Marilyn Sheridan <marilyns@...>
Dear Fellow Genners,
Because of the fascinating current discussion about Galicianer and the local
Hassidim, I am encouraged to ask my very first genealogy question. I do not
speak languages other than English, rather rusty French, and a tiny bit of
I am looking for information about the origin of my great-grandfather (the
grandfather of my father), Avraham Zvi Hersch BEUTEL.
My father, Bernhard Benjamin SIGAL (he changed it to Bernard SHERIDAN - but
that's another story!) was so devastated by what happened during WWII that
he rarely talked about his large extended family, most of whom had
disappeared. But after he retired, he moved back to Vienna, the city of his
birth, to continue trying to trace lost family during the last 20-odd years
of his life.
My father died in Vienna (June 29, 1999, age 86) and my eldest brother
arranged for his burial in the Jewish section of Vienna's vast Central
Cemetery. In the process of making arrangements, my brother discovered the
grave of our great-grandfather! The head of the Chevra Kadisha even
remembered our father visiting this grave.
Here is what I remember my father saying about his grandfather, Hersch
BEUTEL. He came >from the town of Podhajce (but may have been born in
Vienna). He was married twice, and had children by both wives. Both wives
predeceased him by many years, dead >from malnutrition, disease, and / or in
childbirth. He had several daughters; I do not know about sons. One
daughter, my father's mother, was Yocheved (Josephine) Bauchmann (born
October 1, 1881); the surname was probably the surname of her mother.
Another daughter was Liba, who may have been the youngest child of Hersch
BEUTEL, and a sister or half-sister of Yocheved. My father knew her as
My father told me that Hersch BEUTEL was a Hosid. A saddler by trade in
Podhajce, he custom-made saddles for local "Polish nobility". He also was a
traveling preacher, going as far north as the Lemberg (Lviv) area. The
family was often desperately poor.
Hersch BEUTEL's daughter Yocheved met Israel SIGAL haLevi (born February 13,
1887) (an orphan, due to pogrom and disease) who lived in Kozova, a town
near Podhajce (both towns in Galicia, or "old Poland"). These two got
married, and they moved to Vienna, not necessarily in that order. My father
thought they were married (again? officially?) in Vienna's Central Synagogue
"around the turn of the century."
At that time, or possibly a little later, Hersch BEUTEL, as well as his
daughter Liba, moved to Vienna. Liba married Berl LEMLER; the LEMLER family
lived a few blocks away >from the SIGAL family, in Vienna's Ottakring
district. Hersch BEUTEL lived for about half the year with each daughter's
family. Of course he taught Hebrew to his little grandson Bernhard; and my
father said he learned the entire Chumash by heart.
Wherever Hersch BEUTEL lived, a line of people would form each day after
dawn in front of the house. Each person in turn would enter and ask him for
advice or prayers. Some tried to pay him; he always told them to give their
coin to the first poor person they met after leaving him. He was known -
and loved - as Reb Herschl, as Herschele Potoker, and apparently also as
Potok Zloty, which I think means "golden stream" in Polish. What is the
significance of calling him by these names?
When Hersch BEUTEL became old, it seems he either moved to an old age home
in Vienna, or else spent time there. He died at the home on May 7, 1936.
He is buried in a section of the Central Cemetery that is reserved for holy
men. The translation of the Hebrew inscription on his gravestone is:
Here lie the remains of a man of integrity and righteousness, a Hosid,
Who walked in the path of the Torah and reverence, all his life.
Morning and evening, he would pray within the walls of the house of study.
Avraham Zvi, the son of Mordechai Beutel.
He went to the next world on the 15th of Iyyar 696.
The gravestone (made of a concrete-like composite) was crumbling and the
inscription was almost illegible, so my brother had a marble stone slab made
and inscribed, and it was bolted to the front of the old gravestone. And my
father is buried just on the other side of a little footpath, as close as
possible to the grave of his beloved grandfather.
Where would I start, to locate the birth certificate of Hersch BEUTEL, and
to find information about his parents and other relatives?
How can I learn more about his wives and his children?
How can I find out what branch of Hassidism - and which Hosid - he followed?
Marilyn Sheridan (Miriam Sigal)
Tucson, Arizona, USA
PS I was brought up Roman Catholic, but returned to my Jewish heritage
within the last five years. I am working on a book about my family. And I
am thrilled to be tracing ancestors and finding out this aspect of "who" I
To the MODERATOR - Should I also send this e-mail to "boh-mor" SIG and / or to the
[MODERATOR NOTE - Marilyn, yes to both. "Cast your bread upon the waters" and
good luck with your search!]