Family history—from the Rhine to Zaboltow

By David Keusch

In reading the book “The History of Yiddish” by Uriel Weinreich, I feel that I have developed an idea how our family came to Zaboltov. Our cousin, Getzl Kressel was a very learned scholar. His house was a virtual library when there just weren’t libraries in the country. According to Uncle David, many of the leaders of the country called upon Getzel to supply them with information when other sources were not sufficient. When I asked him where we came from, before Zabolltov, he said he didn’t know.

Weinreich’s history develops where words and their pronunciations were brought into the Yiddish language. A number of words and their pronunciation in Bohemia-Moravia were exactly the way they were pronounced in my home and family.

The early Jewish Settlement was along the Rhine River in a line from Koln-Mainze and as far easr as Regensburg. From natural expansion and from expulsion, the Jews moved east.

When we look at the map we see a direct line east to the area of Czechoslovakia (Bohemia (Prague and other urban areas and Moravia (Western Slovakia). How long we were in that area is not clear but by the early 1500s Jews moved further east and are in Krakow which continues the straight line eastward.

Poland and Lithuania became one large county in the 1500s and moved into and occupied the Ukraine. The area of the Ukraine called “Red Russia” and later called Galicia was a vast wasteland because of the Mongol invasion of the 13th century. Poland/Lithuania encourages the occupation of this open land and the result was the beginning of Zabultov in the early 17th century (1600 according to Grandfather’s diary).

The move of Jews from the Krakow area seems a most logical situation.

In any event, the Zaboltov area was not touched by the Ukrainian uprising of 1648. It isn’t mentioned in the diary and the towns in the area were not mentioned in the list of destructive towns in the “Jewish Encyclopedia” of 1903.

So I have presented my opinion from where our Keusch family came from—the Rhine Valley/Regensburg, Bohemia/Moravia, Krakow area, Zaboltow.

My mother’s family must have taken the same route. Although my mother’s father had the name Hager. As an orphan he was taken into the Rabbi’s house and took his name, the basic family name was Ressler. My Uncle Zeida (Abraham) told me a number of times that I was the seventh generation grandchild of the Berditchver Rebbe. How one of our grandmothers got involved with him I don’t know.

Content last updated Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 07:39 PM Mountain Daylight Time

Zabolotiv, Ukraine

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Compiled by Ruth and David Keusch
Updated March 2013
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