The Shnier (and Bernstein, and ...) Pages

Hello, and welcome to the Shnier Family web site, a collection of history and photographs of the Shnier family.

Family History Family History
Photographs of the early Shnier years, Remembrances of some who have passed on, a Scrapbook section with some more-recent letters, and a Trivia section.
Updates Web Site Updates
A summary of updates to this web site.
Clifford Clifford Shnier
The complete wartime service record (and more) of Clifford Shnier, who was shot down while piloting a bomber.
Norman Norman Shnier
Norman Shnier describes how his parents met, his youth, his War years, and the beginning of Gesco.
Cecil Cecil Shnier, Emerson, and Melfort
Cecil Shnier started the effort to document the Bernstein and Shnier family trees, and with excellent response from family, produced a Genealogical Listing. He also wrote an 8-page letter with reminisces of Melfort, and how Phil Shnier was named. There is also a wonderful letter from Babe, all here.
Bertha Bertha Kliman
Bertha's 105th birthday.

See the Tree:

The Family Tree
In the 1970s, Cecil Shnier began this family tree work, and in the 1990s Phil Shnier continued this, adding over 650 Shniers and relatives into the genealogy program Family Tree Maker. Starting in the 2000s, Mira Shnier has continued this work, and now has over 2,600 people entered, many for spouses' families.

Click on Descendants of Akiva Shnier and Descendants of Itzak Eli Bernstein:

  • These are in “pdf” format, for which you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • The tree is really really wide – you need to zoom in (click on the plus sign in the circle near the top-centre, to zoom to at least 300%). Then search (type Ctrl-F) to search for a name. Pan around by dragging (click on the hand symbol first). Some browsers just won't display properly or zoom large enough (such as Firefox if it is set to display pdf files using Flash), so download the tree (perhaps by right-clicking on the link, or when displaying it clicking on the down-arrow icon near the top-right of your screen) so you can display it directly in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Surnames with (brackets) are used when the maiden name is not known.

Please send updates and corrections: cities, dates, maiden names, interesting facts: we want it all. Please e-mail them to Mitchell Shnier at

Pavolitch and Kremenitz The Shnier (and Rusen) family is from the small town of Pavolitch (the next small town west is Berdichev, 60 km away, and the big city of Kiev is 100 km north-east):

The Bernstein family is from the city of Kremenitz (which is 300 km west of Pavolitch):

Picnic The Family Picnic
Every year there's a family picnic in Toronto, some pictures are here.
Lisa Cooper, author of A Forgotten Land, Growing Up in the Jewish Pale The Book, and Pavolitch
Lisa Cooper's great grandmother was Moishe Shnier's cousin. Or, another way, Lisa Cooper's great great grandfather was Moishe Shnier's father's brother – oh, go look for yourself on the Shnier Family Tree – remember to click several times on the “+” (just below the top centre of the screen) so it is large enough to see.

Based on stories her grandmother told in Yiddish (and which her father translated), she has written and had published a book about her Shnier ancestors, most of whom are on the family tree, and were from Pavolitch. Her book brings to life many of the names on the Shnier family tree. You and your children should all have a copy, as it is an engrossing book that shows what day-to-day life was really like, how terrible life became, and why so many left. The book is available from (from Canada), (from the US), or directly from the publisher.

Lisa visited Pavolitch in 2005, and some of her photographs are posted here. These pictures are gorgeous, and change my mental image of “the old country” being dreary and muddy.

Also, Keith Levit, a Winnipeg-based photographer whose grandmother came from Pavolitch, visited there in 1999 and has posted some photographs here.

Margolis Leah Shnier and the Immigration of the Margolis Family
Akiva Shnier's second wife, Leah, had one daughter, named Chaya. Chaya married Moses Margolis, and in 1925 Mendel Shnier (Akiva's son, and Moishe Shnier's father) completed an application to bring Chaya and Moses Margolis, their children, and Leah, to Canada. Cecil Shnier was able to get over 50 pages of documents on this effort.
Ruth Ruth (Paull) Shear's Pictures from Gina Shear
In 2006, Gina Shear digitized some slides taken by her mother Ruth Shear (Allan Paull's sister) in the 1940s and 1950s.
G.E. Shnier Co.
G. E. Shnier Co.
After more than 60 years of entrepreneurship and growth, the family business was sold on January 31, 2007. The company's current web site is here and history is here.

The sale was publically announced on February 4, 2007, and on that day:

  • A “snapshot” of the corporate web site's Company Information and Company History was taken.
  • There was a 30-minute presentation, you can hear this in .wav (higher quality) or .mp3 (most compatible), or .mp3 (lowest bit-rate) format.

A newspaper article from 1969 is here (a larger image is here). Click here for a photograph of Irving Shnier, in Babe's handwriting it says 1945 on the back. The window behind Irving says: "GEO.E. SHNIER & CO. LIMITED, CONSUMER & INDUSTRIAL RUBBER PRODUCTS" probably followed by "POLAROID CANADA". Read more about G.E. Shnier Co. in Norman's memoirs, above.

Allan Paull Allan E. Paull
Allan Paull (his mother's sister was Moishe Shnier's wife) served overseas as a radar technician. At his web site here, he has wartime memoirs, a booklet (with copies of some very interesting documents) describing his grandfather's arrival in Canada in 1890 and settling in the “North West Territories” (now Saskatchewan), and more.

A copy of this web site is here, and a copy of the booklet is here.

More More Family Trees
Here are some family trees for spouses of people in the above trees, including Abugov, Itkin, and Galpert.

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me at
Mitchell Shnier, Toronto, Canada