I have the WWI registration records of my great-great grandpa who was supposedly born in Russia in 1890-1892. He emigrated to the US (Chicago) in around 1910, I think. The typed up transcript on their site says the town name is "Swel", but below is the actual image. I'd like to know the real name of that town, and what area/town of Russia that is today so I can see where he was from and maybe find out if any of his Russian family is still living today.
I've asked some Russians and they can't figure out what the town name's supposed to be, and then I read that "Russia" might actually mean Lithuania etc on old US documents.
Unfortunately I know almost nothing about him as clues, I want to know the town name in part so I can try to find out more about him. I think I heard that his dad was a potato farmer back in the old country while he himself was a carpenter. According to the census records he married a Pole (born in Knogness) who had two German parents, and according to my memories the two of them spoke "German" together. They passed down Russian, Polish and "German" to their children as first languages. Their maid at home was (I think) Polish.
In his obituary it seems at least one of his parents was Lutheran. I grew up with my great-grandpa being alive and he never mentioned his/their religion around me, nor did he call his German "Yiddish" (I also don't know the precise religion of my great-grandpa or his children either), but of course it's very possible one or both of his parents switched religions upon moving to the US, or that his dad knew Yiddish as well as German, or that he himself hid that he spoke Yiddish due to WWII stuff, etc.
I did some more searching around. I seem to remember he was a carpenter, if he was indeed from Zvil it said there was an unusually high number of carpenters who were Jewish. Also both the first name "David" (as was written on some results that were him, not "Daniel" as in the WWI record) and the last name "Meister" are apparently Jewish names. I also found a different person whose ancestors were from Russia/Polland with the last name Meister and it stated they were Lutheran too, that person was wondering if there was any kind of mass conversion from "Jewish" to "Lutheran" that took place at some point.
Here's the full image for the WWI registration record:
I looked up the house address on Google Maps, and from an old realtor ad it says "built in 1879", so this must be the original house he lived in in Chicago.