Sunday, July 4, 2021

Wolf Pickholz


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Wolf and Ryfka Pickholz: Voters for the Polish Senate

The name "Pikholz" in its various forms, is both uncommon and unusual, so when people see it, they notice. Since I have been in contact with so many researchers over the years, I hear from people from time to time that they have run across a Pikholz reference that I had not previously seen. I received one of these about two weeks ago from a fellow named Oded Vardi, with whom I had a brief correspondence eighteen months ago.

1928 Polish Senate Elections
Oded has Skalat and Grzmaylow interests and was looking at records of voters in the 1928 Polish Senate elections, for people registered in Skalat. He passed on this listing for Wolf and Ryfka Pickholz, both age 52. Wolf is not a common Pikholz name. It appears in my Given Name Analysis only thirty-two times, seventeen in Skalat families and fifteen in Rozdol families. One of the seventeen from Skalat is married to Rivka Reisel with known children born 1896-1907 - so the age fits. I do not consider it jumping to conclusions to say that the couple in the elections list is the one we already know.

Wolf and Rifka Reisel's first child married a man named Izak Bergman in 1923 and we know nothing further about her. The second died at seven months. The third was killed in the Holocaust, with a wife and children. The fourth died in Israel, just short of her fortieth birthday, leaving a young son and a fifteen-month old daughter. I have been in contact with the daughter over the years. She is always polite, always answers my letters, knows nothing about her mother's family and has no real interest in the family history. She has declined my suggestions to do DNA.

The issue with this family is that we have no parents for Wolf, though we do for his wife Rifka Reisel. Wolf, who was born about 1875-6 could be a descendant of any of the Skalat Pikholz ancestors from the period 1780-1805.

From my Given Name Analysis


But this new document has one bit of new information. The voters are Skalaters, but did not necessarily live there at the time. The towns of residence are listed in the left-hand column and Wolf and Ryfka are listed as living in Horodnica.

Horodnica, on the road from Skalat to Husiatyn
Horodnica is 18 miles (29 km) SSE of Skalat towards Husiatyn, in the Kopicienice District and according to the JewishGen Communities Database had 21 Jews in 1920. I have discussed our connection to Husiatyn several times, including here and here but I have not mentioned Horodnica until now - yet it is a town I have seen in our records.

David Samuel Pikholz, who lived in Skalat and died 30 October 1920 at age 68 was married to Freude Linczycz of Horodnica. Freude died 12 November 1930 at age 75. They had three children that we know of - Golde (1878), Marjem (1879) and Chanzie (1880). I am thinking that Wolf may be a child of this couple and wonder if perhaps he and his wife moved to Horodnica after David Samuel died, to help look after his widow Freude.

Keep in mind that in 1877, there was a major change in record-keeping in Galicia and it doesn't surprise me that we find no record for Wolf in 1875-6. Wolf's missing birth record is a problem regardless of who his parents are, not specific to the David Samuel - Freude hypothesis.

I am not yet recording Wolf as the son of David Samuel and Freude. My own rule says that absent clear documentation, even once I am certain, I must find at least one more piece of supporting evidence. But it feels like I am on the right track.

David Samuel  

Even if this hypothesis is correct, I remain stuck at David Samuel, whose parents are unknown, or at least not identified. (As a side note, David Samuel is a name which appears multiple times in the Rozdol Pikholz branch, but only twice in Skalat. You can see a brief summary of those here.)

Gesher Galicia has recently made available some new birth indecies, including Skalat for 1827-1858. They are available to members only and are very difficult to work with, though the writing is clear. And since they are only indecies, they do not show parents' names or other critical information. I see no David Samuel (or David or Samuel) on any of the "P" pages, though I would expect to see this one in about 1852.

Perhaps he is listed under a different name (his mother's, for instance) but I would have to comb through the forty-six pages of scans to find even a candidate for ours. It is now on my to-do list.


Let me mention that David Samuel and Freude are not the only Pikholz-Linczycz couple. Ester Linczycz (also from Horodnica) and Israel Pikholz had a daughter who died at birth in 1901. I have no idea how these two couple are related, on either the Linczycz side or the Pikholz side.

My friend Jill Chozen is a Linczycz descendant from Horodnica and I have begun a bit of inquiry into that rabbit hole, in case there is more than meets the eye. Ester is definitely a sister of one of Jill's ancestors.


  1. I went through the Skalat birth index for 1827-1858. There is one David Samuel, surname Timim, born 1856. This is on scan #22. Not relevant for us. So we will have to look =elsewhere for our David Samuel.

  2. You have amazing ability to research the family. So dedicated.