My name is Martha DRASSINOWER.  My family is originally from Bukovina, from Chernowitz, Vishnitz, Vama, Radautz, Gura H., although others lived in Vienna and Yugoslavia.

Our "family name" was originally Katz, and my great anscestor was Shmiel Katz, a shoihet.  He left a town in Russia, name unknown, and moved to a city/town called Drasinov (or Drachineas as an alternate spelling) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (which town I have never found on a map, but other family members purport to have done so).  To differentiate him from his other Katz cousins/brothers, he was called the Drasinov-er, the one who went/came from Drasinov in Austra/Hungary.  Then the law was passed requiring jews to take on last names and he became the Drasinover, hence our last name.  Other of his siblings/cousins took on the name Katz.  So I have still cousins who are called Katz.

Alternate spellings are:  DRASSINOWER, DRASINOVER, DRASSINOVER, DRASSYNOVER, DRASYNOVER.  Common first names are: Shmiel/Shmuel, Litman, Abraham for men and TOVA or PERLE (PEPI) for women.  All DRASSINOWERS are cohanim.  Some of those from Vishnitz were followers of the Vishnitzer Rebbe.

I have the family tree going back 7 generations to Shmiel Katz, the first DRASSINOVER.  I date Shmiel Katz back to the late 1700's, and have confirmed that with older relatives, but find it hard to research "katz" and find DRASSINOWER much easier.

I am still missing 3 or 4 branches, however.  My current theory is that  these branches likely perished in the Shoah, since I have found a fair bit on the Yad-Vashem database.  Unfortunately, it is hard to piece together.  There are some duplicates from the database, there are DRASSINOVERS with the same first names, and so it's hard to know if there were two DRASSINOVERS with the same name or else if it is a true duplicate.  Most of the survivors in my family do not recall many of the names or were too young to know about their parent's cousins so I am a bit at a loss.

My great grandfather was also a Shmiel Drassinower, from Vishnitz, and was nicknamed "Britton" or "Britoneas" a local expression I am told meaning 'great strength'.  My great -grandfather is known to have been very strong having fought off 2 russians soliders in Vishnitz at one point.  I met one former Vishnitz resident who remembered this story of 'Britton' Drassinower and confirmed family lore on this point.

Also, in about 1905, one DRASINOVER and DRASYNOVER family and other cousins went to the US via Ellis Island.  I have been unable to track down their children after that, despite white pages searches and some Census records.  My current theory is that most of the children were female and they would have taken on married names.

I have tried the usual searches on Jewish Gen and simply found other cousins that I know about and with whom I am in touch.

If anyone has any information or suggestions, please respond privately to

Martha DRASSINOWER, Toronto, Canada