Lithuania Family History

John K with dog

John K Goldberg

John K Goldberg, our father, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. His family emigrated from present-day Lithuania to the United States in the late 1800s. GOLDBERG (changed from PLOTNIK - see Louis Goldberg section, below) is his paternal side, GINSBERG the maternal.

Most of the GOLDBERG family settled in Chicago, Kansas City, Akron, and eastern Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and Johnstown). The GINSBERG family moved to Kansas City and Cleveland. We've been told the GOLDBERG and GINSBERG families were acquainted before arriving in the US; we cannot confirm this information.

Our current research focuses on the families once they arrived in the United States. Lithuanian history will be added in the future, along with any new stories about our family.

A brief history of each of the American GOLDBERG and GINSBERG families follows. Please look at the family trees in each section to learn whether you may be related. The family trees in this section include: GOLDBERG, GINSBERG, and BLOCK families.

If you are related to the family, please send us stories or old photos that we can include on the website

The GOLDBERG family
see GOLDBERG Family Tree


Louis GOLDBERG, born around 1840, is the patriarch of our American GOLDBERG family. We believe Louis' family came from the town of Siaulenai (Savlan and other spellings), in Northeast Lithuania. The traditional family name in Lithuania was NOT GOLDBERG. The family surname was PLOTNIK, which means 'carpenter' in Russian. Therefore, Louis GOLDBERG, who was born around 1840, grew up in Lithuania with the name Yehuda Leib PLOTNIK. When Yehuda Leib PLOTNIK decided to immigrate to the US in 1885, he purchased the GOLDBERG name and became Louis GOLDBERG.

Many years before immigrating to the US, Yehuda Leib PLOTNIK married Rivkah BLOKH; three of their sons immigrated to the US and are profiled on this page. Rivkah died in Lithuania, but her BLOKH family, spelled BLOCK in most American records, continued to marry other family members; see BLOCK Family notes on this page.


After immigrating, Louis GOLDBERG settled in Chicago and married for the second time to ROLLA ROSE SEGALL/SEIGEL from Taurage, Lithuania. Rose's mother was from the BLOCK family, probably related to the family of Louis' first wife Rivkak BLOCK; Rose's brother married into the BLOCK family, too. (See Segall Family Tree)

photo desc

Louis and Rose were married in about 1887 at the home of Rose's married sister, Helena LEVITON. Helena and Benjamin LEVITON's home, at 137 De Koven Street in Chicago, was the location of Mrs. O'Leary house, site of the Great Chicago Fire; the house was not destroyed in the fire.

In Chicago, Louis was a building contractor who built an entire block of two story homes with stone fronts because of the Chicago fire. Louis was 48 years old when he married 24 year old Rolla Rose and Louis' three grown sons called her Tante Rolla or just Aunt Rolla, not mother. Louis and Rose had their own four children who were born between 1890 - 1897 in Chicago. Their names (and spouses' names): Sarah (Morris LAPIN), Benjamin (Katharine MASON), Ida/Edith (NN SCHUFMANN), and Fannie/Francis (Phillip MILLER).

Louis died of cancer in 1902 and was buried in Waldheim cemetery in Chicago. Rose, left with their four children after Louis' death, ran the family store at the first floor of their house at 768 Artesian in Chicago. Eventually she sold this business and the 1910 census shows her living in Kansas City, Missouri, closer to stepson Harry GOLDBERG.

photo girl

Louis and Rose's oldest child, Sarah, was also known as Soreh Gitel, the name of Louis' mother. Sarah was an extremely generous woman, a professional angel to many. Her daughter, Louise LAPIN-HAINES, provided much of the history we currently possess on the early history of the GOLDBERG family. Louise was born in Chicago, but grew up in Los Angeles and wrote a colorful story of her childhood. Louise is one of many children in the GOLDBERG family named after Louis GOLDBERG.

Simon Jacob PLOTKIN

Simon Jacob PLOTKIN, son of Louis GOLDBERG and Rivkah BLOCK, was born in 1857 in Lithuania with the name Shimeyankel PLOTNIK. He married Yenta Chaya BLOKH, who is part of our BLOCK family. They lived in or near Kaunas Lithuania where Simon Jacob worked for the government; they had three children. The family immigrated in 1889, but Yenta Chaya must have died before the family left Europe, possibly during their immigration travels since Yenta Chaya is buried in Königsberg (today's Kalningrad).

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Simon Jacob was the only member of his family to obtain a visa in his own surname, PLOTNIK. Unfortunately, the immigration clerk at Castle Garden transposed the latter part of his name so he became PLOTKIN instead of PLOTNIK; he and his descendents kept the PLOTKIN name.

Simon Jacob PLOTKIN lived in Chicago after his 1889 immigration, while his three young children were sent to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to live with their maternal BLOCK family. The three children (and spouses): Annie Mae (Mose (Moses) KAMIN), Sarah Gertrude (Morris WOLFSON), and Samuel PLOTKIN (Mary (Marie) R. RATOWSKY).

Eventually Simon Jacob moved to Johnstown, Pennsylvania and in 1906 married Bertha KAMINSKY MARCUS, a widow of Harry MARCUS who brought several children to the marriage: Matthew MARCUS, Frieda MARCUS, Morris MARCUS, and Louis MARCUS. Bertha's father was Rabbi Hyman KAMINSKY OF Johnstown, PA. Bertha and Simon Jacob had two children together, Louisa PLOTKIN and Betsy Hope PLOTKIN. Around 1920, Simon Jacob and Bertha moved to Akron, Ohio where Simon Jacob listed his profession as manufacturer/merchant. Simon Jacob died in 1946.

Sidenote:BLOCK Family
see BLOCK Family Tree

The three motherless PLOTKIN children, new to America in 1889, were sent to live with grandmother Dora MANICHEWITZ BLOCK. Dora's name in Lithuania was Dobre Baska MONOSHEVICH and husband Samuel BLOCK was Shmuel BLOKH. Their marriage record from 1857 indicates that he was from the town of Vilijampole (Slobodka), Kaunas, Lithuania and was married by Rabbi BORKER. Samuel BLOCK is the first cousin of Rivkah BLOCK. Dora and Samuel BLOCK moved from Chicago to Pittsburgh in the late 1800s, along with two of their sons, Barney and Meyer E. BLOCK.

We're not sure why the four BLOCKs moved to Pittsburgh, but we think some of the family is related to the esteemed Rabbi SIVITZ of Pittsburgh (not confirmed). Samuel BLOCK was buried in 1898 at the same cemetery as Rabbi SIVITZ, at Shaare Torah Cemetery / Gates of Wisdom, (see multiple photos from this cemetery photographed by Rich Boyer)

Sometime before 1910 the PLOTKIN children reunited with their father, and Dora BLOCK and son Meyer E. BLOCK moved to Peoria, Illinois until their death. Meyer E. BLOCK and his wife Ella GOODMAN had four children in Peoria. Dora BLOCK's other children and some of their descendents are included in the BLOCK family tree.


Max GOLDBERG (Chaim Mordecai), son of Louis GOLDBERG and Rivkah BLOCK, was born about 1864 in Lithuania. He immigrated to the US in 1885 and married Clara (Chayah) REINGOLD (Rheingold on one census form) soon after he immigrated. Apparently Max met the beautiful Clara, a daughter of a cantor, at their boarding house in New York. Clara's former fiancé never arrived, so Max, a gifted composer of Jewish music who would become a medical doctor, married her.

Max and Clara had five sons, all born in Chicago. Max and Clara lived in Chicago for many years until moving to Los Angeles in their later years. Their sons' names (and spouses): Israel Reuben (Fannie KRASSNER), Jacob (Zena J. COHEN), Harold (Nettie SHANER), Ralph Perry (Marion Bertha (Nettie) FREED), and Benjamin (Hilda Salome MIGEL).

Max's son, Dr. Benjamin GOLDBERG, established a medical career in tuberculosis control, while son Israel GOLDBERG's wife Fannie KRASSNER, came from a family of Chicago sisters known for their Krassner School of Theatre Arts. The wife of Max's youngest son, Ralph, had a sister who married into the BLOCK family of Rivkah BLOCK; another BLOCK marriage.


Harry GOLDBERG (Hershey Beryl), son of Louis and Rivkah BLOCK was born in 1872 in Lithuania. He lived in Chicago and Kansas City, but chose Kansas City, Missouri as his home town. He married Mary Anna or Annie GINSBERG, also from Lithuania; profiles of other GINSBERG family members are on this page.

Goldberg family photo

Harry, John, and Annie Goldberg

Harry owned a clothing store in Kansas City and at one time, Annie worked in a button factory. Harry and Annie's nine children (and spouses): Rebecca, Helen, Arnold, Louise, Margaret, Saul (Barbara), Betty (GLASS), Leonard (Wilma Mae LAPIDES), and John K (Margot COHEN).

Harry and Annie were married over 50 years and lived until around 1950; their last residence was 2836 Main Street in Kansas City. Harry passed away first, but no one let Annie know - she was already quite ill and notice of his death would have been devastating. Annie passed away at Chanukah time in 1950, which always made this happy holiday a sad time for the family.

The GINSBERG family
see GINSBERG Family Tree

The Ginsberg Family

Mark GINSBERG, the American patriarch of our GINSBERG family, immigrated to the US from Lithuania in 1885; he traveled without his immediate family. His wife, Katie MANDELSTEIN GINSBERG immigrated to the US in 1891 along with her three children, Ida, Edward, and Annie. The GINSBERG family settled in Kansas Ciy Missouri.


Mark and Katie lived at 1904 Oak Street in Kansas City. In the 1900 census, Mark (Max in the census) Katie, Ida and Edward are living with the MILLMAN family -- Barney, Minnie, and Gershon, at the same address (note: in the 1900 census MILLMAN is misspelled). Mark GINSBERG operated a cigar making business from his home, while Barney MILLMAN sold both clothing and musical instruments from the Oak Street house.

The family of Minnie GOLDANSKY MILLMAN lived in Hebron, Kansas before moving to Kansas City. Her family is part of an interesting history of Russian - Jewish families who tried to create the promised land in rural Kansas. in the late 1800s.

In 1898, the newly married Annie and Harry GOLDBERG lived with Annie's parents at 1904 Oak with their young children; we know this from a birth announcement in the Kansas City Journal. In this same newspaper in 1898, Mark Ginsberg made the news because of his dog's antics.

Ida GINSBERG married Nathan GULINSON in 1906, but then died in 1917 while visiting her mother. Dr. Edward GINSBERG married Esther BISKIND in 1911 in Cleveland, Ohio, where her family lived. Edward, who became a medical doctor in Kansas City had three children with wife Esther, including Nathaniel or Nat Ginsberg, who may have been a scientist involved in some scientific WWII projects; please contact us if you know more.

Currently we are researching several GINSBERG families who are from from the Lithuania and settled in Kansas City in the late 1800s; we think they are related. The results of this research will be posted on the website.