Did your family live in or pass through Antwerp, Belgium?

I’m looking for people whose relatives lived in Antwerp by the 1920s. Antwerp, as one of the largest port cities in Europe, was host to many people who left their homes in other parts of Europe and made their way to Belgium, sometimes permanently and sometimes just briefly on their way elsewhere, such as to the US.

I wrote an article back in November on researching Jewish relatives that passed through Belgium, but it is now woefully out of date due to changes at the web site of the Felix Archives in Antwerp. As part of updating that article (which is the basis of a lecture I’ll be giving in August – more on that later) I’d like to find a few people with families who lived in Belgium so I can help them find records, and at the same time update my knowledge of the archives.

If your family lived in Antwerp in the 19th century up through the 1920s, please send me an e-mail with the following information:

– Name of family member(s) that lived in Antwerp
– Where they lived before Antwerp (and where they were born if different)
– When they arrived in Antwerp
– When they left Antwerp

Also, let me know if you’ve ever researched your family members in the Felix Archives in Antwerp or the State Archives in Brussels, and if there are other archival resources in Belgium you’ve used to find out about your family there.

Thank you.

7 thoughts on “Did your family live in or pass through Antwerp, Belgium?

  1. My maternal grandfather, Mendel SACKS (ZAK), and his younger brother Salman were born about .1875 and 1876 in Ponidel, Lithuania. They left with the original intent of going to South Africa. The ship’s manifest (Hamburg to Grimsby ,18 July 1904 )lists their last residence as Mariampol.

    After some searching I found that my gf had left Liverpool on 28 Jan 1905 (ship Lucania) and that his surname was spelled TRAC at Ellis Island. I have been told by an aunt and an uncle that Salman went to Antwerp and had been involved in the diamond business. I have done no searching of my own. Two people in Antwerp offered to look; one’s source became ill and I have not had a reply from the second. I’m also not certain how he may have spelled his name in Belgium.

    Sam Gelfand

  2. Sam,

    Just to be clear, only your grandfather’s brother is thought to have gone to Antwerp? When did he go there? In 1905 when your grandfather went to the US? Do you know anything more about him, such as the name of a spouse, etc.?

  3. Sorry I took so long to get back. Didn’t realize until today that you had a further question.
    Granduncle Salman is the only one ,who by family lore, went to Antwe rp. The Hamburg- Grimsby manifest is the only written info I have about him.The rest is from family lore.
    Helpful genners have found no mention of him in tha Antwerp Police files or the files in Brussels. He is not listed as living in Belgium when WWII started.
    I later found a reference in the Antwerp Police files to a Chaim Mordko Saks also born in Ponidel and of about the same age. The complete file was copied for me recently and tells an interesting story. At first I believed it was a dead end until I realized that his mother was listed in the documents as having the same surname as my grandfather’s mother.
    With some additional research in Jewish Gen: Chaim Mordko Zak was born in Ponidel
    ,Lith. in 1879. He married Dveira SAPIRO in 1903 , (SAPOUGA in the Antwerp papers). A son ,Schmuel,born in 1904 died in 1905.They emigrated to Britain in 1905 0r 1906( Leeds),had two children before living in Belgium( 2 more children)(1911-1914) In Dublin 1914-1921 with two more children before returning to Antwerp
    The only other mention of Chaim now Hyman was in 1926 when he gave his ok from Tel-Aviv for his oldest son Jacob to renounce his Russian citizenship in favor of English. He apparently lived out his life in Leeds,marrying and dying there.
    Dveira (Dora) stayed in Antwerp but never became a citizen. She was deported to Auswietz in 1942 and murdered there.
    My best current guess is that my gggrandfather and a brother of his married sisters. The search continues.
    Sam Gelfand

  4. Sam. Noticed that you had a post on your family and mentioned a letter written on al beinashowitz stationary. Just FYI. Alb was my great grandfather and ran a woolen shop that operated for almost 100 years. Happy Chanukah.

    Et Gentin. Johns creek ga

  5. Hello , I’m Belgian. My grand mother is the daughter of chaim Mordo saks and Dveira Sapiro. I’ll be glad to exange with you. Annouche

  6. I have an Ellis Island record for a Mindel Landsbaum, (Ethnicity: Russia, Hebrew) last place of residence was Berdzezew, port of departure was Antwerp. The date of arrival is 8-23-1904. Ship was Vaderland. The record says that she was married and had two children, sons, with her ages 3.6 years and 11 months. I haven’t found any other records beyond arrival in the US. My father, now 86, talked of his grandparents coming from “The Old Country” which was, I believe, Poland. Although I do understand that the location depended on what time frame as the borders of Poland changed. I’ve also possibly identified that Berdzezew as a district (?) in Poland?

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