Compiled and annotated - August 15, 1999 by L. Spaiser

This document, a compilation of several other documents, explains why and how this book was written. It is to provide a coherent background to the whole project.

There were three prefaces written at each new benchmark of the project.

1. The original 1994 preface when the project was started.
2. A preface to a preliminary paperbound edition released in 1997, and
3. The preface to the online edition which appears in the document you are looking at.

This document combines all three of these prefaces.


Pauline Shernicoff (my aunt) and her daughter Janet (Berman) who recorded the information on a computer in 1986, wrote the original manuscript for this family history.

In 1994, seeking a meaningful 80th birthday present for my dear aunt (and being a document publisher by profession), I decided to take Pauline's manuscript, and re-do it as a typeset paper publication to include photos and illustrations as well. At a party celebrating this event I presented her with a hand bound preliminary, which was typeset and laid out as it is now, but which contained only boxes where the pictures were to go. I then continued the project by obtaining and adding the pictures.

In 1997 as work was nearing release a triple birthday celebration for Yvette, Pauline and Jules was announced. I decided this was the time to publish a preliminary edition and to make special copies for each of those special people. It was my feeling we might not finish a polished final version in time for them to be able to see it.

So about copies 8 of these soft cover books was made and presented to the principals at the party (and to whomever else was helping me with the ongoing work). As I guessed, after that things crawled to a halt. After a while I decided to begin a pilot project to finish the publication here on the World Wide Web.

For each of these "preliminary" versions I wrote a new preface. Taken together the three prefaces totally describe the reasons for this online edition of the book and trace its evolution. Read them and you will understand what this whole thing is about.

1994 Introductory Material (PREFACE 1)

I am Lieb (Leslie), son of Esther (Estelle). It is 1994 and I live in Boston Massachusetts. I have a sister Annette who lives in Berkeley California. I am a first generation cousin in the Chayt family. I was born in Brooklyn, New York in April 1940.

As of this time a lot of you, my second and third cousins, have never met me. A lot of my third cousins probably have never even heard of me. I do not know all of you or that some of you are even out there! My sister's children who were born in California and rarely have been back east know hardly any of you or of your existence.

But if somewhere in your family tree there was a Chayt, and your great or great-great uncles and aunts grew up in New York City, then you and I and my sister and her children are probably related, descendants of the same two people, Chai Golub and Simcha Chayt, my maternal grandparents.

The original manuscript for this family history was written by (aunt) Pauline (Shernicoff) and her daughter Janet (Berman) who recorded the following information on a computer in 1986. A dot-matrix printout was distributed - as far as I know - to everyone down to the first generation cousins. You, your parents or grandparents may still have a copy of that document somewhere - perhaps you have even read it.

Several years ago, after my mother Estelle's death, I decided to take this effort one step further and produce a second edition using Pauline and Janet's text. Of course there have been many changes and some corrections that need to be addressed. Most important - however- I feel will be the addition of photographs and illustrations which, I hope will make it more likely to be looked by at the younger generations.

Obviously this is an ongoing project and I am appealing to all of you for help. Please send me everything you think might belong in a volume like this. If the response is good enough, I may even go forward in producing a third edition, highly illustrated and brought up to date. Please be sure to see my "Parting Words" which are at the end of the book.

It is hard to make an appropriate dedication for this book. There are so many to consider. First and foremost I must thank my grandparents, Clara and Simon Chayt, who are responsible for my being here at all. Next I thank my grandfathers' firstborn son Maurice for very likely saving their lives.

However I especially wish to dedicate this 2nd edition to my aunt Pauline on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Pauline who has always been an inspiration and is a very very dear and special person to me.

Finally, as I had originally intended, I dedicate this work to the memory of my mother Estelle, who died on December 13, 1990 and whose passing inspired the work.

After we are all gone, this will remain as the one complete record of the family. I hope it will be a worthy effort. And so this is really my gift to all of you in the family who I know so well from Brooklyn to Florida and beyond, and who, in both the best and worst of times have been there for me. I especially wish to thank cousin Ethel Brown for her kindness and personal attention during the time of my father Morris' illness and death.

I will never forget all of you - for the love - caring - and special affection you have given me. I hope you will enjoy this small gift I give in return.

Here now, is the beginning of the 1994 compilation or 2nd edition of the of the Chayt Family History, beginning with the earliest recollected knowledge of our common ancestors Chai and Simcha Chayt from the vicinity of Kiev, Russia.

Leslie H. Spaiser

April, 1994

1997 Introductory Material (PREFACE 2)

Years have passed and as some of you know, this project got bogged down for various reasons (one of which was the sheer volume of material you all sent me in response to the first draft), -- I became frustrated knowing I had all that wonderful material and at the time could not continue with the project. It is just now that I am resuming work on the project. I assure you that sooner or later more than is now covered will be and everybody whose picture is missing will be included. I apologize to those who sent so much material but which I still have not the time to do justice to.

The project includes gathering the information (amply done), integrating that information into the original text written by Pauline Shernicoff, and scanning or otherwise incorporating all those wonderful pictures (in progress now), which is my idea of what will make this a more interesting book for kids of future generations to browse, and maybe even read. Without interesting photos and family tree diagrams (and things like that), books like this tend to get shelved and forgotten.

Present Goals

This release is a special edition produced for the April 20 celebration of the birthday's of Yvette, Pauline and of Jules. It precedes a 1rst release for general distribution which will follow.

Another goal is to set up a mechanism for maintaining the Chayt Family History Database, begun, largely by Toby Hanover, and now being updated by (this work is in a standard GEDCOM database).

Finally it would be nice to periodically update this book, which requires the skills of a publisher but which is can be done by any competent contemporary computer user with a flair for publishing. I will try to do this as long as I can - but solicit the assistance of the youngsters in the family who might really enjoy doing this. I will teach anyone willing to make the commitment whatever I know of the skills.

Preface to the Online Edition (PREFACE 3)

More years have passed and some changes have occurred. Since the very limited release of the softbound version of this book in 1997 and the subsequent publishing of a draft on the World Wide Web, I have moved several times, and at one point discontinued maintaining the Chayt website altogether.

Now, with your help, through your contributions, the website is back as is this book.

Also, since 1997 my objectives have changed as well. I no longer expect to produce any further paper documents, and will try to duplicate, as closely as possible, what is in the original paperbound 1997 release online here on this website. This includes the text of the 1997 book, and increasingly the photos.

The Problems Associated with Illustrated Books on the World Wide Web

Most of you know that including photographs of any quality in an online document means long upload times. The more photos and the bigger they are, the longer it takes. A partial solution is to replace the full photos where they were in the paperbound book, with small thumbnail versions of the picture that you click on to see the bigger picture.(This is explained in Considerations When Viewing Photos in the book.) That way the document will load in a fairly reasonable time and you can decide which photos you want to take the extra time to see in detail. You will still have to wait for each photo to upload if you select it.

This process of adding the photos and illustrations is currently being done very slowly and painstakingly as each photo has to be properly processed for web viewing, a thumbnail made and inserted, and a link created to the full size photo or illustration.

By the time this is completed, as some of you are probably aware, new communications technologies may give you internet access speeds 5, 10 or even 100 times as fast (for reasonable prices). As I write this many locations are getting internet services through their cable, at speeds of 115,000 Baud.(115 Kb) about 3 times the actual speed you get if you have a 56,000 (56Kb) dialup modem. Some locations are even getting fiber optic lines which will increase speeds far faster than those mentioned. So it is clear that in the long run this online version will become more and more practical to read and view.

So check out what is new every once in a while. Slowly the book will grow to include all of the original photos, and perhaps more.

For now enjoy.

Leslie - June 21, 1999