Sunday, October 18, 2015

Extra Scharf

The short-lived marriage of Basie Rachel Pikholz and Samson Scharf is one we have known about for years. It was short-lived because Basie Rachel died 6 August 1882 at age 29, of stomache cancer (magenkrebs).
Basie's death is the sixth record on this page.

She had given birth to two sons in Zbarazh, Peretz in 1878, named after her father who had died in 1873 and Lazar who died in January 1882, four and a half months before his second birthday.  On Lazar's birth record, his mother is incorrecty recorded as "Basie Lea."
We have these three records, but it's easier just to show the index.

By 1885, Samson is having the first of four recorded children with his second wife, Gittel Kornweitz. (There may be one more in 1883, but Samson's name does not appear on that record.)

Peretz married in nearby Skalat - where his mother had almost certainly been born and where Samson and Gittel lived - and after the birth of his first child, went to the United States where his subsequent children were born.

I have been in touch with a granddaughter of Peretz almost since the start of the Pikholz Project and she knew that there had been a younger brother who had died in childhood. So the structure of this particular family was clear. Two sons, one of whom grew to adulthood.

Until last Wednesday.

When I received the following email from David Zelikvoski here in Israel. This was not a name I recognized.
my name is David Zelikovski, a descendant of the Scharf family on my mother's side. Recently I've taken a DNA test at FTDNA, and was found to have a relatively big shared longest block of 43 CM (total of 108 CM) with [redacted] Scharf a descendant of Samson Scharf and Bessie Pickholtz. My branch of the Scharf family is from a village between Zlochov and Brody, not very far from Zbaraze, which leads me to believe that Samson Scharf is probably related to my Scharf ancestry. Unfortunately, I was not able to prove that.

Anyway, by random search for data on other parts of my family, originating from Moravia, I've found this piece of information that might interest you (assuming you don't already have it). It is a marriage registry between Ester Scharf, daughter of Samson and Burche Scharf and Isak Keller. The marriage took place in Kyjov, Moravia in 11/1915 (emphasis in the original)
The Scharf he matches is a participant in our DNA project and is a great-grandson of Peretz.

As we can see from the partial certificate above, Ester's mother is Basche, not Burche, so this appears to be a sister an older sister of Peretz. (Married in 1915 at age 39, would mean she was born about 1876.) My immediate suspicion was that this was a late recording of an earlier Jewish marriage, perhaps with children born in Galicia.

As David continued looking at the WWI refugee records for Kyjov Moravia, he saw that this couple had a daughter Sarah, born in 1915.

who died two years later,

a few weeks after an older sister Berthe, who must have been born in Zbarazh.

So it looks like Peretz had a sister that lived at least until WWI and had at least two children. So why didn't he ever mention her?

Meantime, David went back to JRI-Poland (I love it when someone else does my work for me!)  and found two birth records that we had not noticed before. This...

Freude Jente was born near Zbarazh in 1904. For some reason, the record names Ester's father but not her mother. I have not figured out the long note on the bottom right, but it includes the date of Ester's 1915 marriage, so at least part of has to do with the "legitimacy" of the child.

And this...

The child here is Basie Rachel, born 10 October 1901 and here Ester's mother is identified as "Basi Rachli." That removes any remaining doubt that we are talking about the same family.

So Ester, the previously unknown older sister, and her husband Isak Keller had four daughters. Or maybe three. I suspect that Berthe who died at fifteen in February 1917 is the same person as Basie Rachel who was born in October 1901. (David agrees with me on that point.) But in the meantime, I'll keep them separate.

Now we have to find out what happened to Ester, Isak and at least Freude Jente.

And we still don't know why Peretz (who died in 1963) never mentioned her.

Housekeeping notes
I am speaking next week (in Hebrew) on Jewish Genetic Genealogy, based largely on my book ENDOGAMY: One Family, One People. (NOTE: The Israeli discount expires at the end of October!) One talk is for the Israel Genealogical Society's Jerusalem branch on Tuesday 27 October. The other is the next day in Carmiel.


  1. Morris Picholtz was Rabbi if B'Nai Jeshuran in Philadelphia's Strawberry Mansion on 33rd and Diamond Streets during the 1950's.