Monday, July 17, 2017

Where Was Simon? And Why?

Shimon Pikholz - Simon or Szymon on some of his documents - lived in Skalat and was
married to Dwore Waltuch who bore two daughters before she died in 1861 at age twenty-three. Skalat birth records begin in 1859, so we don't have one for Lea. Breine was born 14 January 1860. We have a large  family for Lea and her husband Berl Pfeffer, but the only trace we have of Breine is her birth.

As often happened when a widower was left with small children, a second marriage was arranged within the family - in this case, Dwore's younger sister Chana. Chana and Simon had five children who lived to adulthood (one of them died unmarried at age twenty-five) and several others died in childhood. All were born in Skalat, the last in 1885.

Simon himself was the son of Mordecai (b. 1805) and Taube Pikholz and based on the age of the first wife, I assume he was born around 1835.

Lea Pfeffer had children in Kopycienice (e Galicia) and in Czernovitz, where she died in 1913. Her husband Berl Pfeffer and children later moved to Vienna.

Chana's daughter Rifka went to the US in early 1891, married Max Rosenbaum and took the name Beatrice.

Dwore - named for her aunt - went to the US later in 1891 (together with another Pikholz, a first cousin of my grandfather. She went by Dora in the US.

Chana and son Mordecai/Max went to the US in 1892.

The youngest, eighteen year old Joseph, was in New Jersey on 1899 but we have no record of his travel from Europe.

As for Simon, we have nothing to show that he crossed the ocean and he had no presence in the United States. But neither do we have a death record for him in Skalat or anywhere else.

Rivka had only daughters and granddaughters, so didn't name after him. Dora had a son Samuel, but his Jewish name is Shalom, after Simon's brother.. Max had a son Shimon, but he wasn't born until 1933. And Joseph's son Sam has no Hebrew on his tombstone so we can only guess at his name.

So for years, I had assumed that Simon died in Skalat, probably just before his family began its piecemeal emigration. And that for some reason there was no death record.

Then  this.
Szymon Pickholz, house 899 Skalat, died 20 December 1908 at age 78.

This cannot be anyone else, even though I have nothing else in this house. Born in 1830 works.

So why was he in Skalat sixteen years after his wife went to the US? Was there a divorce or a separation? Now I return to the youngest son Joseph who appears in New Jersey in 1899 at age eighteen without ever appearing on a passenger list. Maybe Simon brought his youngest son to the US and the transcribers wrote the names so badly that they are unrecognizable. Then Simon returned to Skalat - when? why?

Is there a way to know?

(I have been in touch with descendants of four of Simon's children, including Lea Pfeffer, but only one has given DNA for our project. But that one has proven very valuable.)

Housekeeping Notes
Tuesday I go to Moscow to meet the third of my newfound second cousins on my mother's mother's Rosenbloom side. The three are first cousins to one another, which makes for good DNA. Another one in Moscow - the sister of the one I visited in Nuremberg - is too ill to see me, but her daughter will probably get her DNA and I'll visit another time.

It's a quick visit, but since it's on the way to the US, it doesn't add to my travel expense so I can do it again pretty easily.

Then Orlando where I am giving four presentations and several mentoring and translation sessions. And I'll be debuting a new T-shirt in the "My Kind of Acid" line.

And after that a quick weekend in Chicago which will include an unveiling for my brother a week from Friday.

Way too much to do before I leave.

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