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A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF THE JEWS OF PINCZOW (POLAND)
IN THE 18TH & 19TH CENTURIES

Prof. Heshel Teitelbaum

ABSTRACT

This project will trace the family history of all of several hundred distinctly surnamed Jewish families living in Pinczow during the 19th century. With the aid of patronymic era (pre-1826) birth, marriage and death records (and some census records) it is possible, in principle, to trace some families having deep roots in Pinczow back to about the year 1700 and to create extended family trees for the Jewish residents of an entire Polish town, covering the years 1700 to 1900. The process necessarily assigns surnames to Jews otherwise known only by their patronyms. These would be the surnames that their descendants eventually adopted. As a result of intermarriages of families within certain social strata it will also be possible to create monolithic family trees. The first step in the process is to systematically extract all of the genealogically relevant data from the birth, marriage and death records (about 20,000 of them) stretching from 1810 to 1904, which have been preserved in the Polish State Archives. We expect the analysis, charting and conjecturing of surnames to last two years.
The Pinczow project will chart all families in the time period 1810 – 1904, making use of house numbers, professions, ages, parents’ names etc. and it will compare these charts with those generated for post-1826 years when surnames began to be used. The overlap will be the key to linking everybody together.
Pinczow is a goldmine for specialists in Rabbinic genealogy, as it was a known centre for scholarship and Rabbinic leadership. The Rabbinic class, which included teachers and judges, was a particularly mobile one, as the personalities would move from town to town during their formative years and later from position to position as their fame spread. The migrations can sometimes be followed by consulting the JRI database of Polish records for other towns, or by other more classical methods. It is expected that the research will lead to some surprises and to solutions of long-standing puzzles about well-known Rabbinical families and their interconnections to other Rabbinical lines.
The present project is a demonstration of a new technique and of its viability. It can be applied to many other Polish towns. The tools developed will show an average family historian how to figure out his family history an extra two generations back in time. Essentially, one will have to trace the history of all residents of the town, especially in the patronymic era, in order to understand the history of any single family all the way back to roughly 1700.

Click here for the Final Report on this project.