According to genealogist Kimberly Powell, the Kaminsky surname is derived from the root "kamien", which means stone or rocky place, and probably referred to someone who worked with stone, or who was from a village named for being rocky or stony.

There are many pages on the web about Kaminsky family trees and genealogy. However, we do not yet know how our particular family fits into this bigger picture. Our partriarchal DNA does not match that of the few other Kaminsky's who have been tested. The autosomal (FamilyFinder) DNA of our Kaminsky family members who have been tested does match that of a number of other people who list Kaminsky ancestry, but most of them do not appear to harken from the same areas our family came from.

In fact, we have learned that some families, whose original family surnames were nothing like Kaminsky, took on Kaminsky and very similar surnames for one reason or another when they left the Russian Pale. In some cases, the name may have been changed when fake passports or identities were forged or purchased, in others the name may have seemed less foreign to them.

With regards to our particular family's surname, according to some members, our family name was pronounced Kamienetzky, before becoming Americanized. But Polish and Canadian records show the name was something like Comanecka or Kamieniecka, and various early records of our family in the United States have it spelled Comiski, Comminine and Comminske.

Besides issues of pronounciation and transliteration, we need to remember that proper Polish and Russian surnames reflect the person's gender, so sisters and brothers will have surnames with different final syllables, and this most likely accounts for much of the variation we find in the records.

Our Russian ancestors include Shaindle and Simon, with some family trees showing Cherup and Kaminsky as their surnames. The records are yet not at all clear as to what their precise relationships are to each other. We believe that Simon Kaminsky was the father of the four siblings Tevye, Feige, Rachel and Dina Kaminsky, since that is what Tevye's daughter Bluma wrote on the family tree she made. And, according to various records, their mother's name in English could have been either Esther or Dora.

However, according to their death certificates, Rachel's father was Simon Cherup, and Feige's parents were Dora Komanetski and Isaac Zeigel [sic]. And Feige's tombstone indicates her father was Yitzchak Zievel. The accuracy of Feige's certificate is suspect, as the informant, a Max Rabin, does not appear to have been a family member. In contrast, Rachel's adult daughter Dora was the informant for the information on her certificate, so it is more likely to be accurate, although Rachel's mother's name was not recorded, and we have an 1890 Canadian birth record where Rachel's maiden name is clearly Comanecka, not Cherup. We are continuing to research the issue of who our Kaminsky patriarch was.

Since Tevye named his son Isaac, it seems quite likely that Yitzchah or Isaac was indeed the first name of our Kaminsky patriarch. And Zievel is often equated to Samuel or Simon, so it may well be in line with the given name of Simon passed down in the Tennebaum family as the name of our Kaminsky patriarch.

Tevye Kaminsky, who was also known as Theodore, as well as his sisters Feige and Rachel, married and had families, and you can read more about them and their families below. We do not know what happened to the fourth child, their daughter Dina or Dinsa.

Rachel Kaminsky was separated from her siblings when she migrated to Canada around 1881 with her husband and family, but she was reunited with Feige after Feige came to the United States in the 1920's, and you can see a picture of the two sisters by clicking here.

The answers to some of our Kaminsky family history questions may well lie in the census records from Osowa for the 1850's to 1860's. If you would like to participate in or contribute towards the community efforts of the Ukraine SIG at JewishGen for getting these records indexed, please do email us.

If you would like to browse either the Kaminsky or the Tennebaum branch or our family tree, be sure to visit our Kaminsky Kasle Tennebaum Family Tree home page for a guided introduction and quick links to popular pages.

If you know or are a member of the Kaminsky family, please note that we are not listing the names of people on this page if they or their siblings are still living, in order to protect the privacy of our living family members. If you find any errors, or have more information you would like to see added to this page or our family tree, please do contact us.

Theodore Kaminsky and Pearl Neiman

Tevye Kaminsky was a rabbi. He was born in Osova, Russia, and married Pearl Neiman. We only know for sure about three of their children, but there has been some family lore indicating that they may have had six children: three sons, Itzkhak, Lebel and Solomon, and three daughters, Bluma, Miriam and Leah, all in the area of Osowa and Sarny, Rovno, Russia. Both Osova and Sarny are now located in the Ukraine, and you can learn more about Sarny on the Sarny locality page at JewishGen.

There are numerous towns with the name of Osowa or Osova in Poland and the Ukraine, but we believe our family lived in the one that is 35 miles from Rivne, and which was a Jewish agricultural colony. You can view maps and see a summary of Osowa's history on the Osova, Ukraine locality page at JewishGen.

If you would like more details about their descendants than we have included in the narrative below, then be sure to visit our Kaminsky Kasle Tennebaum Family Tree home page for a guided introduction and quick links to popular ways to view Tevye and Pearl's family tree pages and reports.

Tevye and Pearl Kaminsky's son Itzkhak Kaminsky, who was also known as Isaac, was born in December 1885 in Osowa, which was in the Russian empire at that time. He married Sarah Silverstein in Oil City, Pennsylvania in 1908, and they had two sons. Sarah became very ill after the birth of their second son, and finally passed away in 1931 in Detroit. At some point later, Isaac married Sarah's sister Clara, who had been caring for the children when Sarah was ill. Isaac Kaminsky passed away in 1974.

Isaac and Sarah Kaminsky's first son, Theodore, was born on October 6, 1913 in Monroe, Michigan, and married and had children. He passed away in Oak Park, Michigan on May 10, 1993. Their second son, Louis Kaminsky, was born on April 16, 1915 in Monroe, Michigan, married and had three children. He passed away in June 1987 in Chelsea, Michigan.

Tevye and Pearl Kaminsky's daughter Bluma, who became known as Florence Kaminsky, was born on June 30, 1893. Then, on March 26, 1913, in Monroe, Michigan, she married Joseph Gordon, who was born in Latvia somewhere between 1879 and 1893, and they had five children, all of whom married and had children. Florence Gordon passed away in October 1969 in Oil City, Pennsylvania, and Joseph Gordon passed away on August 2, 1977 in Monroe, Michigan.

Tevye and Pearl's other son, Solomon Kamieniecki married his wife Czerna (also known as Cherna and Cecilia), who was from Bereznica, Poland. They had three children, and were living in Osowa, Volhynia, Poland before immigrating to Argentina around 1930.

Some family members have vague memories of hearing that one of Isaac's brothers or ancestors was called Moshe, but we do not know which one. We do not know what happened to their other children Miriam, Lebel and Leah Kaminsky.

As part of our search for information about our Kaminsky family, I have transcribed information from Kaminsky marriage announcements in the New York Times. I am still studying the list and am not yet sure whether there are any members of our family in this data set, although it now seems highly doubtful after much more research, since our ancestors do not seem to have lived in New York. So, although many names are similar, they probably are different people who just happen to have the same names as members of our family. You can read our NY Times Kaminsky Marriage Announcements page, if you wish to peruse these listings.

Tevye Kaminsky apparently passed away somewhere between around 1910 and 1920. Pearl Kaminsky was killed by soldiers in Sarny on November 6, 1941 as part of the Holocaust. She refused to get taken away with everyone else, and was shot and killed in her doorway. You can find a record of her death at the Holocaust Remembrance Authority database at http://yadvashem.org/.

Faiga Kaminsky and Efraim Kasle

Faiga Gittel Kaminsky, who was born in 1861 in Osova, married Efraim Kasle (also spelled Kozel), and had six children. Efraim and their four oldest children came, one or two at a time, to the United States starting just before 1900, and on through the first decade of the 20th century. Faiga Kasle, accompanied by the two youngest children, came to the US in 1920 or 1921. See our Kasle Genealogy page with more about the history and genealogy of this family, founders of the Kasle Steel Companies.

Rachel Kaminsky and Israel Tennebaum

Rachel Kaminsky was born about 1850-1855 in either Odessa or Osova, and married Israel Tennebaum, who was born in 1852 in Rovney. See our Tennebaum Genealogy page for more information about Rachel and Israel Tennebaum, the paternal grandparents of the famous biographical novelist Irving Stone.



  1. Interviews with family members
  2. United States Federal Census Records for 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930, available online (by subscription and at subscribing Public Libraries) at Ancestry.com and online from home from subscribing Public Libraries through the Heritage Quest Census database. Many of these Federal Census Records are also available for free at https://www.familysearch.org/s/collection/list#page=1&region=UNITED_STATES.
  3. World War I Draft Registration Cards, available online at https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6482 by subscription, and occasionally for free from Ancestry.Com's special offers
  4. Pedigree Chart created by Steven and Daniel Oppenheimer
  5. Pedigree Chart created by Florence Gordon (nee Bluma Kaminsky).
  6. Social Security Death Index, formerly available online for free at http://ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com, now available from Ancestry.com by paid subscription, or for free from Genealogy Bank, from Familysearch.org, and at subscribing public libraries.
  7. Polish Passport of Czerna Kamieniecka 1933
  8. Death Certificates for Fanny Kasle and Rachel Tennenbaum

This page is http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~thecohens/family/kaminsky.html
Original URL: http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~thecohens/kaminsky.html

Discussion Revised October 19, 2012
References updated November 28, 2018

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