I am now returning to the story of my Katzenstein family. I’ve spent the better part of the last year researching and writing about my Katzenstein family: first, the family of my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein, who came to the US from Jesberg in 1857; then the family of Gerson’s half-sister Hannchen who married Marum Mansbach; their children came to the US around the same time; and then the family of Gerson’s full sister Rahel Katzenstein, who married Jacob Katz and whose children also for the most part came to the US and settled primarily in Oklahoma.
I needed a short break to recover from the overwhelming sadness I felt as I discovered how many members of the family had died or suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Now I am ready to tell the story of the remaining sibling of my great-great-grandfather Gerson Katzenstein, his half-brother Jakob. Unfortunately much of the story of Jakob’s family also is devastatingly sad. But I need to tell it because these people need to be remembered and their memories need to be honored.
According to Barbara Greve’s research, Jakob was born on August 20, 1802, in Jesberg to Scholum ha Kohen Katzenstein and Gelle Katz (or Katten. He married Sarchen Lion on February 24, 1829; Sarchen was born on March 5, 1805, in Mardorf, Germany, to Baruch Loew/Lion and Michel Erhlich.  Jakob was a merchant in Jesberg.
Barbara Greve concluded that Jakob and Sarchen had nine children, all born in Jesberg: Gelle (1829), Michaela (1832), Schalum Abraham (1834), Rebecca (1836), Johanna (1838), Pauline (1841), Baruch (1844), Meier (1849), and Levi (1851).
Jakob died in 1876, and Sarchen four years later in 1880.
It will take quite a while to cover all nine of Jakob and Sarchen’s children. In this and the next several posts, I will focus on their oldest child, Gelle, and her family.
Gelle was born December 3, 1829, in Jesberg, according to the research done by Barbara Greve. She married Moses Ruelf on January 21, 1855. Moses was born October 17, 1828, in Rauischholzhausen, Germany, the son of Juda Ruelf and Rachel Schlesinger.
Although I do not have actual records for these facts, I do have another secondary source for them. David Baron kindly sent me a link to a genealogy report compiled in Germany by a man named Alfred Schneider called Die Juedischen Familien im ehemaligen Kreise Kirchain (2006) [The Jewish Families in the Former Districts of Kirchain], which appears to be well-researched and has a bibliography indicating the archives he visited to obtain his information. I will refer to it hereafter as “the Schneider book,” and all the information about Moses and Gelle appears on p. 345. (You can find a link to the Schneider book here.)
Moses Ruelf and Gelle Katzenstein had ten children, all born in Rauischholzhausen. The first child was stillborn on June 1, 1856; many trees on Ancestry have this child with the name Simon, but the record I found has no name given, nor does the Schneider book (p. 345).
The second child was Esther, born May 26, 1857. Her birth entry is on the same page as the stillborn child, above.
Minna, the third child, was born on February 16, 1859:
Bette was born December 3, 1860:
Gelle then gave birth a fourth daughter, Johanna, on November 21, 1862:
As I wrote in an earlier post, Johanna was the first wife of Hirsch Abraham. Johanna died on August 12, 1890, eleven days after giving birth to her first child, who was apparently renamed Johanna in her memory.
A fifth daughter, Roschen, was born to Gelle and Moses Ruelf on April 25, 1864:
Although I’ve been unable to find a death record for Roschen, the Schneider book (p. 345) reports that Roschen died before her first birthday on March 3, 1865.
A sixth daughter, Rebekka, was born on November 7, 1865:
After having six daughters in a row, Moses and Gelle had a son, Juda, born October 30, 1867:
Then their ninth child was another girl, Pauline, born September 25, 1869:
Finally, Gelle gave birth to her tenth and last child, Gutmann, on November 15, 1871, in Rauischholzhausen:
The Schneider book (p. 345) reports that Gutmann died on July 10, 1873, when he was not quite twenty months old. I did not find any other record of Gutmann’s death.
Thus, of the ten children to whom Gelle Katzenstein Ruelf gave birth, one was stillborn and two appear to have died as young children. Of the other seven, one (Johanna) died in the aftermath of childbirth.
As for the other six—Esther, Minna, Bette, Rebecca, Juda, and Pauline—I have learned more about their lives and their descendants and will report on my research in the posts that follow. First, I will discuss Esther and Bette.
 Although all the family trees I’ve seen refer to Sarchen as Sarchen Lion, it appears that the family name was originally Loew, German for lion. At some point, however, even the German records started using the name “Lion,” not Loew.