Laib Krok and his family lived in the hamlet of Tzelkay (Čelkiai – pronounced “tshel-KAY”). It is located about 2 miles southeast of Rakisik (Rokiškis – pronounced “RAW-kish-kis”). Laib Krok’s daughter, Rella Krok, lived in adulthood in Rakisik. Her first husband, Yehuda Laib Romm, was from Ponedel (Pandėlys – pronounced “pahn-dey-LEES”), which is about 16 miles west of Rakisik. After he died, Rella married Rabbi Abraham Abramovitz and continued to live in Rakisik. The name of the family society remembers the given names of the second and first husbands of Rella Krok, namely, Abraham and Yehuda Laib.
One of Rella’s children with Yehuda Laib Romm was Etta Devayra Romm, who married Shlomo Zavilevitz (Savilevics) and lived in Kupisik (Kupiškis – “koo-PISH-kis”). Their son Zanvil Zavilevitz (Savilevics) was born in Kupisik and was sent at a young age, probably around 12, to Riga (today, the capital of Latvia) to learn be a capmaker. When Zanvil’s apprenticeship ended, he went to live with his grandmother Rella and her second husband in Rakisik. Zanvil’s sister, Zlata Zavilevitz (Savilevics), who was also born in Kupisik, also went to live with Rella and Abraham Abramovitz.
Zanvil moved to Baltimore, probably around 1899, and changed his name to Myer Smith. Shortly afterward, he founded the family society. His sister Zlata moved to the United States probably around 1901 and changed her name to Celie Smith. In Baltimore, she met other relatives who had emigrated from the Rakisik-Kupisik area, including a first cousin, Dov Ber Shapiro, who was from Kamai (Kamajai – “kah-mah-YAY”). Kamai is about 7 miles south of Rakisik. In America, Dov Ber had changed his name to Benjamin. Celie married Benjamin and thereafter was known as Celie Shapiro.
After Rella died, Abraham Abramovitz moved to Baltimore and changed his name to Abraham Abramson.
Based upon available information, the Abramson and Rubin families were from Rakisik and it is assumed that many others in the founding generation were also from Rakisik. The Silverman, Yatovitz, and Shapiro relatives were from Kamai. The Romm relatives were from Ponedel. We welcome additional and clarifying information.
Until recently, the Jewish history of Rakisik, Ponedel, Kupisik, Kamai was primarily in Yiddish or Hebrew. Much of that information is being translated into English and is being posted on-line with new material. See, for example:
Pandėlys, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/pinkas_lita/lit_00454.html, http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/pandelys/body_index.html, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/rokiskis/rok331.html, http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~community~-2617615.
Kupiškis, http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kupiskis/kupishok.htm, http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/kupiskis/lithjew.htm, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/yidishe_shtet/yid453.html.
Kamajai, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/lithuania6/lit6_067.html, http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~yizkor~Kamajai~TE, http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/rokiskis/rok292.html.
Chelkay never had a large population and today may have fewer than 30 inhabitants. At this time, nothing has been posted concerning Jews who once lived there. The only references at all merely note the hamlet’s location, http://adresai.vilnius21.lt/celkiuk-g9570.html, https://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%8Celkiai_%28Roki%C5%A1kis%29, http://www.maps.lt/katalogas/Roki%C5%A1kio-rajono-savivaldyb%C4%97/J%C5%AB%C5%BEint%C5%B3-seni%C5%ABnija/%C4%8Celkiai.
The following map shows Kupisik (Kupiškis), Ponedel (Pandėlys), and Rakisik (Rokiškis), Lithuania;
Kamai (Kamajai) (not shown), is 7 miles southwest of Rakisik on the road to Aniksht (Anykščiai).