​​The Jewish Families of Ostropol
 Researching  Jewish Families in the territories of the Russian Empire and in the small Ukrainian town of Ostropol

Quarterly Columns on this Website

Ostropolers in Other Russian Towns
March 2019 -   Gedritch of Ostropol and Kulchiny

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​​ Quarterly Column - Ostropolers in Other Russian Towns
Column 1 March 2019
Gedritch of Ostropol and Kulchiny
By Deborah Glassman copyright 2019
I have a great document, thanks to Joel Ungar and Sergey Lubarsky. It is for the daughter of a man named Meilech Gedritch. His daughter Sora was born in Kulchiny, StaroKonstantinov District, Volhynia, Russia in 1909.

It is an attestation by forty members of the Kulchiny Jewish community. The term used  for “Jewish community” in the document was obshestvo, for an organized society equivalent to the Jewish term kehilla. Most signed the document just in Russian, but six also signed in Yiddish. In the document, dated 1 May 1912, prior to the family leaving Russia, the community was affirming that in December 1909 Sora Gedritch, a little girl, had in fact been born in the town. The family was leaving Russia by an official Russian port, Libau in Kurland guberniya. You could not board a ship from that port if all of your documents were not  in order according the Tsarist government.

Why is this document on the Ostropol site? Because you could not create a legal document in Russia, without being described in terms of both your legal residence and your tax status. Meilech had probably arrived in Kulchiny in the 1890s when he married, but it was hard to change your “legal residence.” Legal residence combined with tax status, was the most common descriptor, the way a birth place can be in the United States. So the document described this man by the legal residence of Ostropol and the tax status of meshane (townsman). It specifically called him “Ostropol meshane Meilech Nahumovich Gedritch” in two different places on the document.

Now there are lots of reasons to wish that such documents were available on all of your relatives who had exited Russia before 1918. It gives a specific date of birth, it tells you that the original event was witnessed by the rabbi of Krasilov, and it tells you that if the original Jewish metrika (birth register) was to turn up for Kulchiny, you would find that Sura Gedritch had been Female # 77 in the book for 1909. The books listed all of the births with a number, to prevent fraudulent insertions in later years. It documents the given name, father’s name, and what it describes as an alternate surname for the mother’s father.

Ostropol Meshane Meilech Gedritch is highlighed above

but I think I like it best for the introduction to forty men of Kulchiny. They are in order of signing in this document: Pinkhas Garber; Gerson Kirlekh?; Idel *elman; V. Katz; Luzer Koltch?; Eli Kusringel?; Mordko Beklis?; name in the margin; Azriel Pol*; Ouzer Tzvagdos?; Yos Postilnik; Leizer Margulis; Abram Laputin; Rubin Ga*; Nakhmon Goldfus; Shmul Goldatch; Moshko Kerukh; Kelman Madel; Nuta Neilman (in Russian and in Yiddish); Duvid Kl*ka; Yos Shnaider; Khaim Feier; Itsko Gershgorn; Eli Golder?; Meer Frumkes;  Zelik *; Srul Yos M*; Z*; Yalo* Liver; Yos Kaz; F* M*; Gershko Kupelnik (in Russian and Yiddish); Meer Bitel; Leib Nudel; Itsko Volinsper; Berko Rovenska; N*. Roisman; */*. They are  in the two documents on the right hand side of this page.

One of those men had the surname Bitel which was that of baby Sora’s maternal grandmother. One of the signers  named Leib Nudelman, was listed on the manifest of the ship docking in North America with  baby Sora and her mother Matel in 1912, as their nearest relative in the old country. We don’t know who else was related or how, but clearly this is a valuable window into Kulchiny life.

Coming back to that same document, if it hadn’t have been for the opportunity to display the  kinds of records neighboring towns can produce, I might have written this as part of  a projected column called Ostropol DNA. Long-time Ostropol researcher Susan Zucker has been tracing her Ostropolers, for years among all of the lines of her grandmother, whose maiden name was Gedrich. When Susan was contacted by Joel Ungar who found her listed as a potential DNA match, she saw that the name in common was Gedrich, and she drew me into the discussion. Because, I know a lot about Ostropolers! His great-grandfather had gone to Detroit, while hers had gone to Newark. But both men listed Ostropol as their birthplace on their entry records. The connection was far enough back that it would have had to be in the generation of the  grandfathers of Susan and Joel’s great-grandfathers, and we had no evidence other than the town of birth. Not “nothing,” but not a lot. But the DNA matching was not yet done. Joel had been contacted by a likely cousin of his own, Sergey Lubarsky, whose grandmother Khaya was a Gedrich who lived in Kulchiny. She had had a brother in America and her husband had traveled to America to join him before World War I. After the war, her husband went back to Russia to get her, and was murdered while traveling to reach her. Her brother wrote to her about it, and tried to help her get out but it couldn’t be arranged, and Khaya was murdered in Kulchiny during the Holocaust. Her son was living in Kharkov, Ukraine and his family continued to reside there until the end of the Soviet Union. That son was Sergey’s father. I was able to find the evidence confirming that her husband had gone to Meilech Gedrich in Detroit and had lived with him between 1913 and 1921. What began as speculation by Sergey  was able to be entirely confirmed, that his father Meer Fukshimov  was the son of Ber Fikshimel and Khaya Gedrich, and that Khaya was the sister of Joel Ungar’s great-grandfather Meilech Gedrich of Ostropol and Detroit. Now if I could just find the documents that Meilech’s mother also needed, to leave the country in 1912 with her daughter-in-law and baby Sora, I might learn what family she came from in Ostropol too. I hope that the records I am trying to obtain for the port of Libau, might specify what she had to supply to exit via that authorized port as well. Alternately, I might eventually find her death record in Detroit, but no luck yet. 


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Write to Deborah Glassman  with any questions about Ostropol research or your family in Ostropol or Volhynia.  I have added dozens of  new articles and new lists about the Jews of Ostropol. Please come back frequently to see the new additions, the new quarterly columns, and artifacts and info! You can use this form, like all of the forms on this website, to tell me what information you would like to order, or what questions or feedback you have.  ​​

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