The Grabois Project

Welcome! | The Project | How do you pronounce it? | Family Trees |
The Rappaports | Ellis Island Database | The Moldova Archives | Grabois en Argentina | Grabois in Liverpool, England |
Grabois pre-1890 | The Social Security Death Index | Mail me

What's new?
  • 7/1/07: Updated the Beryl/Morris/Salomon Grabois family tree (#1)
  • 7/21/07: Added the Grabois/Eisenberg family tree (#11)
  • 7/22/07: found that the Israel Grabois (#7) is the same person as Irving Grabois, son of Beryl (#1)


    Welcome to Grabois Central. Over the last several years, I've been working on "The Grabois Project", an effort to contact all of the people whose last names are some form of Grabois, Graboyes, Graboys, Grabojs, Graboy, etc. and see if we can make the genealogical world a bit smaller by finding lost cousin connections. Those who had expressed interest the last time I did this a couple years ago are located on a
    separate page for your perusal, along with a bit about them if they choose.

    Just about everyone that I have talked to with some form of that name can trace their lineage back to the city of Kishinev (Kishnev, or "Chisinau" in the current local language), the capital of what is now Moldova (between Romania and Ukraine). I've seen it spelled multiple ways, too: Kischenew, Kesenew, Kesenow, Kachineff, etc., and located in both Russia and Romania depending on what day of the war it was.

    The Worldwide Grabois Project

    The main concentration of Grabois appear to be in the US, initially concentrated in the New York City and Philadelphia areas but now dispersed throughout the country. Outside the US, I've found three countries with significant numbers of Grabois: in decreasing order of family members, Argentina (due to the immigration of three large families in 1896 and 1905 to Buenos Aires), Brazil (some of the Argentina members went to Rio de Janiero), and Israel (due to immigration since the 1940's before and after the Holocaust). I've also found scattered appearances in Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany.

    Over the years, I have gotten some information from various Grabois, Graboyes, and Graboys about their families and histories. In one case I was able to point her to a history I got from another source that turned out to be her family as well. Whatever you have and would like to share, I'll take it.

    How do you pronounce "Grabois"?

    I got a copy of a letter mailed a few years ago to a recent immigrant from Kishinev, translated from the Russian. It included the family name in Russian (left). Transliterated, the letters are G-R-Ah-B-Oh-EE-SS. All of the men would have this name, the women would have the feminine form of the name, the same but add another "A" ("ah") to the end.

    So actually it would be "grah-boyce".

    In the US, at least, there seem to be two possibly conflicting stories of the origin of the name "Grabois" (how do YOU pronounce it -- the French sounding "GRAB-wah" like my branch, or "GRAY-boyz" like just about everyone else?): that it dates back to the 1780's when European peasants were given surnames (as recounted by University of Haifa medieval history professor Aryeh Grabois), or that it is somehow connected to a deserter of Napoleon's army (which seems to be in just about everyone's family legends, one of which is documented by Vallejo California researcher Arnold Graboyes). As far as pronunciation, I'm told that when my great-great-grandfather Beryl and his brothers spent time in Paris from about 1897-1905, they liked the way the French pronounced the name in their language so they kept it. Most other branches apparently never went to France so kept the original pronunciation, though some independently came to pronounce it grab-wah as well.

    The Grabois Family Trees

    There are a number of different Grabois/oyes/oys family trees out there, the problem is being able to go back far enough to link them up. This is what we've come up with so far.

    Tree #1: Beryl & Pearl Grabois (to New York City), Morris & Minnie Grabois (to Philadelphia), Salomon (to Paris)

    I have been able to trace my ancestors back only to the mid-1800's or so: my great-great-grandfather Beryl Grabois and his wife Pearl Fishman, and Beryl's brothers (one of whom was Morris) and sister.

    • Beryl and Pearl had children Benjamin, Paul, Emil, Anna (aka "Hinda"), Bertha (aka "Beatrice" or "Bea"), Irving (aka "Israel"), and Solomon (aka "Sol"). All came to New York between 1905-06.
    • Morris and Minnie had sons Benjamin and Samuel. All came to Philadelphia.
    • Salomon stayed in Paris, and had children Blanche, Georges, and one other.
    • A sister stayed behind in Russia.

    Antoine Grabois, living in Paris, said that he can trace his family back several generations. His great-great-grandfather Salomon Grabois was part of a family that left Kishinev and stopped in Paris in the late 19th century; he stayed in Paris while his siblings went on to the US. Compare that with Beryl and Morris: they were part of a family that left Kishinev and stopped in Paris in the late 19th century, then went to the US while a brother stayed in Paris. This is pretty convincing to me that I've found the missing brother's descendants. Antoine created a graphical depiction of his family tree.

    Tree #2: Harry & Adale Graboyes

    This page was put together by Arnold Graboyes.

    • Harry and Adale had at least one son, Charles Graboyes.
    Tree #3: Saul "Charles" & Golda Grabois (to Buenos Aires and Philadelphia)

    This is compiled from the Rappaport history, which among other things describes his Grabois ancestry back in Russia, and from the Alter Grabois family tree, compiled by one of his descendants.

    • Saul and Golda had children Abraham, Samuel, Haya "Ida", Ethel, Itta, Alter, and Alexander "Sender". Abraham, Samuel and Alexander went to Buenos Aires, Argentina (1896 and 1905), while Haya and Alter went to Philadelphia (1903 and 1913). It doesn't say where Ethel and Itta went.
    Tree #4: Morris & Charna (nee Kauffman) Graboyes (to Philadelphia)

    This is compiled from the Kalstein Family Pages

    • Morris and Charna had children Harry, Jacob, Anna, and Dorothy.
    Tree #5: Samuel & Fanny Grabois (to NYC)

    This is compiled from the 1920 US Census for New York City.

    • Samuel (1874, emigrated 1889) and Fanny (1884, emigrated 1892), both naturalized 1900, children Louis (1900), Sadie (1903), Hannah (1906), Miriam (1909). Samuel was an underwear manufacturer, Louis was a manager in the factory, and Sadie was a stenographer.
    Tree #6: David & Etta Grabois (to NYC)

    This is compiled from the 1920 US Census for New York City (ED 1501, sheet 39B, Manhattan).

    • David (1878) and Etta (1884), both emigrated in 1903, children Sophie (1905), Max (1907), Morris (1909), Miriam (1911). David and Etta were in the Produce business (industry listed as "fruits and vegetables").
    Tree #7: Israel & Anna Grabois (to NYC)

    Found a match! Israel's real name is Irving and he is one of several children of Beryl Grabois (Tree #1).

    This is compiled from the 1920 US Census for New York City (ED 863, sheet 7A).

    • Israel (misspelled "Isarell", 1897) and Anna (1899), child Bernard (1918). Israel emigrated ~1909 and was naturalized 1917. He was the manager of a "dress house".
    Tree #8: Gershko Graboy

    This is compiled from the Kishinev Civil Administration for the year 1910.

    • Lebya Gershkov Graboy (1813-?) and his wife Reyza (1817-?), their children Michel (1834-?), Haika (1837-?), Srul (1841-?), and Sura (1849-?). Children of Michel and Srul also listed.
    Tree #9: Avrum Grabois

    Information courtesy Daniel M. Grabois.

    • Avrum and wife Hinde Grabois, and their son Yechiel "Eli" Grabois, with his sons Bernard and Daniel Grabois. Bernard's children are Mitchell and Howard, Daniel's children are Todd, Amy, and Bonnie Grabois.
    Tree #10: Samuel Grabois

    This is from the 1920 US Census for New York City (ED 137, sheet 6B, Manhattan):

    • Samuel (1875, emigrated 1906, naturalized 1914), no wife or children listed. He was a "store salesman".
    Tree #11: Icon Grabois

    Information from the website.

    • Frank Grabois, the son of Icon Grabois and Rebecca Green, married Pauline Eisenberg, daughter of Chayes Eisenberg and ? Rabinovitz (NYC, 1895).
    Tree #12:

    The Rappaports: Grabois to Philadelphia, Detroit, Buenos Aires

    Several years ago I came across a document about the
    Rappaport family of Detroit and Philadelphia, important because it contains a lengthy section on the Grabois family. The document was written by Samuel Rappaport, from 1951-3. This branch comes from the town of Falesht (or "Falesti" the local official name), 70 miles northwest of Kishinev ("Chisinau").
    • key names: Rappaport, Rapoport, Grabois, Kogan, Sternberg, Levenson, Zuckerman, Kravitz, Kravetz
    • key locations: Philadelphia, Detroit, Bessarabia, Moldavia, Moldova, Kishinev, Bieltsy, Faleshti, Buenos Aires, Pyrlitz, Moghilev

    I extracted the names to make the Saul "Charles" Grabois family tree.

    The New World: Grabois to New York (Ellis Island) and Canada

    The Ellis Island Records Database ( came on line in early 2001 and was quickly swamped with amateur genealogists. I managed to track down over 30 people with some form of the name Grabois/oys/oyes/ojs, and listed them on this Ellis Island page.

    Each name has gender, age, marital status, occupation (where available), place of last residence, port of departure, ship, and date of arrival on Ellis Island. Most importantly, I've annotated each as much as I was able, including if (and where) they're part of someone's tree, other history, etc.

    I recently found a reference to two Grabois who emigrated to Canada in 1928. Ellis Island only operated as an immigration station from 1892 to 1924, so perhaps Canada was an alternate destination once Ellis Island closed.

    • Ruhlea Grabois (1886-?, from Roumania) and son Nahman (1914-?), to Quebec 9/29/1928. Ruhlea possibly identified in Kishinev birth records (same name and birth year).
    • Added Rose Grabois (Ellis Island 1907)
    • Added Huna Grabois (Ellis Island 1921)

    The Moldova Archives: Grabois in Kishinev

    Arnie Graboyes has contacted a researcher in Moldova who is in the process of translating a number of documents from the Kishinev Archives.

    • Children born 1885-1901 in Kishinev.
    • Selected weddings 1891-1909 in the Kishinev area
    • Graboy family - the Family by family list complied by Kishinev Civil Administration for the year 1910. Lebya Gershkov Graboy and his wife Reyza; their children Michel, Haika, Srul, and Sura; and grandchildren Izko-Yankel, Zelman, Brikha, Leya, Esther, Gershko, Shmil, Hava, and Iosif.
    • Graboy family - From the same document as above, this focuses on the families of Srul's first two sons, Gershko and Shmil: Gershko Srulev Graboy and his wife Dvoira, and their children Ruhla, David, Malka, Cipa, Moisey, Peril, Isaak, Avraam, and Sarra; and Shmil Srulev Graboy and his wife Feiga, and their daughter Bella.

    Apparently at least one member of the greater Grabois family served in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), according to researcher Boris Feldblyum.

    A few items related to Grabois who were killed in the Holocaust:

    There's also a bit of limited information on Grabois in post-war Kishinev:

    • Mikhail Grabois, a student at Kishinev School #34 in 1968 (3rd row, far right)

    Grabois en Argentina

    As detailed in the Rappaport history above, a number of Grabois emigrated to Argentina in the 1890's and later. Presumably they joined family and friends there, and today there is a large population of Grabois living primarily in the Buenos Aires area. It's more difficult to find information, but some of it is there.....

    • Ana Grabois, second wife of Marcos Fingerman (b. 1924 in Entre Rios)

    Grabois in Liverpool, England

    At least one family spent time in England
    , presumably after leaving the Kishinev area, settling in the Liverpool area. Rebecca Grabois died in December 1895 in Liverpool. Joseph Grabois, probably her grandson, was born in June 1898 in West Derby, outside of Liverpool. Joseph sailed from Liverpool to New York City by way of Ellis Island in September 1913 at the age of 15.

    Grabois outside of Kishinev before 1890

    Canada, Acadia, and Louisiana, 1600's-1800's

    The Boucher family is famous in Quebec for helping to colonize New France in the mid-1600's, one of a number of families who left France in exchange for land rights in what is now Canada. Pierre Boucher, a son of one of the founders, rose in importance as he got older and was eventually named Governor of Three-Rivers in recognition of his accomplishments. He was also given 15,000 acres of land, which he named "Grosbois" (at least one alternate spelling is "Grabois"). He later founded the Boucherville community, which still survives, and there's an Ile de Grosbois in Quebec, dating back to their land holdings in the city. It's unknown if any of the North America Grabois (see below) are related.
    • Gaspard Boucher (1599-1666) and Nicole Lamarie (1600-1666) had eight children, the third of whom was Pierre Boucher, Sieur de Grabois, (1622-1717) born in Notre Dame, Mortagne, France and died in Boucherville, Quebec, Canada.
    • His son Ignace Boucher de Grabois, (1658/59-1699), was born in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, the third child of Pierre and the former Jeanne Crevier (1636-1727).
    • Ignace had four children, but apparently none of them had the "de Grabois" name (alternately spelled "Grosbois").

    The Boucher descendents (now also known as Gravois or Grosbois) probably made their way east to Acadia and then to south to the United States, to southern Louisiana (as part of the Acadians who became the Cajuns). There were quite a number of GRAVOIS family members, according to The Acadian Genealogy Homepage, and there was a big family reunion in Louisiana in 1999.

    • Jose Grabois (b. 1761 in Louisiana) married Francisca Lasage in 1780, and they had a daughter Clemencia Grabois (b. 1781).
    • There's a record of a Victoria Monett Verdun (1864-?, born in Montegut in Terebone Parish, Louisiana) who married Jean George Grabois sometime before 1879 (the date of her second marriage). Victoria and Jean George had a daughter Victoire Grabois.

    Despite the linguistic coincidence - a French/Canadian name and a Russian/German/Yiddish spelled identically - this doesn't appear to be any relation to the Kishinev branch and is not going to be explored much further.

    France, 1500's-1700's

    Back in France, there are still scattered records of Grabois, dating back to the same time as Pierre Boucher received the land that would be Grosbois. However, there's no record of a Claude Boucher de Grosbois at the time.
    • Jacques Grabois (1580-1651) married Adrienne Sarrazin (1590-1651). Their son Jacques Grabois (1615-?) married Anne Garnier (1620-1669) in 1645, and had a daughter Maria Anne Grabois (1650-1708). She married into the Fagot family (which led through the Grisolet, Perrin, and Galle lines into the 20th century).
    • Somewhere around the time of the Grabois in Quebec, there's a record in France of Claude Grabois, who married her first husband Louis de la Cour on 11/28/1643 in Bassevelle, France, with whom she had two children. (Her second husband was Charles de Bray, with whom she had three children.) [Note: this information has since been removed.]
    • Perhaps they're related to Françoise Grabois who married Antoine Fest˙, both of whom died around 1737.
    • A century later, Germain Grabois (1741-1793) married Magdelaine Millet (1751-1811) in 1775. Their daughter Jeanne's (1784-?) last name was recorded as Graboue, but the name was lost when she married Louis Jouannin in 1806.
    • Jean Grabois was a fusilier with the 169th demi-brigade, 7th Co, born with Feux (18). According to the book "Le Monument de Bosserville" by Emile Badel - "440 Soldiers and X incon. died in the military Lazaret of Bosserville in 1793-1794". He died in a military hospital in Bosserville (northeastern France) 13 brumaire year 3 (03/11/1794), ID number 293552. (Department: 54 Ville: Bosserville postal Code: 54510 - Code INSEE: 54905). This would have been during the War of the 1st Coalition, between France and Austria/Prussia at the end of the French Revolution.

    USA, 1700's-1800's

    However, that doesn't necessarily explain the OTHER Grabois that appeared in the US during the 1800's:
    • Louis Grabois (b. 1845) appears with his wife Dora (b. 1843) and their daughter Louisa (b. 1868) in the 1870 Cook County (Chicago) IL Census (, Family Archive #288). However, it could be a misspelling of the German "Grabow" surname (as suggested by other names on that page).
    • Alexander "Sender" Grabois immigrated to North America in the latter half of the 19th century, according to the "Russians to America, 1850-1896 Passenger and Immigration Lists". This is a strong candidate for a Kishinev immigrant. There's no record of him coming through Ellis Island, though, but that didn't open for immigration until 1892.
    • Peter Grabois was found in the 1900 Kansas/Oklahoma census. No idea where he came from or went.

    Social Security Death Index

    The US Social Security Department periodically makes available information on citizens with social security numbers who have died. Here are the Grabois listed in the Social Security Death Index, with the state that issued the SSN:
    • Annette Grabois (New York, 8/1912-6/1983)
    • Ben Grabois (Delaware, 3/1900-5/1989)
    • Benjamin Grabois (Pennsylvania, 10/1907-2/1975)
    • Bernard Grabois (New York, 11/1912-11/1974)
    • Bernard Grabois (New York, 4/1917-11/1989)
    • Bernard Grabois (New York, 11/1925-12/1994)
    • David Grabois (New York, 11/1907-3/1966)
    • Edith Grabois (New York, 11/1909-9/1986)
    • Edward Grabois (New York, 11/1910-9/1995)
    • Eli Grabois (New York, 2/1899-5/1980)
    • Emil Grabois (New York, 9/1885-4/1968)
    • Evelyn Grabois (New York, 1/1919-3/1970)
    • Florence Grabois (Pennsylvania, 10/1907-2/1975)
    • Frida Grabois (New York, 2/1894-8/1985)
    • Harry Grabois (New York, 5/1912-5/1994)
    • Henry Grabois (Nebraska, 10/1899-12/1973)
    • Hope Grabois (New York, 6/1904-3/1997)
    • Ida Grabois (Delaware, 8/1902-8/1998)
    • Irving Grabois (New York, 7/1895-1/1966)
    • Joseph Grabois (New York, 12/1906-3/1994)
    • Joseph Grabois (New York, 1/1923-4/1995)
    • Lena Grabois (New York, 6/1907-8/1992)
    • Lillian Grabois (New York, 12/1900-7/1982)
    • Mae Grabois (New York, 6/1908-12/1976)
    • Malcolm Grabois (New York, 7/1906-1/1988)
    • Martin Grabois (New York, 7/1908-1/1997)
    • Mary Grabois (New York, 6/1910-1/1987)
    • Minnie Grabois (Pennsylvania, 5/1884-1/1969). Based on the same birthdate, probably the sister of Yetta Grabois (below).
    • Reva Grabois (New York, 7/1900-3/1992)
    • Robert Grabois (New York, 4/1911-7/1981)
    • Ruth Grabois (Nebraska, 5/1902-8/1998)
    • Sam Grabois (New York, 2/1895-5/1978)
    • Samuel Grabois (New York, 3/1917-9-1989)
    • Sarah Grabois (New York, 2/1891-2/1975)
    • Scott Grabois (Florida, 10/1950-5/1982)
    • Selma Grabois (New York, 1/1929-10/1966)
    • Solomon Grabois (New York, 9/1897-4/1989)
    • Yetta Grabois (New York, 5/1884-4/1974). Based on the same birthdate, probably the sister of Minnie Grabois (above).
    • Zelma Grabois (New York, 2/1901-4/1989)

    If you recognize any of these names and want more info, please let me know at

    Back to Wizard Imps, etc.

    --> 1