posted for the first time in the Web).
Many answered to my appeal and among others I got an e mail from one of Elias Barg’s grandaughters.
She wrote to me that “EliasDarregueira in Buenos Aires“, a fact corroborated by my father.
Then I had another e mail, this time from a person called Eduardo Adrian Barg, who presented to me a completely new Barg family I had no idea up to then of it’s existence and what connection – if indeed there was one – we had with it.
Eduardo was the grandson of a gentleman called Samuel Barg and great grandson of a certain Celik Barg.
He forwarded me his family tree (seen here at the right) and wrote me that both his father Natalio and his uncle Naum used to visit a cousin of their father Samuel, named Elias Barg who lived in Darreigueria (!) If Elias and Samuel were cousins then Elias father, Shloime and Samuel’s father Celik were brothers !.
Therefore they were also siblings to Isaias, Mordechai, Mordechai, Sara and Reitse! Finally I had the blueprint for the genealogical tree from my Greatgrandmother Reitse’s side.
The name of their father as given to me by Bobe Eva was Meyer Shmil.
I had no official proof and although in theory it would be very easy to get the name by searching the inmigrations records or burial registry of Celik and Lea Voloschaim, my search in CEMLA and the burial records in the AMIA site or the AGJA were in vain.
So, could I find proof of their father’s name by other means? Bobe Eva’s testimony that her maternal grandfather was a prominent merchant in Odessa dealing with agriculture led me search in one of the JewGen Databases, the Vsiia Rossiia, a business directory covering all the Russia Empire, for the city of Odessa in the years 1895, 1899, 1903, and 1911 – exactly the time period relevant to my search.
The entries in the Vsiia Rossiia were the following:
Solomon BERG son of Ishai was most probably the same Shloime (Solomon Berg), brother of Zelig, who died shortly after WW I and after whom Eva and Simche’s second son was named Shlomo.
At the beggining I could not find the address in Pochtovaia street but later I was informed that the street changed it’s name in Soviet time and was called Zukovskovo Street.
Both this and the later Uspenskaia street were in the middle of the business centre of Old Odessa, near the stock market and on both sides of the “Hebrew’s street”.
If this was indeed Zelig’s brother I had now their father’s name: Isai or Shaye (!).
Samuil Berg, son of Usher, dealer in bread & grain for bread in KniazheskaiaShmil Meyer my GGGF.
Kniazheskaia is probably Knyazheskaya, a street not far from the Port, crossing Olgievskaya, the address given by Samuel Berg on his arrival to Ellis Island as the place were his father lived (greatgrandfather Zelig or – in Ellis Island’s clerck orthography Selik).
Although later another presumed sister gave as address a house in Pushkinskaya (Pushkin) St. The private residence mentioned in the 1903 entry, Baltovskaia Road, puzzled me for a while since there was no such street in the list but there was a Balkovskaya Road, a rather “posh” neighborhood fit for a wealthy merchant, and I suppose this too is a clerical error.
So this Samuil could be my GGGFather and from the Vsia Rossiia I learned his father’s name: Usher, an Ashkenazi pronuonciation of Asher, the equivalent to Zelig.
Now all the circumstancial facts fit in: Celik’s first born was named Samuel. So were a son of Solomon and a son of Reitse.
Thus I draw the genealogical tree represented here at the right of the page and began elaborating.
The dates are aproximations based on the facts that Celik was born around 1830 and taking 25-30 years as the age difference between generations I put that Samuil was born around 1815 and died around 1889 (I gathered he kept appearing in the Vsiia Rossia because he was the “front” of the company).
The fact that his surname is published in the Vssia Rossia as Berg instead of Barg didn’t bother me since I had seen already the interchangebility of the surnames in this branch of the family, both in Samuel Berg‘s Ellis Island manifest and in the official arrival papers of Eva to Argentina were she is mentioned as “Bark nee Berg”.
Who was the third entry, Kh.I. Bark, remains a mistery although the address in Uspenskaya street make it probable that he was a son of Solomon Barg.
CHAPTER III – The Bargs in Podolia
Very early in my search I began getting information on Barg and Berg families in Podolia.
A fellow amateur genealogist, Howard Sedlitz Berg family from Kamenets Podolski.
He mentioned other connections he had made including the family of Prof. Alex Barg, a world famous mathematician and made me realized there were many out there that didn’t fit the saying by Bobe Eva that “all the Bargs in the World are related”.
For example Yankl Barg, born around 1880 and married to Feige who were killed by the Nazis in 1942 together with their children, Yenta and Yoselle while their son Chaim, a fighter pilot in the Soviet Air Force and a recipient of a posthumous Medal for Bravery, was killed in action during the 1942 counter attack in Stalingrad (I managed to contact descendants of their eldest son, David, through their daughter Gladys Barg Blank).
There was a Barg family from Mogilev Podolski represented by David Barg.
But the most interesting data was that related to a Rabbi Asher Zelig Barg from Kamenets who had descendants in the USA through his daughter Esther.
At the same time I was trying to correspond with all the Bargs in Argentina and found that many of them were descended from an homonimous Rabbi Asher Zelig Barg from Kamenets through a son named Sinai Ber Boris Barg.
Sinai Barg was a very interesting name since it both made sense in the “Mount Sinai” sense (Barg=Mountain) and also a similar name was given by Great Uncle Samuel Berg upon his arrival to Ellis Island as next of kin in the USA (a sister named Sinaida Staw, living in 528, 11 St. New York, probably a stepsister-cousin from Zelig’s first marriage).
The year of birth of Sinai Dov (1865) and Esther (1870 or 1872) made them belong to the same generation.
This meant that their fathers were either namesakes, Rabbis and living in Kamenets Podolski or the same person.
I discuss the subject with several amateur genealogists and we all came to the conclussion that two Rabbis named Asher Zelig Barg would try to differentiate themselves from the homonimous person by “adopting” a “Kinnui” (alias) like Asher Zelig the tall, the wise, the Redhaired, etc..
Therefore it made sense that both Rabbis were actually the same person.
Taking a 25-30 year gap between generations this Rabbi Asher Zelig Barg from Kamenets Podolski would have been born around 1830 and died before 1904, the year in which a grandson was born, Elias Zelig Barg.
CHAPTER IV – Tying the knots
Two misteries remained unsolved.
Why we had so many Zelig’s in the family and why were so many Bargs atracted to Argentina and not the USA, for example.
Mistery number one was solved by deduction. We had at least three Zelig Barg:
- Celik Barg, son of Samuil, grandson of Usher Zelig, greatgrandfather of Eduardo Adrian.
- Zelig Barg-Berg, my great grandfather from Odessa.
- Rabbi Asher Zelig Barg from Kamenets Podolski.
The three were born around 1830 and it seemed logical that if they are related they were named after the same Ancestor.
Assuming for a moment they were indeed grandchildren of a common grandfather and named after him and judging from the dispersion of his offsprings (Odessa and Kamenets Podolski), this Ancestor named Usher Zelig Barg would have lived somewhere in Podolia but not in Odessa and it’s surroundings since these were occupied by the Russians only towards the end of the 18th century.
Calculating a 25-30 year gap between generations he must have been born at least 50 years before his grandsons and died before 1827, the date of birth of Zelig from Odessa.
For the solution of the last part of the puzzle I owe my gratitude to Mario Jeifetz and the colossal work he did by gathering the information on Jewish settlers in the colonies of the Province of Entre Rios, Argentina.
On that morning in 1972, when we asked Grandma Eva why had Greatgranfather Yerachmiel choose to emigrate to Argentina, she replied that having had family in Moisesville this was the natural thing to do.
I thought then that she meant Shaye Barg but then realized that Shaye Barg’s emigration in 1905 with the Kherson group was directly to Monigotes and all the other Barg Families had settled in other Provinces (Parana) and cities (Buenos Aires).
For years I looked in the list of families and settlers of Moisesville and couldn’t find any Barg, Berg, Bark or similar spelling names.
Then Mario’s site was online and it contained the complete list of names of passengers of the Wesser, the first settlers of Moisesville.
This list, not like many others that stated the name of the Head of the family and number of members of the family, was complete and in some instances stated the previous nee) surname of the wife.
And then and there, next to the name David Rosenthal was that of his wife Ana Jane BARK.
At last the connection did make sense and after 35 years in the search I managed on February 2007 to complete the Genealogical tree of the Barg Family I am proud to present here to you: