Ryfka Shub, ’Tante Rifke’ to me, was born November 10, 1902, came to the U.S. September 11, 1920 and took the American first name of Rebecca. I knew none of this prior to April 1997 when I retrieved some official documents from the Massachusetts Archives. That information enabled me to obtain a copy of the manifest of the SS Kroonland, the ship on which she crossed the Atlantic. Depending upon whether you accept the above birth date or the one obtained from Social Security Records, February 28,1900, Ryfka was either 18 or 20 years old upon arrival in the U.S.
After receiving two erroneous ship manifests for two other Ryfkas, I obtained the correct one in August 1997. Aside from the customary minor discrepancies, I have no doubt that I now have the right Ryfka. She apparently traveled alone as no other family member is listed. I had assumed that she came to the U.S. with her sister Sara, or other family member. She was in the company of a number of people from Pinsk (She is listed as having been born in and living in Pinsk). None of their names are familiar, but it is likely that she knew some of them.
The third of Dov Berel and Elka’s children to immigrate to the United States, Ryfka was meet by her oldest brother and sister whom she had not seen in 14 and 16 years respectively. Herschel left Telechan in 1906 at the age of 25. Ryfka was then only 4 years old. Sara left in 1908 at which time Ryfka was 6.
One of my most vivid memories of my great aunt Ryfka was the occasion that she attended a family function in the Boston area. She was an old woman at the time but she traveled alone by bus from her home in Springfield Massachusetts, about 100 miles away to attend this event. She had the most arthritic deformed hands I had ever seen. Tante Ryfka died May 1981 at the age of 79 or 81, depending upon which of her birthdates you choose to accept.