Katzenellenbogen / Ariogala #lithuania #rabbinic

Jeremy Lichtman

One of my ancestors appears to have been a signatory of the 1764 and 1785 Poll Tax records for Ariogala.

He signed the 1785 record as:

Chackiel Yankielowicz - "thus sayeth R'Yekhezkel (Ezekiel), son of the high rabbi, R'Yakov (Jacob) (father deceased)."

The community of Ariogala was run from Kedainiai at that point in history, and the rabbinic offices were largely run by the Katzenellenbogen family (at least two of whom were also rabbis of Ariogala for periods of time).

I'm wondering if it is possible that the "high rabbi" Jacob could be referring to Rabbi Jacob Katzenellenbogen of Kedainiai (and later Altona). The only child I've seen listed anywhere is Rabbi Joel Katzenellenbogen, who took over in Kedainiai after his father moved to Altona.

Could Chackiel (Ezekiel) be another son, named after R' Jacob's father? Chackiel's oldest son, in turn, was named Jankiel (Jacob).

Does anyone know of any original sources I could check?

Jeremy Lichtman
Toronto, Canada (formerly of Cape Town)

Adam Cherson

Dear Jeremy Lichtman,

I think you've discovered a potential new branch of the Baal Knesset (

If you are correct then the 'high Rabbi' Yakov is the son of the Baal Knesset, as shown here:

In order to seal the case, I would propose seeking to obtain the yDNA haplogroup of one of your Shapiro cousins and then comparing this to that of the Baal Knesset, who is either a J-M172 or an E-35 (your information could also resolve which of those two is correct).

This could be a major K'bogen breakthrough so I encourage you to move ahead with the investigation.

Adam Cherson

Jeremy Lichtman

Hi Adam,

I've emailed my cousins to ask if they'd be willing to do DNA testing. Which is the most appropriate test in this case?

I also checked Da'at Kedoshim (Eisenstadt, 1897), and it goes through the Katzenellenbogen lineage down to Yekhezhel. It gives his children's names, but doesn't go further, unfortunately. Not sure what other sources exist.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Jeremy Lichtman

Adam Cherson

Hello Jeremy,

First I need to correct a typo in the earlier post: the second potential K'bogen haplogroup is E-M35 (not E-35).

In this situation you want to obtain yDNA from a person(s) who is reasonably certain to be a patriline descendant of R' Chackiel Yankielowicz (by patriline I mean male-to-male with no breaks). The initial screen is the Y37 test at FTDNA. This test will provide a base-level haplogroup which will show whether the person is J-M172, E-M35, or something else entirely. More in depth testing may or may not be warranted depending on what the screen shows. I would also suggest testing more than one such cousin from each available, separate line, to the extent possible, because redundancy of result is strongly persuasive in this field. PLMK if you need any further guidance on testing mechanisms, procedures, and/or logistics.

Adam Cherson

Hank Lobbenberg

I also have the Katzenellenbogen lineage in my Lobbenberg Ancestry tree along with Grünhut, Auerbach, Luria and Horowitz families.
in there is a surname button which lists about 1000 Katzenellenbogen names. I am working my way through with a long way to go.
Hank (Henry) Lobbenberg,