My Mother's Maiden Name


As a child I was always told that my mother's maiden name (her grandfather's last name) was "Chasinofovich" (I may have spelled that wrong). When I began learning Russian, I quickly realized this was most likely his Отчество, or his patronymic name. This name is formed by adding either -ович or -овна to the father's first name. With this knowledge I googled the first name "Chasinof" in both Latin and Cyrillic scripts but I could not find anything on its origin. All we know is that he was from somewhere in the Soviet Union or possibly South-Eastern Europe but perhaps he was originally from somewhere else and moved to a Soviet country only to adopt a Russian-form of his name. Can anyone help me determine where he was from?

Cпасибо большое,

Максим (Matthew)


I just contacted my aunt. She says she believes that the name was in fact Chasinovich and NOT Chasinofovich. I do not know why she told me it was Chasinofovich before. She also says she is not sure as to whether it was spelt with a ч or a x (ch vs kh); for now I would say look for both. I am so sorry for the inconvenience and thank you so much for baring with me.

February 18, 2018


Привет, Максим.

I'm afraid it is unlikely to pinpoint the location with so little information...

You may be right about the patronymic thing, but still last names (family names) ending with '-ович' are not uncommon, in the USSR especially in Belarus and in Ukraine (e.g. Yanukovich) as well as Russia (e.g. Abramovich).

This ending is also very typical for Croatian and Serbian family names.

Can also be Polish if written without the last '-h': Chasinofovic.

I guess you should try to check some archive papers to gather more data about the man. There must be something.

February 19, 2018

That is some great advice! My cousin is planning to go to Ellis Island soon to do some research. Thank you so much for your quick reply.

February 19, 2018

Please note the update in the original post.

February 20, 2018

Wow, how interesting! The resources I would recommend have already been listed, unfortunately. But I really hope that you find out all of this; it would be so nice to find out more about your family history. You seem so committed! I commend you:). Best of luck!!

The percentage and ancestry-tracing companies I've heard so much about. I would love to do something like this, but I was encouraged by my relatives to wait until I'm older and it's all more precise. Maybe they just don't want me to find out that I'm actually Russian…:))))

February 19, 2018

Hahaha that is funny! Thank you so much for your kind regards :).

February 19, 2018

Of course! Best to you:)

February 19, 2018

Please note the update in the original post.

February 20, 2018

I'm quite sure it's Slavic in origin, most probably Russian.

Chasinovovich = Chasinov + ovich (patronymic) - the son of "Chasinov". Normally, feminine version would have a different ending (-ovna), but if your mother's family were emmigrants, the tradition of changing the ending to gender-appropiate may have been dropped, resulting in her taking her father's name without changing it. Therefore, you should be looking for:



The "Chasin" is masculine name, Hebrew in origin, so your family may have Jewish roots, they could have been emmigrants from the Soviet Union (because of WWII, probably). Here's a sample site about that name:


I tried looking for names similar to Chasinov in Polish ("Czasynow, Czasynof), but there were no results, also Polish doesn't usually use patronymic names, so it's probably not Polish in origin.

If could do some more searching about this, if you'd tell me what's the spelling of that name in Cyrilic and approximately what years were your parents and grandparents born?

I hope that helps you a bit in your search, удачи! :)

And if not... to lift your mood and keep up good hopes, here's a funny little video concerning the difficulty of Slavic names: ( it gave me quite a laugh ;D

February 19, 2018

Please note the update in the original post.

February 20, 2018

Found a couple of pages for Abraham Chasinov(-ic):




Abraham Kahanovitz - here the approximate date of birth matches.

Lots of variations of the surname with first name "Abraham"

See if you recognize any photos, family members names.

I don't think the name will be spelled in Cyrillic, the was no point in retaining that spelling when emigrating. I think slight variations due to changing the spelling to fit English pronunciation are possible. And I almost forgot to ask - are you or you family from New York, or the US? Most of the searches come up from there, and I don't know if to include them or not ;)

Edit: It should be Amraham Chasinov, not Chasinovich, since his children would have the patronymics, but not he himself. Do you maybe recognize this person, photo, or names of his children?

February 20, 2018

Yes. I am fairly confident he came through Ellis Island. And unfortunately, none of those profiles match up. Thank you so much for your effort!

February 20, 2018

It should be Abraham Chasin or Chasinov, not Chasinovich, since his children would have the patronymics, but not he himself. Do you maybe recognize this person, photo, or the names of his children from your family?

Or this one. Do you know his date of death maybe?

Edit: if they don't match up, you probably should indeed check the Ellis Island record, at least now you know what he was actually called ;)

February 20, 2018

Hi Mia!

This bit looks odd to me:

Chasinovovich = Chasinov + ovich (patronymic) - the son of "Chasinov".

Because -ов is a masculine possessive suffix in Russian, Chasinov is (or can be) a valid surname meaning "of Chasin's kin". That's why roughly 1/3 of Russians have surnames ending with -ов, which is commonly transliterated as -ov, -of or -off.

The problem is that patronymics are built on first names, not surnames.

So the formula you suggest wouldn't work in Russian.

It could have been instead "Chasin + ovich = Chasinovich"

The double '-ov-' bit is very unusual in Russian.

Besides, a patronymic is a single generation thing: it's built off of father's first name, not grandfather's or great grandfather's ones.

February 19, 2018

It makes sense, I got a lot of search results for Chasinov, but none for Chasinovovich. However, mir630 said his mother's surname was originally Chasinof(/v)ovich... It still comes from "Chasin", but I have no idea how it may have ended up with two patronymics.

February 19, 2018

Yes I find this very odd as well. I actually confirmed with three family members to be confident that was in fact his name and they all said it was.

February 19, 2018

Then it was. The thing is that, unless some clerk made a mistake confusing the names around, it is hardly a patronymic after all: patronymics don't travel through generations.

So it's a surname. But still we're pretty much back at where we've started: somewhere in South-Eastern Europe. Could be Serbian, Croatian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, Russian, less likely Polish, possibly of Jewish descent. Not much, eh?

Also, there is this place in the world, which brings up a whole lot of Iranian and Caucasian possibilities.

You definitely have to do some research digging through the archived paperwork. :)

February 20, 2018

I have no idea how it may have ended up with two patronymics.

I don't think it did. I think it's not a patronymic but a surname sounding like one.

Like Milla Jovovich's (her father was a Serb, so the surname is Serbian).

February 20, 2018

I tried to narrow down the search a bit:

  • If the original spelling was a bit different but got changed:

Hasinovic/Hasinović/Hasanović (do you know if it was spelled with "ch" or "h" originally? In Polish they sound the same, but "ч" is "cz" and "ц" is "ć") - origin: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Other forms that gave some results:   хасинович, хасиновиц; example: look here.

The exact name часинович appears here.

However, when written like that: chasinowitz (or chasinovitz) - it gives a multitude of links to many ancestry, genealogy and memorial sites. (the "tz" here sounds close to ć/č/ц, so it may have been changed that way). Look at the sites, there's even info about emigration (USA mostly), dates of birth and death. Maybe you'll recognize any of you ancestors. Adding the -witz is a popular way of americanizing -vic/-vić.

Same for: Khazanovitz, Khazanovich, Khasinovich, Khasanovich,

The versions with the additional -ov in the middle give no results. All my result searches seem to lead to Jewish origins, so maybe the name was misspelled accidentally during migration or on purpose?

Unless you are completely sure about the spelling of the name, it's difficult to find an exact country. But what were your great-grandparents and grandparents first names? Some names are characteristical for a specific country, it may make a difference in determining the spelling too.

I haven't tested the options including "ф" instead of "в"... but it's 4 am here, even insomniacs like me need some sleep ;)

February 20, 2018

I believe the name is pronounced with a ч, not a x. I will double-check on that though. As to whether there are two -ovs or just one, I am not sure. I just asked my aunt about both of these. She is older than my mom so she remembers more about him. Also, his first name was Abraham. He was Jewish, I think.

February 20, 2018

Ok I just got a hold of her. It turns out that it was in fact Chasinovich, NOT Chasinofovich. My mom told me incorrectly. I am so sorry for the inconvenience.

February 20, 2018

Great, now it does add up.

his first name was Abraham. He was Jewish, I think.

Most certainly. And it's a promising thing: Jewish communities tend to keep good track about their members and are fond of genealogy, so you might actually find a trace after all.

it was in fact Chasinovich

Okay, so Abraham Chasinovich.

If you come to searching in Cyrillics, note that the Latin 's' can code not only Cyrillic 'с' ([s] sound) but also Cyrillic 'з' ([z] sound) with the letter 'z' reserved for 'ц' ([ts] sound).

So the name can be:

  • Авраам Часинович;
  • Авраам Касинович;
  • Авраам Хасинович;
  • Авраам Чазинович;
  • Авраам Казинович;
  • Авраам Хазинович.
February 20, 2018

Yeah you make a good point.

February 20, 2018

Peter594672, I am not sure if I am replying to your most recent comment or not (it didn't give me the option to) but yes those names sound very plausible. However, I do not think it began with a к (ruling out Касинович and Казинович). We will have to research them. Thank you so much!

February 20, 2018

Do as you wish, but keep them in mind because when it comes to Cyrillics transliteration it is always tricky and never reliable. Especially when the word in question has been first converted from something else.

E.g., how do you read chemistry? With [k] in the beginning, right? And it starts with [h] in Russian while being the same initial Greek word χημία, only adopted directly from Greek, saving the travel through Arabic where [h] turned into [k]. I don't know how it ended up being coded with ch in English (perhaps the French helped), but it did.

With the Hebrew or Yiddish name you are searching for it might have happened the other way around.

February 20, 2018

Yeah, you make a good point.

February 20, 2018

Also, for the first name the following spellings could have been used:

  • Avraham;
  • Avraam;
  • Avram;
  • Abraam;
  • Abram (as in M1 tank name).
February 20, 2018

Yeah. Unfortunately, I do not know which was his.

February 20, 2018

It's just a hint on what to look for.

Really you should search for some paperwork first and go step by step from there. Your mother was married and lived somewhere, had some property, visited doctors, attended school, etc.

It is practically impossible to live a life without leaving a trace of paperwork behind. There you'll probably find her father mentioned. From there you move on and on and finally find the man you're looking for.

February 21, 2018

What kind of paperwork are you thinking of?

February 21, 2018

Unfortunately I don't know enough about the US bureaucracy, but I imagine that I'd start with marriage papers.

I mean, there are two people and they claim they are married. Can they prove that with anything? If there is any official document confirming that, I guess there should be your mother's maiden name in there.

Then, how does one change their name in the US and lets the world know about it? She used to be Miss Chasinovich before the marriage, and became Mrs. Whatever afterwards, and then had to have that new name on her driver's license, ID, bank records, insurance, wherever else... There must be records kept so that Mrs.Whatever could be identified as former Miss Chasinovich throughout all her accounts.

With her name known I'd try to find the school she attended because I would imagine schools must have contact info on the students' parents, like names and addresses. That's where you get your grandfathers credentials from.

And then you start investigating him knowing his name and where he lived. And so on.

February 21, 2018

That is really helpful! Thank you for all of your help!

February 21, 2018

Wow this amazing! You have been so helpful. Yes, actually her maiden name is Chasin but originally Chasinofovich. In Cyrillic I guess it would be either Часинофович or Часиновович, however it could be completely different. My mother was born in the late 1960s and her parents were born in the 1930s. I believe her grandfather was born around 1905-1910. You are so kind for doing all of this research for me.

February 19, 2018

I'm happy to help you! :)

I'm not 100% sure, but I think your family is Russian-Jewish in origin, and if your grandparents were born in the 1930s, it coincidences with the WWII later, so they may have emigrated because of the war and the following repressions. Here's some more reading about it, although I'm not really familiar with that subject, it's easy to find articles about it (on Wikipedia especially).

Your family's history may go even further, because many people in the Soviet Union were once deported from other countries - see here. It would match with your mother's grandparents dates of birth.

Good luck in finding out your family's history! :)

February 19, 2018
February 19, 2018

They do not have any information on it but I submitted a request. Thank you so much!

February 19, 2018 is a genealogy project, and they also can analyse your DNA and tell you where in the world the patterns you have are met the most (i.e. which ethnic groups you are akin to).

It might also give you some hints on where to search. Or at least on where not to search :)

February 19, 2018

Please note the update in the original post.

February 20, 2018
  • 1760

Часиноф (Chasinof) souds strange as a name. Maybe it is Хасинов (Hasinov). The widespread name in the Caucasus.

February 19, 2018

Chasinof does sound strange as a name. But it can be a lot of things. Just imagine the situation: another ship with refugees/immigrants came from war torn (again) Europe. Half of them without any papers.

The guy at the registration desk goes in cycles.

[something muttered in a foreign language with a few sounds Latin has no characters to code]
"How do you spell that?"
[Silence. The guy does not speak English.]
"Okay... how do I spell it then?.. I guess this way. Here you go, sir, welcome to America.

And so on.

February 19, 2018

Wow that is very interesting! Of the pictures I've seen of him, he looks relatively tan and has Mediterranean-like features so that could be a possibility. I cannot find anything online with that spelling. Are you sure it's spelt Хасинов?

February 19, 2018

Please note the update in the original post.

February 20, 2018
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