Climbing the tree one branch at a time
By far the most puzzling of my branches is the Krochmal branch. My maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother was Laura/Lea Krochmal. She was the second child of Hirsch Leib/Tsvi Aryeh Krochmal and Pessie Goldbrum, born on January 17, 1864. Around 1890 she married Joseph Rothstein and more can be read about him here. Anyway the reason this branch is puzzling is because along with my main branch there are at least two other Krochmal family groups that I am aware that are supposed to be connected to mine. Along with that there is the recent discovery that Joseph’s brother Oscar was married to a Krochmal of unknown origin. I theorize that she is a cousin of some degree based on past experience. Lastly when my mother was in elementary school she had a teacher with the married last name of Krochmal. So my grandfather and the teacher’s husband got together and figured out the connection. Unfortunately no one living remembers what it was. So let’s start with these initial pieces.
With the addition of new records on the All-Galicia Database (AGD) and the JRI-Poland (JRI) indexes I believe I now have the birth date for my oldest known and verifiable Krochmal ancestor, Hirsch Leib Krochmal. On JRI I found the death record for him which lists his age at death. While searching AGD I found a Layb Krochmil who appears to be the correct person as his birthdate is close to what it should be according to JRI. This Layb was apparently born in Zloczow in House 134. According to AGD the other Krochmal’s living at that house were Abraham (the father based on age?), Lazer, Rebeka, Chaym, and Kalman. So far I have not been successful in finding anything on Layb’s siblings. The house number is important because there was another family living there, the family of Schimson Sirkis (Sirkus on JRI). This is important because Schimson was married to a woman named Race (or Rose?) Krochmal. Their grandson Simon married the previously mentioned Hirsch Leib’s daughter Hudel. A few of my oldest Krochmal family members have mentioned that Simon and Adele were some degree of cousin. I believe that the previously mentioned father of Hirsch, Abraham, is the Abraham on JRI who was married to woman named Udel, who could be Hudel’s namesake.
As I also previously mentioned Abraham had a son named Lazer born in 1839, and there was a Leiser who lived 1766 to 1836 – so there is also another possible namesake which would possibly make Abraham’s father Leiser. In the Zloczow index on JRI there are two individuals who have children named Abraham Aron who I hypothesize are also children of Abraham – Moses who was married to a Lybe Wegweiser and Marjem who was married to a Leiber Kibrik.
Based on what I am finding I believe that Leiser had a brother Aron who had two children Briene and Liba. Leiser may have also had two other children Peretz married to Elke Brane Bresler and Markus married to Bine Lea. Peretz had a son named Israel. Markus had two children – Abraham Aron and Malka. I was able to find more on Markus’ descendants on Geni plus I am not really working forward at the moment.
The even stranger thing here is that Abraham, the son of Leiser, was born at about the right time to be the son of Nachman Krochmal since his son Abraham also appears to have been born in or around 1801. But let’s put a pin in that and move on.
What has made my research more complicated is the recent find of my great grandfather’s uncle Oscar Rothstein’s descendants. The one descendant told me that Oscar’s wife Rose was born Krochmal. However I have been unable to find any trace of her on JRI or AGD and anyone who probably did know anything more is passed on.
The next piece of my puzzle involves a Krochmal family that lives here in Pittsburgh. When my mother was younger she had a teacher whose married name was Krochmal and one day my grandfather and the teacher’s husband got together and figured out that they were connected. However anyone who actually knew the connection is passed on. The father-in-law of the teacher was Meier Krochmal born in Berezhany, the son of Schulim Krochmal who was from Zloczow. I hypothesize that Schulim is the son of the above mentioned Moses and Lybe because he had a son named Moses and a daughter named Lybe. As a side note for anyone in or from the Western Pennsylvania area – Schulim’s second wife is from the family that founded Giant Eagle.
Another Krochmal I am trying to figure out if they are connected is Wilhelm Krochmal, who is listed in the Tarnopol index on JRI. Unfortunately the records found there only list the mother’s parents, not the father. Wilhelm was married to Rosa Deutsch and had a daughter Adella (my 3rd great Aunt Hudel’s Americanized name.)
There is also a Leib Krochmal who was married to a Sime Ruchel Dligacz and was from Podwolcyzka. His descendants have actually been in contact with members of my Krochmal family group trying to find a connection if any.
Lastly is the big question – Nachman Krochmal. As I stated earlier, I know I may or may not be connected however I would like to definitively prove this. Especially since I have found a few descendants of his and I have found that the Jacobi papers are missing some information. In my research I have found that he had 3 siblings – Shalom, Gershon, and Fraida. Fraida is the only one I know a little about as I found one of her descendants in Ohio. Now to make things more difficult is the mystery of Nachman Krochmal’s children. According to various sources he had anywhere from three to seven children. According to one of the world’s leading genealogists on the subject, Paul Jacobi, he had three children – Abraham who was also leading Jewish philosopher in Frankfurt, had one known daughter Anna; Joseph who apparently moved to Odessa and had a son who was a Russian General; and Rosalie who married Henry Biegeleisen, a Polish historian and ethnographer with whom she had several sons who were baptized. I recently found a Biegeleisen descendant and would like to help him out if I can. While searching through Google Books I found two other children – Kunigunde who married Nathan Horowitz from the Horowitz Rabbinical dynasty and with whom Nachman went to live in Tarnopol after the death of his wife; and Reise whom I don’t know anything else about. Lastly there may have also been a child by the name of Aaron. According to a cousin I am descended from either Aaron or Abraham. How, if at all, do he and his family fit into all of this?
My oldest known verifiable Krochmal ancestors was Hirsch Leib Krochmal and his wife Pessie Goldbrum. Hirsch may or may not have been born in Tarnopol proper I am guessing around 1845, the birth year based on the birth year of his oldest child in 1862. Pessie was born to Hirsch Leib Goldbrum and Jette Rifke around the same time in Tarnopol. I was able to verify Pessie’s father’s name via the birth records of her children as he was listed as the father of Pessie, however those same records make no mention of her husband’s parent(s). Over all Hirsch and Pessie had 10 children that I am aware of, however only four of those branches do I really know anything substantive.
Chaje Krochmal, born on April 10, 1862 was their first child and was married to Moses Hillel Fruchtmann in 1893. Together they had one son, Aron Jacob born that same year. Aron, however, had 4 half siblings on his father’s side from a previous marriage – Samuel Leiser, Sara Marjem, Taube, and Leon (who died as an infant.) I have so far been unsuccessful in tracing Aron or his half siblings. I can only add that Samuel was married to a Channa Gottleib and they had two children, Karolina and Ernestyna. Sara was married to a Jozef Gichner. Taube was married to a Schmaje Wolf Minczeles.
Next came my second great grandmother Lea Laura Krochmal, born on January 17, 1864 and was married to Joseph Rothstein in 1890. More about her can be found by clicking on Joseph’s name.
Third came Chana Breyne Krochmal, born on August 18, 1866, who judging by the double name was sick as a child and didn’t live beyond the age of 12.
Their fourth child was Ester born on February 1, 1868 she was married to Simon Seid in 1895. According to his granddaughter there were five children; Moses, Jacob Rubin, Lazar, Mordeche, and Schlomye. Moses was born on January 27, 1896 and was married to Chaje Schwarz in 1923. It was only by chance that I found out anything about Moses. In the summer of 2012 I had borrowed some LDS films related to Tarnopol and while browsing I found Moses (who was also known as Max), the name of his wife, her parents. When I asked the granddaughter about Moses it jogged a memory and she gave me the names of her cousins – Shimon and Zwetl. I don’t know at this time what happened to them. She also told me that Scholyme the youngest disappeared in the army after he was drafted and the Mordeche was taken to a concentration camp but died en route. Jacob was born in 1898 and was married to Frieda Rieman. Jacob and Frieda had two children – Osiah Herman and Lidia (the previously mentioned granddaughter). During the war Osiah as the age of ten fell victim to the Nazi’s and was shot in the street by a stray bullet according to the Page of Testimony filled out by his sister in 1999. At some point, I am guessing, after the war Jacob and his family made their way to Canada. Lidia currently lives in Canada and has two children, three grandchildren, and thee great grandchildren. Jacob passed away on February 19, 1986 and Frieda in November 7, 1954. Simon and Ester’s third child was Lazar and was born in 1901. Around April of 1928 he made his way to Argentina under the name of Luis and had 2 daughters though only one whose name is known – Maria Rosa and she married a man with the last name Korman. From what I understand any contact with that branch was lost years ago.
After Ester came Hinde Fradel on February 11, 1870. In 1896 she married David Salomon Bilker and together they had four children that I know of – Marcus, Sara, Ester, and Oscar. Oscar unfortunately died young and I have been unable to find what happened to the other three children. I was able to trace some of their cousins on the Bilker side to Colorado, but they do not know what happened to them either.
Their sixth child was Scheindel Riwe born on June 20, 1872 and married Emanuel Kaczer on 1899. They had four children – Mendel, Meschulim, Nechamka, and Dzunia. Emanuel, Scheindel, and Mendel, his unknown wife, and daughter Pola all were murdered in the Holocaust but at this time I do not know where or when exactly. I have been unable to find any trace of Meschulim and Nechamka. I do not remember where I found Dzunia or that she had a husband Benzion Epstein but I have been unable to trace them as well.
Next was their first of three sons Aron, born on April 5, 1874. At this time it is uncertain what happened to him and any descendants he may have had.
Earlier I mentioned my second great grandmother’s sister Adele and here is where she comes in. Adele was born in August 29, 1876. In 1901 she married Simon Sirkus who as previously mentioned was a cousin of some degree. Together they had four children – Celia, Lieber, William, and George. Lieber died at a very young age. Celia was born on May 16, 1902 and at some point between then and 1905 the family immigrated to America. I am having trouble finding them on early 1900’s ship manifests. Their sons William (b. March 29, 1906) and George (b. April 22, 1909) were born in New York. In 1924 Adele and Celia went to Austria for a reason unknown at this time. Celia married a man by the name of Raymond Messing some time before 1940 and they had no children. William married Fay Makushnik Marcus sometime after 1930 and had one daughter, 2 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Geoge married a woman named Esther and had two children and two great grandchildren. A sibling of Simon also immigrated to the US.
Their second of three sons was Jacob Simon Krochmal born on October 18, 1878. At some point before 1905 he moved to Vienna and in 1905 married Adele Broch. The following year on November 4, 1906 their oldest son Rudolf was born. Rudi was followed by his sister Erene on February 26, 1908 and his brother Heinrich on January 28, 1912. Of the three children it appears that Erene was the first to get married sometime before 1934 to Ernst Swiwcz (pronounced Svevetch). Two years later on September 22, 1936 Jacob passed away. Rudolf was the first to come to the United States on January 1, 1939. He was followed shortly thereafter by Heinrich (now going by Henry), his wife Ilka (maiden name Zollschan), and Adele on March 23, 1939 and Erene and her son on May 4, 1939. Regina Tillinger also came over with Erene. Erene’s husband Ernst did not come over until February 22, 1946. When their son became naturalized in 1945 he changed his last name to Swift. While in the US Rudi married a woman named Paula Rein and with her had one son and 2 grandchildren. After Paula died Rudi married a woman named Mina. Rudi’s son married a woman whose family was also from Tarnopol. Henry and Ilka had 2 children, three grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.
Last was their son Adolf born in 1885. Like his brother Aron not much is known about him. I did find a burial record for a Adolf Krochmal in Vienna dated June 6, 1936 but I have been unable to get any further information.