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Tracing Tillingers: Judah Leib Tillinger and his (possible) family

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

So it's at this point where some things start to get even more theoretical as I have no way to prove them with absolute certainty. When doing my Dutch research I relied on my gut (and it panned out) and from here on with the Tillingers I did so as well.

As far as I can tell Judah Leib and Chaje Rozje had 6 children -

  • Jossel - born about 1833 and died on January 14, 1891. His death date is part of what leads me to believe that My great grandmother's brother Jozef (b. 1897) was named for him as Jossel was Aron's uncle. Additional information will be discussed below

  • Dawid - born about 1835 and I have already discussed him.

  • Jacob - born about 1836 and died on April 17, 1904. Jacob's marriage record to Malke Bernstein lists his parents as Leib Tillinger and Chaje Rozje.

  • Perl Tillinger - born about 1851. Thanks to the fact that Galician birth records list the parents of the mother I was able to determine that her parents were Leib Tillinger and Chaje Rojze.

  • Nattan Tillinger - I am not 100% certain whether he is a child or a grandchild of Judah Leib and Chaje Rozje. Nor do I know his date of birth.

  • Yitzchak Tillinger - While I do not know his date of birth, I do know he had a son named Juda/Yehuda and the Zabotlow Yizkor book lists him as a bother to Josssel.


Jossel Tillinger - One of my (and many others) tricks for genealogy research is to use Google to search for information that may shared on a public and/personal website. When I initially began searching for Tillinger's from Zabolotow I came across that town's Yizkor book on JewishGen. In it contained information about a Tillinger family headed by a man named Yoseph Tillinger. His entry goes on to say that he is a successful grain merchant and indicates that he has three sons and a daughter. I would later determine he a had a fourth son. When I first found this I was fairly new at genealogy research in Galicia and didn't trust my gut as much, so I put the information aside. However when I decided to "deep dive" my Tillingers I was able to match what I was looking at in the Yizkor book against what I was looking at on JRI-Poland.

Jossel was married to a woman named Chanzie Sechestower and they had four children.

Schmiel, or Shmuel in the Yizkor book, was the eldest who apparently was a great scholar and G-d fearing Chasid that was extremely knowledgeable in the Torah and Rabbinical dynasties. Schmiel was married to a woman named Lea Strumm with whom they had six children; Jakob (b. 1875), Dawid Elie (b. 1878), Chaje Rose (b. 1880), Taube (b. 1881), Nusen (b. 1887), and Chancie (b. 1895). Thanks to DNA and Ancestry I have been successful in tracing the descendants of Taube. I have yet to find what happened to Dawid Elie and Jakob, the other three children died when they were young.

Mordko, or Mordche, was born in 1861 and was a merchant in Kolomyya. He was married to a woman named Bruche Lichteneger/Zeichner and they had seven children.

There first son, Jakob Tevel, was born in 1884 and at some point moved to Vienna. While in Vienna he married Irma Gans. On March 24, 1947, with the help of HIAS, they came to the US. I have not found any record of their lives during World War II not if they had any children. However the person in the US they were coming to meet was his sister Rose (Roza) Kalkstein.

Their second child was Juda born in 1886, the same year as Aron's son. At this point I have not found anything further about him.

Third to come along was their son Israel Chaim born in 1890. Israel was married to Aron's daughter Ernestyna, which means if I am correct, they were second cousins.

Their next child was Chancia who was born in 1893. Like with her brother Juda I have not found anything more about her.

Next came Roza who was born in 1897. On July 8, 1921 she arrived in the US with plans to join her cousin Isidor Zeichner. In 1924 she married Max Kalkstein and they had two children. I subsequently managed to trace their descendants and even had the opportunity to meet one when I went to Florida. I am hoping that at some point at least one of her descendants does a DNA test to help with my research.

Their last two children, Izaak (b. 1899) and Taube (b. 1901) did not live beyond a year

Jossel's daughter was named Sobel, born about 1866, and she was married to a man named Feivel Engler. I am not sure why it took so long for me to make the connection but in the aforementioned Yizkor book Feivel's last name is Angler. This is what, for me verified Yoseph and Jossel we the same person. Apparently he was also a grain merchant, who exported his grain all the way to Germany. He was also wealthy who educated his sons in Torah and general education. Together they had seven children - Dawid (b. 1879), Judel (b. 1880 - a few years before Aron's son), Jakob (b. 1882), Itzig (b. 1884), Chanzie (b. 1891), Sura (b. 1893), and Srul (b. 1902).

Jossel's last two children were Moses born around 1863 and Isak born in 1868, however I can't seem to figure out where I got Moses from. Isak was was also educated in Torah and general knowledge. He was a lumber dealer and land owner. So far I have been unsuccessful in tracing them any further.


Jacob Tillinger - As mentioned above Jacob was married to Malke Bernstein, sister of Mojzesz Bernstein who was married Jossel's possible cousin Pessie Tillinger mentioned previously. Together with Malke they had four children that I know about, three of which I have been been unable to trace. Chaim Josef (1878-1901) and Abraham (1880-1883) died young. There was a daughter Toni or Joni (not sure about that name) was already in the US by the time her brother Rafael (1886-1958) arrived in 1903. He listed Toni as the person he was coming to join but I have been unable to find any further information on her. I was successful in tracing Rafael's descendants and one has DNA tested.


Perl Tillinger - When I give Perl's birthdate as around 1851 I am estimating based on the birthdate of her oldest known child Leib in 1871. She was married to a Dawid Seiler but I do not know the date. Together, along with Leib, they had 6 other children - Abraham (b. 1874), Jossel (b. 1876), Chaje Roze (1878-1893), Itzig Meier (b. 1887), Schloma (1889-1895), and Itte (b. 1884). I have so far been unsuccessful in tracing any of their descendants beyond Itte's husband Berl Grunberg Kurz.


Nattan Tillinger - I didn't mention it above but upon a glance at my tree I would estimate his birth year around 1860 based on the birth date of his known oldest child Chaje Rosa (1880-1882). Aside from Chaje Rosa he had three other known children - Jetti (b. 1884), Friede, and Chaje Sara (b. 1901). The only child I have had any luck tracing is Friede who married an Unknown Haberman. The had 4 children I know about - Szalom (b. 1905), Anna Rachela (b.1908), Jozua (b. 1911), and Feiwen Jakob (b. 1912). Beyond that I have not found any thing else at this point.


Yitzchak Tillinger - This branch is an interesting one. From what I have been able to find he had child. With the first wife, Rosa Elfenbein, he had a son named Judah born in 1865. There appears to have been another Izak Tillinger who married Lea Elfenbein, and based of what is written below allo of which bears more research.

The Zabotlow Yizkor book goes a little more indepth on Yitzchak and his son Yehuda. It seems Yitzchak was a grain merchant as well as a Gabay in the main synagogue. His son Judah, listed as his only son, on the other hand while a very educated man is described as being light headed. Following his marriage to a currently unknown person he moved to Vienna where he attended Rabbinical School. However much to his family's dismay he converted and became a priest who preached blasphemy. The description goes on to say that he authored a booklet of insults and slander at the Jewish Nation, citing August Rohling's libelous anti-semetic statements. In 1920 he came to the US to visit his cousn M Herzog otherwise known as his cousin Schmiel's (Jossel's son) son-in-law.

A few years later he was found living in New York under the name Stanislaus Elfenbein by other former residents of Zabotlow working at a synagogue and was put before the Bet-Din. He would subsequently disappear forever. The shame possibly caused his father to die and his mother to mourn her traitor son.

Beyond the what is contained in the Yizkor book I was able to find a few other items. I found his Meldezettel (Police File) from 1929 when it looks like he went to Havana, Cuba and Panama City under the name Stanislaus Tillinger. While I have his birthdate as June 29, 1865, it lists his birthdate as June 1869. It also appears he lived in Kostyntsi, Bucovina at that time. By 1930 it seems he was again living in Vienna.

Additionally GenTeam's "Vienna Jewish Resignations 1868-1914" Index list his birday as July 19, 1865, that he is single, and the he left the community in 1900? I am still not 100% sure I understand what this database is. Oddly I also found a Juda Tillinger on that same site listed as having died in 1914 at the age of 48, which would have meant he was born in 1866. As if I wasn't confused enough already.


Up next Mystery Branch #1: David, Israel and Sigmund

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