Author: Daniel Klionsky, webmaster, San Francisco
Editing: Janet Niece, Fairfax, VA, USA
Posted on: 28 Sep, 2009
Last Updated on: 14  Nov, 2012

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Abram and Hannah Mikhlin, 1900s
Patriarch of the family Abram Mikhlin, son of Girsha was Chazzan (Cantor) and melamed (teacher) in khesed – Jewish school in Petrovichi.

He was married to Hannah (1851-1927), a housewife.

A Cantor is the second most important person in the synagogue, so Abram was a very respected person. Even long after his death, the local people still referred to his children and grandchildren as ‘dam chazzans kinder’ – the Cantor’s children in Yiddish.

Abram’s date of death is known as December 1919, but the year of his birth is approximate. It is based on a couple of known pictures of him and the following logic:

His first child, Golda Azimova (1868-1942) was born in 1968. His wife Hannah would have been about 17-18 years old at that time. When Hannah died in 1927, according to our early family researcher, Raisa Chernetsova (b. 1915), granddaughter of cantor, she was about 75 years old.

Hence, she was born within the years 1849-1850. According to the customs of that time, Abram had to be the same age as his bride or a year/two older than her. This places his year of birth within the years of 1848-1851.
According to our early family researcher, Raisa Chernetsova (b. 1915), cantor's parents and himself was from the nearby town of Shumyachi. Cantor's first son and Raisa's father, Iekhiel-Mikhel Mikhlin(1873-1949) was born there.

Abram had two brothers - Iosif Mikhlin, a bookkeeper, who lived in a city of Roslavl` and another one (no name) who in 1909 moved to New York and was in the mail correspondence with Abram. The connections to their descendants are yet to be established.

Unfortunately, with exception of two photographs of him, the cantor Abram Mikhlin left no personal possessions or stories behind.

However, a silk handmade head scarf of his wife survived. Hannah passed it to her oldest child Golda Azimova (1868-1942) and now it is with Golda’s granddaughter Anna Shapiro ( b. 1932), who lives in the Greater Los Angeles area.
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Golda Azimov(1868-1942), cantor's daughter, wearing her mother's headscarf
There are several Petrivoichi’s census documents in the State Archives of Belarus that are waiting to be researched. They would definitely help us to trace the history of Mikhlins before 1917.

Abram and Hannah have had seven children. We have information about almost all of their descendants (with exception of 10-15 people “lost” somewhere in Russia).

On July 2009, there are 230 records and 120 photographs in our database.

Here is little statistics about extended Mikhlin family (as of Aug, 2009)

Out of 230 descendants of Abram Mikhlin:
  • 125 males
  • 105 females
  • 4 people are veterans of WW I (1914-1918)
  • 17 people are veterans of WW II (1941-1945)
  • 22 people died during WW II (1941-1945)
  • The longest living person is Nikhama "Nina" Katz (b. 1912) who lives in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. She is the granddaughter of cantor Abram and the daughter of Masya (Mikhlin) Katz (1875-1959) 

56 people, most of the living descendants, reside in Russia.
Israel is the home for 30 people.
USA is in third place with 26 people living there.