After a 48 year search for my maternal great grandfather, I have finally found him, thanks, in part, to a DNA test that located my grandmother's half-sister here in Michigan. For the record (in hopes that some relative may happen upon this posting in the future), here is what we have:
Sigizmund Pavel Godievich
born July 1, 1888
baptized September 4, 1888
godparents: Aleksandr Piotrovskii and Aleksandra Pachshevska
born on July 1, 1888 in Brest city, the son of legally married Mikhail and Bronislava nee Tvorovska (Tworowska) Godievich. Infant named Sigizmund Pavel was baptized on September 4, 1888 at Brest Roman Catholic cathedral by priest Ioann Sakharko with all necessary procedures
LDS Film #2,010,476 -- Brest-Litovsk Roman Catholic Church Registers, 1888, page 36, item 182
Sigizmund came to America on the ship "Zeeland" from Antwerp, arriving (under the name "Sigmund Gorodiwicz") at Ellis Island on 21 Mar 1906. He was a barber by profession. He made his way from New York to Philadelphia where on 31 Dec 1908 he married (under the name "Sigmund Jinofski") my great grandmother, Fevronia ("Veronica") Kaczmarek (1889-1972). They had two daughters, the younger of whom, Roberta (d. 23 May 1927 in Philadelphia), wife of Dimiter Stephanoff was my maternal grandmother.
Sigizmund and Fevronia separated, each marrying again within a short time. Sigizmund moved to Detroit and there on 10 Sep 1913, under the name "Sygmat Godzijewicz" married Helen Sligowski in St. Josaphat's Catholic Church. They had two sons and three daughters.
Sigizmund began using the name "Leo Lortt" as early as 1912 when he first appeared in the Detroit city directories. He was naturalized as "Leo Sigmond Lortt" on 11 Nov 1925 (Certificate No. 2165208, United States District Court,
Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, Volume 51, Number 11761).
Sigizmund/Leo died 27 Nov 1969 in Mount Clemens, Michigan and was buried two days later in the Resurrection Cemetery, Clinton Twp., Macomb Co., Michigan.
Sigizmund had several siblings, at least two brothers, one possibly named Leon, and sisters named Maria "Mania" and Lodzia. Through Michigan cousins, I have photos of his parents and these siblings.
Sigizmund's sister Maria "Mania" also came to America (under the name "Maria Lordt"), sailing on the ship "Potsdam" from Rotterdam which arrived at Ellis Island on September 18, 1912. She joined her brother in Detroit and there, on November 12, 1913 in St. Casimir's Catholic Church married Joseph Karpinski. He is believed to have died either during or shortly after World War I. Maria/Mania moved back to Brest and had children, some of whom moved to Canada in the 1950's or 1960's.
I would be grateful to hear from any who have successfully gathered genealogical information from the archives of Belarus and/or the city of Brest.
Richard M. Cochran, Ph.D.
430 S. Stewart Ave.
Big Rapids, MI 49307
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