Belaroots (1)

I found the name for this post  here.

My father’s roots are in the part of the Russian Empire called Belarus (Byelarus) today. I know very little about my father’s family. He had two sisters and one half-brother, David. My father’s mother died, and my paternal grandfather, Shaul (pronounced sha –ool) – married a second time to Bertha. David was one of the offspring of this union. As far as I know David was the only child from this union. David is 78 (as of 2009), and lives in Sea Point , Cape Town. I met him once four years ago(2004). I didn’t know he existed before 2004.

In July, 2004, during my university vacation from the Arabian Gulf (where I was teaching at Abu Dhabi University in Al Ain, I visited David, his wife and son Howard. Izzy died in 1980 at the age of 78, so I was very surprised to see that his half-brother, David, was in his sprightly seventies, in 2004. So, in 1980, David was 53 years old, while my father was 78. Here is a photo of David as a baby with his (and Izzy’s) father, and his mother, Bertha who was Izzy’s stepmother. Izzy’s mother (my grandmother) died in 1917. Her name was Ita, the same name as my sister Edie (Ita). This is the only photo he has of his (and Izzy’s) father, Shaul. It’s tiny but I can’t enlarge it without losing the little clarity there is.

Shaul, wife and David

Shaul, wife and David


I don’t know the name of Shaul’s wife. The background gives a good idea of how they lived. Shaul had a rag, bone and bottle business. David and his wife told me that that when Shaul died, Izzy, “stole” (David’s word) Shaul’s business; Izzy moved in and took the business over rag, bone and bottle. Here is some information in the form of emails about other ancestors of my father, Izzy’s.

Here is an email from Daniel Maryam (born Gameroff) in France, dated 8 July 2005:

“Hello, My name is Daniel Gameroff, I live outside of Paris and I am 64 years old. I have been doing research through the Internet on my family background. So far I have found that there are other Gameroff’s, Hameroff’s,Hamerow’s,Gamaroff’s,or Gamerow’s living in the U.S.A., Canada, Israel, South Africa, Argentina. During my “investigations”, I went to Israel and there I met Joe Gamaroff in Tel Aviv. I think he is your brother you are looking for? [Daniel thought I was looking for Joe. But I wasn’t. I visited Joe in Israel in 1997]. My great -grand-father’s name was Hamerow Teivel and lived near Vilna (Lithuania).With his first wife, Haya Dorn, they had two children: Hivé and Salomon my grandfather who came to France in 1905. I think we have family ties but I have not found our “common roots”, howeverit is nice to find other members of the Hamerow clan. Sincerely DANIEL.”

My reply to Daniel, 17 July, 2005:

“Hello Daniel Sorry I took so long to answer your letter. I am sending you some files I found on the internet. My father was from Osveya (Osvei) in Belarus. The Gamarov’s voter’s list has two Gamerovs on it. The father of these two people was called Israel (Patronymic name “Israelov”). My father’s name was Israel and his father’s name was Shaul. It is possible that one of the Gamerovs on the voter’s role was my father’s grandfather, because I don’t think that there was more than one Gamerov family in Osvei, and if there was, they would have been related.I am sending you by separate email an email I received from Jonathon Gordon in the UK that gives more background to the South African branch of the Gamerovs.(The email from Jonathan Gordon is given shortly). By the way, I have just turned 64 myself (June). And I speak French: I majored in French at university and taught it for 17 years. I studied French at the University of Strasbourg in 1962. It was really great to hear from you.”


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