Larry Lavitt
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you can't find your answer here please send your question to Larry Lavitt.

How can I find out anything about my ancestry besides taking an ancestry test?

I'm not certain how an ancestry or DNA test would tell you much other than you're Jewish going all the way back to Moses.

The best places to start to find out your family history are to:

  1. Speak with your living relatives and learn their stories (true or not)
  2. Look at your family documents, notes in books and bibles, family photos and letters
  3. Seek out birth, marriage and death certificates from family and if necessary from your province's Department of Vital Statistics
    This is the web site for Manitoba:
    The online database will provide general information and then if needed you can order the original certificates.
  4. Find a copy of the Yizkor book for Ludwipol that was published in 1965 and in Yiddish. There is a current project to translate it to English. More information is at this web site which contains the translated pages to date. Each section is about different families so you may find your family and their photos here.

And, of course, you could try the Ancestry web site to seek out relatives (known or unknown) who may have already researched your family tree and would be pleased to make your acquaintance.

Good luck in your researches!


The Jewish Colonization Association (JCA, in Yiddish ICA) was created in 1891 by the Baron Maurice de Hirsch. Its aim was to facilitate the mass emigration of Jews from Russia and other Eastern European countries, by settling them in agricultural colonies on lands purchased by the committee, particularly in North and South America. A Canadian Committee of the JCA was established in November 1906 to assist in the settlement of the thousands of Jewish refugees fleeing Russia, and to oversee the development of all the JCA settlements in the country. Colonies were established prior to 1906 throughout the west and in Quebec. These colonies included: in Saskatchewan - Hirsch (1892), Qu'Appelle or Lipton (1901), Cupar near Regina (1901), Edenbridge east of Prince Albert (1906), and Sonnenfeld west of Estevan (1906); in Manitoba - Bender Hamlet or Narcisse north of Winnipeg (1903); in Quebec - La Macaza (1904) and Ste-Sophie (1904), both north of Montreal; and Trochu (1906) and Rumsey (1906), halfway between Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta. After the establishment of the Canadian committee the JCA founded several others: Pine Ridge (1907), not far from Winnipeg; Eyre (1910), and Montefiore (1911), near Alsask in Saskatchewan; Bird's Hill (1911), east of Winnipeg; Camper or New Hirsch (1911), 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg; and Rosetown (1911), near the town of the same name in Saskatchewan. Economic factors, notably the Great Depression, led to the dissolving of all the western colonies by the end of World War II. Thereafter concentrating its work in the east, the Canadian JCA purchased farms or made loans to farmers in Ontario and Quebec: the Niagara Peninsula, the regions of Brantville-Woodstock, Spencerville-Kemptville, and Beamsville in Ontario, and Saint-Hyacinthe, Saint-Damase, Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Frelighsburg, and Clarenceville, in Quebec. The JCA Canadian Committee made no more loans after 1970 and ceased all legal existence in 1978. The JCA deposited the major part of its papers at the National Archives of the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1978, and the remainder of its documents (the "S" collection) there in 1989.
Source: Canadian Jewish Congress


The Jewish Immigrant Aid Services was established during the first Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1919. The need to settle Jewish post-World War I immigrants became apparent at this time, but the community organizations established in part for this purpose, such as the Baron de Hirsch Institute, were overwhelmed by the flow of Jews into Montreal and the rest of Canada. Thus JIAS, an organization solely devoted to helping immigrants, was founded. Since 1919, Jewish immigrants to Canada have depended on this organization during their period of adjustment to this country. The JIAS intervenes with the government on behalf of current and prospective immigrants, helps to locate housing and jobs, and organizes language and citizenship classes. JIAS assists new immigrants in following the proper application procedures, provides counselling, and offers a directional service to community resources. JIAS also makes submissions to the authorities on all matters affecting Jewish immigration to Canada, jointly with the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Source: Canadian Jewish Congress

Do you want my bubbie's or zaydie's story for your web site?

I certainly do! There are numerous examples of this already on the web site. If you or a member of your family wants a place to tell their story and it is relevant to this web site then I will be more than happy to provide a place here to publish it. I provide all the HTML/web formatting and the author of the article retains ownership of the materials.

Will you do research for me or look something up for me?

Sorry, but no. This is a hobby for me, not my occupation. And if it was my occupation you probably couldn't afford me because I work really slow! I can point you in the right direction but you'll have to spend the time yourself.

Where can I see passenger lists and immigration records?

You may wish to try the Web site of the National Archives of Canada: ArchiviaNet.

Where did the name "Narcisse" come from?

Narcisse was named by the residents of Bender Hamlet for Narcisse Leven, then the president of the ICA.

Could you tell me if Camper Manitoba and Bender Hamlet are the same place?

Camper and Bender are definitely two different locations.

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