Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Fifth Great Grandfather. Also My Fifth Great Grandfather. Avraham Vizel: Ancestor Deep Dive

Avraham Vizel was my fifth great grandfather in two different ways.  There is quite a bit written about him in the Yizkor book Sefer Maramaros on the page for his town of Bilovitz (also Kis-Kirva and Mala-Kirva; today Kryva).  Avraham (who was apparently called the very creative "Avrum Bilovitzer") is said to originally be from the province of Galicia, nearby Krakow, where he lived with his widowed mother; he was a descendant of the Taz.  While in Galicia, a prominent man in the village was impressed with him and wanted Avraham to marry his daughter--and promised Mrs. Vizel that she would be given money if this would happen.
Bilvaritz Entry in Sefer Maramaros

Avraham did not want to marry this girl, since the girl's father was not a learned man.  Mr. Rich Man didn't take that well, and he went to the authorities and convinced them to draft Avraham into the army.  Avraham fled and ended up in Maramaros.

Once in Bilovartz, Avraham became a farmer who also raised animals.  He lived a very simple life and didn't need material things.  He was a teacher for the Jews in Bilvoritz as well as in surrounding villages.  When people would come to ask him questions, he'd wash up from working with the animals, answer them, and then return to his work.  All of his (Jewish religious) rulings were according to the perspective of his ancestor the Taz.

The Rabbi of Sighet heard about Avraham and came in person to talk with him.  The result of the conversation was the Rabbi of Sighet’s going back to learn specific laws so that he would not have to look them up.

Avraham was also mentioned in the book by Rabbi Rutner which was sent to me 25 years ago (as mentioned here):

Here, Avraham's father was said to be Rabbi Michel, and then there's a bit of confusion.  The book repeats a version of the story about the refused match in Galicia--but it's unclear if it happened to either Michel or Avraham.  Regardless, it says that person (either my 5th or 6th great grandfather) fled to Sapinka (today's Săpînţa, Romania), just 7 kilometers from Bilovartsi, where he was a shochet (ritual slaughterer).  Perhaps Michel did flee to Sapinka, and his son Avraham moved to Bilovartsi.  I need to figure this out.

Avraham had multiple children (I'm descended from both his son Eizik and his daughter Rechel); the earliest birth I have is about 1805, but I'm missing birthdates for the majority of the children (so far).  But this would put Avraham as likely being born 1780 or earlier.

So I know a lot about my double 5th great grandfather--but there's still a lot more to figure out!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).

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