Jossel (Yossef) Meier Datnowsky.

Other spellings: Iosel Meyer, Iosel Meer Datnovsky.

Jossel was the son of Itsko (Itska, Yitzhak) and was born in 1830 in Dotnuva (Datnove), a village in Lithuania, in the Kaunas Gubernia.

Jossel married Sore, and the couple had two sons: Abraham, born in 1849, and Moshe (Moritz), born in 1860.

The couple apparently had at least two more children, who most likely didn't survive as they don't appear on a 1874 list, and no other trace of their existence exists:

If Abram and Khonon were indeed children of Yosel and Sora, this means that Jossel, originally from the small village of Dotnuva, moved with his wife to Kaunas, the second-largest city in Lithuania. (*Vilijampole is a neighborhood of Kaunas). This in turn suggests that Sore might have originally been from Kaunas.

At some point, the family moved to Libau, as an entry for J.M. Datnowsky in the 1892 Libau Address book indicates that the couple lived on 22, Seestrasse (today: Juras Iela).

Libau map.

1892 Libau address book: Seestrasse.


Libau map.

Map of Libau, 1900. Seestrasse is marked in yellow


Seestrasse appears to be on the residential side of Libau, the opposite side of the canal which connects the Baltic Sea with Lake Liepāja and separates the Old city from New Liepāja.

A photo of a cobblestone street in the family album was captioned by my father: "Old district in Libau. (Not the Datnowsky neighborhood). An inscription on the back by my grandmother simply reads "Old Libau (Latvia)".

Old district in Libau.

Old district in Libau. Possibly Seestrasse.

Collection of the author

The sign on the small alley on the left reads "Todes iela" (Todes Gasse, or Toden Gasse); this is a small alley that led to Seestrasse. Unfortunately, the name on the street itself is too hard to decipher, make it impossible to confirm that this is indeed Seestrasse and not the street on the other end of Todes Gasse.

There is a 50% chance then that this was indeed the street where Yossel Datnowsky lived.

Jossel died on March 1, 1910 (20 Adar Alef 5670) and is buried in Libau.

Liepaja Jewish Cemetery Burials 1909-1941
Last Name Given Names Father's Name Death Date
Jewish Date Jewish Year
DATNOWSKY Jossel Meier 1 March, 1910 20 Adar Alef 5670


Datnowsky tombstone, Libau.

Tombstones of Abraham Datnowsky, Sore Datnowsky, Jossel Meier Datnowsky. Libau.
Although it's impossible to read, assuming the fourth tombstone is Bassja's.


Other spellings: Sora, Sarah.

Sore was born in 1828. If "Abram Movsha BULON/DATNOVSKY, son of Yosel, grandson of Itska, and of Sora, born Jan 7, 1859" was indeed her child, then her surname must have been Bulon. Nothing else is known about her.

She died around 1908 and was buried in Libau.

Special Thanks:
Michael Frumkin, for providing information on the origins of the Datnowsky family
Sources and References:
Address of Jossel Meyer Datnowsky:
Liepaja Jewish Cemetery Book 1909-1941:
1900 map of Liepaja: (Territory Planning Concepts and Urban Development in the Renewed Latvia Republic (1990-2015), Silvija OZOLA, 2015.)

This family history project started September 2009.
All photos and documents belong to the author and are © Daniel Abraham, except for maps and where indicated.
Please have the courtesy to ask before copying any content.

This is a work in progress. Please contact me if you have any more information to contribute.

Last Modified: Saturday, October 8, 2022