Researching the Line of Descent from the Shpoler Zeida for Twelve Mystery Families #ukraine
Jeffrey Mark Paull
In the geographical center or heart of Ukraine lies the town of Shpola. This was the home of early Chassidic leader Yehuda Leib of Shpola (1725–1811), a popular miracle-worker, faith healer, and tzaddik, better known as the Shpoler Zeida.
In our forthcoming book, The Shpoler Zeida – The Life, Legends, and Descendants of the Grandfather of Shpola, we traced the line of descent for over 4,200 descendants of the Shpoler Zeida, representing hundreds of families. Our research enabled us to validate the lines of descent for numerous families and fill in the gaps in the paper trail for many others. But not all of these families could be connected to the Shpoler Zeida’s family tree.
Through our research, we discovered twelve families whose proud heritage has become shrouded in mystery. Most of them had an oral history of descent from the Shpoler Zeida, but none of them had a complete family tree, paper trail, or yichus document showing precisely how they descend from him.
We described how we researched these “mystery families” and reconstructed their line of descent in a recent article: “Surmounting Brick Walls in Jewish Genealogy – Lessons Learned from Researching the Line of Descent for Twelve Mystery Families,” https://www.academia.edu/55876790/Surmounting_Brick_Walls_in_Jewish_Genealogy_Lessons_Learned_from_Researching_the_Line_of_Descent_for_Twelve_Mystery_Families.
Our research enabled us to fill in the gaps in the lineage, connect the key ancestor to the Zeida lineage, and confirm the line of descent from the Shpoler Zeida for two of the twelve mystery families. For five other mystery families, we proposed plausible hypotheses for how these families connect to the Shpoler Zeida’s family tree, based upon the available evidence while indicating the limitations and uncertainties involving their hypothesized connections.
For another five mystery families, we reconstructed their line of descent to the extent possible. However, we could not fill every gap in the lineage or identify every ancestral link in the chain with complete certainty, and the resultant uncertainty in their lineage prevented us from connecting their descendants to the Shpoler Zeida family tree at the present time.
We decided to share our research findings regarding the line of descent for all twelve of these mystery families for two major reasons: (1) All Jewish genealogical research studies which trace lines of descent can help living descendants rediscover their own lost heritage, and (2) Making this genealogical information more widely available could result in new evidence being discovered which will help us bridge data gaps and validate hypothesized lines of descent.
Four of these twelve genealogical research study articles have been published thus far, and an additional article will be published each week between now and the end of the year. The following summary provides links to the published research articles for the four mystery families, and the surnames represented in the different branches of each family:
“Solving the Mystery of the Greenberg Family's Descent from the Shpoler Zeida,” https://www.academia.edu/49489143/Solving_the_Mystery_of_the_Greenberg_Familys_Descent_from_the_Shpoler_Zeida. This article focuses on the Greenberg family, which includes the Ejzenbaum, Four, Fox, Fuks, Gorodovsky, Kanter, Katz, Kronemor, Levenson, Levine, Levy, Meyers, Peck, Piven, Potel, Rabinovitz, Resnick, Robinson, Saposnick, Schwartz, Shanker, Sher, Singer, Slobodiansky, Spark, Stookal, Stukov, Surpin, Tycher, Warkov, Weiss, and Zajfen branches.
“Solving the Mystery of the Polonsky Family's Descent from the Shpoler Zeida,” https://www.academia.edu/53335989/Solving_the_Mystery_of_the_Polonsky_Familys_Descent_from_the_Shpoler_Zeida. This article focuses on the Polonsky family, which includes the Abrams, Adler, Ballon, Berman, Biggin, Blumenreich, Bridges, Carevic, Carter, Chaber, Cohen, Collins, Erskine, Frank, Friedman, Hastings, Heimowitz, Hoop, Irwin, Kennedy, Kraus, Lawrence, Levine, Malone, Mann, Paulen, Paull, Polan, Press, Rabinowitz, Reed, Robbins, Santorelli, Saravay, Steinmetz, and Whaley branches.
“Solving the Mystery of the Finkelstein Family's Descent from the Shpoler Zeida,” https://www.academia.edu/59162635/Solving_the_Mystery_of_the_Finkelstein_Familys_Descent_from_the_Shpoler_Zeida. This article focuses on the Finkelstein family.
“Solving the Mystery of the Sosonsky/Tauber Family's Descent from the Shpoler Zeida,” https://www.academia.edu/60606096/Solving_the_Mystery_of_the_Sosonsky_Tauber_Familys_Descent_from_the_Shpoler_Zeida. This article focuses on the Sosonsky/Tauber family, which includes the Ejzenbaum, Four, Fox, Fuks, Gorodovsky, Greenberg, Kanter, Katz, Kronemor, Levenson, Levine, Levy, Meyers, Peck, Piven, Potel, Rabinovitz, Resnick, Robinson, Saposnick, Schwartz, Shanker, Sher, Singer, Slobodiansky, Spark, Stookal, Stukov, Surpin, Tycher, Warkov, Weiss, and Zajfen branches.
Jeffrey Mark Paull