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Rēzekne Families Stories and Pictures


This information was submitted
by Dan Ruby

I wish we knew more about their life in Rezhitsa (if that is an English spelling for the old town name). Mainly we know about their story after they left Rezhitsa in the 1870s and were able to trace them back to their original town through census information. 

My great-great-grandfather was Sholim Ahron TULBOWITZ (1845-1918), son of Peisach (b. 1818), son of Gavriel.  He married  Schifra (later called Sophie), daughter of Meir, in the late 1860s. By the early 1870s, they said goodbye to their families in Rezhitsa and set out for the south of Russia, settling in the town of Novocherkassk near Rostov-on-Don. 

There they ran a tavern and raised a small family. Their first child was Raizl, later Rose, was born in 1873. She was our great-grandmother and the matriarch of that branch of our family. As a child, she had a traumatic experience in a Cossack pogrom. She had three younger brothers, but we know of only one who survived. 

As a young woman, Rose was courted by Abraham BLOKH (1870-1941), originally from Minsk, and they were married about 1890. Abe was eligible to be drafted by the Russian army, and so the young couple planned their emigration to America. Abe was smuggled out of Russia and met up with his wife and mother-in-law in Germany. He adopted a new name, RATNER, at this time. The threesome sailed using that name from Hamburg to Hull, England, and then Liverpool to New York in July 1890.

After a short time on the Lower East Side, they settled upstate in Albany, N.Y., where Abe began in business as a soda bottler. Two years later, Rose's father Solomon and her brother Edward, followed their relatives to Albany, both working there as tailors. Abe and Rose had a large family. Our grandmother Selma RATNER, born in 1898, was the fourth of eight children. They moved several times to larger homes as Abe prospered in the bottling business. 

Solomon passed away in 1918, buried in Beth Abraham Jacob Cemetery in Albany. Sophie lived another decade and was buried beside her husband. Abe died in 1941 and was buried in a Ratner plot at the Albany Hebrew Tailors Organization cemetery, an institution Abe supported during his life. Rose was buried there as well in 1947. 

There are a number of living descendants of the Tulbowitz/Ratner line, including the three children of Stanley RUBY (1924-2004), the son of Selma, and their children, plus lots of cousins. 

As far as knowledge of the Tulbowitz family life in Rezhitsa, we have no direct stories, artifacts or anything likely to be helpful. I have been able to reconstruct a fair bit of family information from several census records. I know that Peisach Tulbowitz (the father of Solomon, who was the one to leave around 1870) was one of four sons of Gavriel. Gavriel had a brother Leiba, who also raised a family in Rezhitsa. 

The families of Gavriel and Leiba Tulbowitz account for the many Tulbowitz (or Tulbowitsch) entries in the two censuses.

I wish I could offer more but that is pretty much what we know. I rely on experts like yourself and Dave Howard to provide information that illustrates what the family's lives might have been like in Rezhitsa before they migrated. 

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