15 January 2017

Tziril Liebross of Radautz and Zaleszczyki: New access to Radauti Jewish vital records

2017 is already shaping up to be a banner year for those of us family historians researching Jewish family members from Radautz (or, in Yiddish, Radowitz), Bukovina, Austrian Empire (now Rădăuţi, Suceava County, Romania). Up until recently, the Bukovina Vital Records database on JewishGen did not capture the years of interest to me. Birth records ended in 1879, marriage records in 1878 and death records in 1887. 

My grandmother and all her siblings were supposedly born in Radautz after the mid-1880s and my great great grandmother, Tziril Liebross, died in Radautz in 1891. While earlier Radautz records had been indexed in the "Bukovina Vital Records Database" on JewishGen, later records (during the time periods when my relatives were in the city) had not been accessible to researchers for indexing. Previously, the records office had only allowed researchers to view their family members' records and no others.

Enter researcher Edgar Hauster. In August, after some negotiation, Edgar announced acquisition of images of Jewish vital records stored in the Civil Records Office in Rădăuţi. He took digital photos and Martina Lelgemann has been transcribing and indexing the records. 

A few weeks ago, Edgar announced the availability of the expanded marriage database. Thanks to technical skill provided by Bruce Reich using Steve Morse's One-Step Search Tool Generator, indexed Radautz "Marriage Records 1870-1929" are now available and searchable online. Indexing of additional vital records is ongoing and the team plans to roll out searchable databases for births and deaths shortly.

Since I was anxious to see the records and appreciative of the ongoing efforts, I offered to contribute. Since Radautz records are well in hand, I am indexing some other Bukovina records: Campulung Moldovenesc deaths and births (some of the death records are already online). I do not know (yet) of any relatives who settled in Campulung, but this is my way of participating in a good project in a meaningful way.

But the best news: I have acquired my great great grandmother Tziril's (or Zirl's) death register record! 

It's always exciting for me to see what the actual register books look like. The image, above, is the two page spread with my great great grandmother's record, number 115 (third entry from the bottom).

And here is a detail of the entry, acquired courtesy of the Rădăuţi Town Hall/Romanian National Archives.*

Page 112, entry 115.

Page 113, entry 115

While I already know from her gravestone that her father's name was Asher Zelig, I was hoping to learn her maiden name and her mother's name. Unfortunately, no. Tziril's death register record does confirm, however, that the Zirl documented in the record and on her associated gravestone was, indeed, the wife of Mane. Mane was my great grandfather's, Louis', father. The pieces are fitting together.

Perhaps the nicest information is that Mane (and, perhaps, Tziril) was a former resident of Zaleszczyki, Galicia. Family lore only spoke of Radautz as the birth place of my grandmother and all her siblings. My research has been indicating that my great grandparents and their children were originally from the Zaleszczyki area (today in Ukraine). Now I have some additional confirmation that Louis Liebross' parents were from Zaleszczyki.

This is terrific, because I already knew that my great grandmother Bertha's (Louis Liebross' wife) Wenkert family was also from Zaleszczyki. While, due to records loss, it is unlikely I will ever find vital records from Zaleszczyki, if I can place both the Wenkert and Liebross families there, I will have a good notion about where my great grandparents met and started their family. When I visited the Lviv Archives in 2013, I did find other people surnamed Wenkert and Liebross in Zaleszczyki and Usciezko (Ustechko) in the 1850s. I cannot yet directly link to those people, but, again, the pieces are starting to look good.

The record shows that Tziril was 81 years old at death. That means she was born about 1810. I think that is earlier than probable. Rivke Liebross Schaffer, Tziril's eldest known child, was, based upon her records, probably born around 1850. After Rivke's birth, Tziril had at least three additional children: Ruchel, Eliezer (Louis) and Simon. United States records for Louis and Simon indicate they were born in the early to mid 1860s. If Tziril had been born in 1810, she would have been over 50 when she had the last two children. Not likely.

Tziril's death record also identifies a house number in Radautz. The house number will allow me to place her home, no. 1102, on a Radautz map. But, that's another post!

I am now anxiously awaiting birth records, which should include most of my great aunts and uncles. A sneak-peek at a list of names dashed my hope that birth records for Tziril's and Mane's two eldest Liebross children, my grandmother, Tillie, and my great aunt, Rose, will be among the mix. Perhaps they were actually born in Zaleszczyki (I may never be able to confirm that with birth records). But, it does look like I will find birth records for Tillie's and Rose's siblings - my great uncles Max, Sidney, Jerry and Irving and my great aunt Celia. Stay tuned! 

*Citation for this record:
Zirl Liebross, death record entry 115 (19 October 1891), Radautz Deaths, vol. III, 1887-1902, pp. 112-113; Rădăuți Civil Records Office, Rădăuți, Suceava County, Romania. 


  1. Very exciting - enjoyed your post! I am too looking forward to the database coming online! Edgar, Bruce, you and others are doing great work! Can't wait to continue researching.

  2. My great grandparents (Moritz of Choritz Klein) and Hany Heisler
    were married (I think) in Radiutz. altho I found a Fani Heisler
    died in Nagkabzsa 1883. (My grandmother (Rosa Klein was born in
    1864 so that would make sense.With the name Klein I find little to rely on Any help would be greatly appreciated. Marriage, birth or death records.

    1. Hope you find her records indexed in this current crop of Radautz records!


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