New info about immigration from Russia in the early 1900s

The National Archives recently released the 1906 Cowen Report at, detailing 637 pogroms in the Pale – the contested area of Russia where the Novoms resided at the time.  Given the Novoms’ immigration to America in 1905, the Cowen Report is particularly important to understanding the conditions of the Novoms’ departure.  And the report offers a stark image of those conditions.

You can also read a contextual summary of the Report at


The Shuman family tree… and a story worth investigating

Aunt Joan has provided a family tree describing the siblings of Bessie (Shuman/Schumann) Novom (1890-1971), who was the wife of Joe Novom, and who married Izzy Novom after Joe’s death.  You can see Aunt Joan’s Shuman family tree here.

According to Aunt Joan, “Grandma Bessie had at least 3 brothers and one sister. The sister died in a concentration camp. One of her sons, Scholom survived. He escaped the concentration camp with Lucy, a Spanish communist to Caracus and had two children, Carmen and Pepito.”  We can assume that Bessie’s sister is the Genia/Gita Shuman on Aunt Joan’s tree, and that Genia/Gita’s son Scholom is identifiable with Szalon on the tree.

Assuming Bessie’s family lived near the Novomeskys in Panevezhys, Lithuania, the family would have been subject to the Nazis’ harshest treatment.  Lithuania was the site of a vicious Jewish genocide.  Over a three-year period beginning in 1941, the Nazis killed at least 90% of the 250,000  Jews in Lithuania.  The entire Jewish population of Panevezhys was reportedly killed during the war.  Panevezhys Jews were not typically sent to concentration camps, but instead were executed locally.

The circumstances of Genia/Gita’s death, and her son Scholom/Szalon’s possible escape, may never be known.  A search for holocaust victims in the USHMM database with the last name Wejc (Genia/Gita’s married name) reveals five names, but none on Aunt Joan’s tree. Similarly, USHMM searches for Shumans and Schumans and Schumanns reveal dozens of names, but no clear matches.

NYU baseball team in 1927

David Novom participated in NYU baseball as a student there.  Since he was born in 1908, he might have been there in 1926-1930.  Below is a photo of the NYU team, probably from 1927 or earlier – judging by the catcher’s jersey.  Can anyone identify David among the team members?

NYU baseball team 1927

A photo of the NYU baseball team from the NYU Archives.

Welcome to your family history site, Novoms!

I told you I have an obsession with genealogy…

I’ve created biographies of Max and Hilda, Joe and Bessie, and David and Frances.  You can see them by clicking on their names in the banner above.  There’s a lot more work to be done, and I’m sure I’ve gotten a few facts wrong, but it’s a start, right?  I’m hoping this site will become a useful story-telling platform for the family, and especially for the kids.

This blog provides a forum for you to tell stories, provide more info, post photos, and more.  I’ve sent out invitations to you to become Authors on the blog, meaning you’ll be able to post original content to this home page and of course freely respond to any existing postings.  I hope you’ll spend the 3 minutes it will take to register as an Author.

Hurry up and post something!