Our Roots - The Family History

This page is a summary of the genealogical research I have been carrying out since 1999. Originally, my research was based on “stories” handed down from generation to generation. This led to some inaccuracies and some contradictions in the data. Over the years, various documents and papers have been located, some of them official (such as documents from the Chelm city archives), and some of them written by family members (“Pages of Testimony” from Yad Vashem, and the books mentioned below*).

Even the official documents show inconsistencies, especially regarding dates of birth – for example, one document shows Avramel as born in 1824, and another lists his birthdate as 1822. In addition, the many repetitions of the same first name created some confusion when oral history was passed down the generations. Nevertheless, the collected material gives a good picture of our ancestry, and should provide a good foundation for those who wish to continue the research (and share their results with all of us, of course!).


Click on the map to see an enlarged, detailed map

According to the “stories”, Avramel was born and lived in a little village named Borowica in the Chelm region, in Eastern Poland, close to the present border with Ukraine. According to various documents, Avramel’s parents (Mordko and Susha) lived in the city of Chelm in the same region, along with Avramel himself. Some of Avramel’s children were born/lived in the village of Rejowiec, also near to Chelm. I have marked the places which the family tree tells us are the birthplaces or homes of our ancestors on the attached map.


In the first half of the 19th century (Abt 1822-24), Avramle  Zigelboim was born in a country estate called Borowica near the town of Chelm in East Poland. He was the son of Susha  (nee Moshkovitz) and Mordko (Mordechai) Zigelboim.

To date, we have been unsuccessful in finding out anything about Mordko’s origins, but it seems likely that he adopted the name Zigelboim because of his occupation as a woodcutter (zigel=cut; boim=branches). He cut logs, floated them on rafts down the Bug river, and sold them at the Black Sea. Of course it is also possible that the name Zigelboim was “born” somewhere earlier down the line of ancestors with some woodcutter of an earlier generation. As far as we know, Avramle was a woodcutter and trader.

Avramle married Golda and she bore him 8 children , named Boonye, Shmuel, Dvora, Beila (Beily-Rywkie) Fayge, Yossle, Roysel and Pearl. After her death (Betw. 1878-80) Avramle married Golda Ruchla Gotlib, (yes, same name) a widow with children of her own (Haya Libbeh  and probably Yankel Rotenberg).  Avramle was about 67 years old when he married her.

It seems that family members were able to ride out the First World War safely, although many of them suffered economic hardship.

During the following years and up until the invasion of the Poland by the Germans in 1939, Avramle’s descendants lived in villages and various Jewish communities (Chelm, Rejowiec, Borowica, Krasnystaw and others). Many of them knew poverty and hardship but somehow they always managed to maintain close contact with all their family members. A few left Poland and emigrated to Israel, South Africa, America and Argentina (some even before WW1).

When the Germans invaded Poland, some of the family managed to escape eastwards, towards the USSR, in time. Others, who misjudged what awaited them, were wiped out by the Nazis in the tragic holocaust suffered by our people, between the years 1939 - 1945. Those that managed to escape underwent many trials and tribulations. Their wanderings only came to an end after the War. After the establishment of the State, they emigrated to Israel (years 1948 - 1950).

  • Living witness of family members (collected mostly by Bella Dax and the late Aliza Kolker).

  • Books * written by family members (“The Strength to Die” by Feivel Zigelboim; and “From Reivitz to Jerusalem” by Doba Buchshtein).

  • Pages of Testimony submitted to Yad Vashem (many of them written in 1988 by Doba Buchshtien)

  • Research, data searches, and various documents (mostly by Aliza Kolker).

  • Marriage certificate of Avramle’s 2nd marriage click here      To read the translation from Russian  click here

  • Documents from the Chelm City Archives click here

  • Birth Certificate of Shmuel, son of Avramel. click here         To read the translation from Polish  click here

  • Assumptions and conclusions arrived at while constructing the “puzzle”.                     

Any additional material will be most welcome!




To see a translation of the marriage certificate  click here 

Marriage certificate of Avramle’s 2nd marriage.

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This page was last updated on 17/01/04 By B. Krotman