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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures


The Shilkin/Kusnetsov Family

This information was donated by GS

My Great Grandfather, Solomon Morris Shilkin, was born in Ola, in the Vitebsk Region of Russia in 1874. He was one of three brothers who were born there between 1870 and 1881, and who emigrated to Perth, Western Australia in the first decade of the 1900s.

His youngest brother Jacob (Jack) Shilkin arrived in Perth first, in 1902 when he was 21 years old. He left Russia in 1900 and may have spent some time in London. Solomon Morris Shilkin arrived in Perth together with his eldest brother, Max Shilkin in 1905. Max had married and started a family in Russia. His wife Hesia arrived with their three children in 1906. Solomon Morrisís future wife Rachel Kusnetsov arrived from the same locale in 1907.

The brotherís parents Fidus or Phybus and Esther did not emigrate. Niether did any close relatives of Rachel Kusnetsov.

It seems possible that the Shilkins and Kusnetsovs came from a Shtetl called Ola or Ulla in the Vitebsk region of Belarus. The Shtetl was on the road between the towns of Vitebsk and Lepel. There is a town in Belarus today called Ulla with a population of about 1,500 that appears to be in the approximate area of the Shtetl.

I am currently waiting for the Australian National Archives to give me a copy of my Great Grandfather's naturalization papers to see if there is any further information.