As of my 2022 research, and DNA analysis of many Blieden cousins, I am assuming that Arye Leib is a brother of Isaac and son of Iudel.

Arye Leib was also known as Leopold. We think he was born around 1797 and died before 1855. He lived in Old Zagare. According to a great-grandson, Joe Bleeden, it seems that Arye Leib was married twice and fathered at least 10 children with each wife. (see letter below dated 1999)

We are only aware of 5 children: Bara (Ber), Dobra (Deborah) Orkin, Yehudah (Julius), Osher, and another daughter who married a Weinberg. As of August, 2022, nothing is known about Osher.

Below is a little bit about the other four of his known children.

The famiy tree of Arye Leib of Old Zagare, Lithuania.

Yehudah (Julius) Bleaden

Yehudah was born around 1846 in Zagare, Lithuania to Arye Leib. We do not know the name of his mother. He was raised in Shavel and lived in Riga. He married Fannie (Faige) Malke Sperling / Stremling in Telz in 1866. Together they had 5 sons and 3 daughters between 1866 and 1889. He emigrated to the United States in 1892. He died on July 14, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 71.

He kept a detailed journal of letters he received and sent from 1866 – 1889, which one of his great-granddaughters had translated into English. If is from this journal that we learn about some of his siblings and his children and what life was like in Lithuania for the Jews. Among other things, he describes how hard life was, and how sad it was when his oldest son set out for the new world. He was a prolific writer, a Hebrew teacher, and was known as a Jewish scholar.

Yehudah (Julius) Bleaden
Yehudah (Julius) Bleaden

His grandson, Jacob, described him in the following way:

Yehuda was a child of the 2nd marriage of my ggf. My ggf is unknown to
me. Rumors have it that my ggf was named Leopold: that he had 11 children by
his 1st wife.

Yehuda and Fayge Malke had 9 children. One died in Europe. The other 8
ended their days in the USA.

. . .

Yehuda was a Hebrew teacher and writer. He wrote in classical Hebrew,
for which he was self taught. He left us a journal of letters he received and
sent plus several articles he wrote under the initials, “YbALB.

The Cover Page of Yehudah's Journal
The Cover Page of Yehudah’s Journal

Below is Yehudah’s immediate family. Note the how the siblings changed the spelling of Blieden. as did Yehudah.

Yehudah Bleaden's family tree

Bara (Ber) Bleeden

In his journal in Epistle 20, Yehudah writes a letter to Mordechai, son of Dober, and signs it “Your Uncle”. This provides proof that Bara (Ber, or Dober) was a son of Arye Leib.

Besides Yehudah’s Journal, a great-grandson of Bara, Joe Bleeden, was very interested in his Blieden family history and wrote many letters to various Bliedens trying to figure out how they were all related. Many of these letters were saved. In them he relates what he knows; that is, his great-grandfather was Bara and his great-grandmother was Shana Fruma. He mentioned that they were both Bleedens, meaing they must have been cousins. He also talks about Aunts and Uncles and how his family got the name Bleeden.

Below are a few snippets from Joe’s letters to various cousins.

Bleeden family letter looking for relatives
from a letter dated in 1960
Bleeden family letter looking for relatives
from a letter dated in 1982
Bleeden family letter looking for relatives
from a letter dated in 1997
Bleeden family letter looking for relatives
from a letter dated in 1999
Bara Bleeden family tree

As Joe Bleeden mentions in his letters, his grandmother was Sarah Ida, daughter of Bara and Shana Fruma. Sarah married Joe Hotz who took his wife’s name of Bleeden and he became known as Rabbi Joe Bleeden. In Muscatine, Iowa, a Rabbi was needed for their newly forming congregation. They recruited Rabbi Joe Bleeden from Lithuania to be their Rabbi. Her served there until his death, April 11, 1916.

1910 Talmud Torah students, Muscatine, Iowa
1910 Talmud Torah students in front of Rabbi Joe Bleeden’s house
Rabbi Joe Bleeden Obituary
Rabbi Joseph Bleeden's gravestone

Rabbi Joe died on April 11, 1916 and is buried in B’Nai Moses Cemetery, Muscatine, Muscatine County , Iowa, USA. He was 59 years old.

The Hebrew inscription on his stone says: Here lies buried the beloved and sweet. They were in their life and in their death they will not be separated. A man from Zion with great qualities, dear father, faithful husband, Prayer Leader, ritual slaughterer Reb Joseph son of Reb Eliezer died 8 Nisan 5676. May his soul be bound up in everlasting life.

Sarah Bleeden's Gravestone

Sarah died April 17, 1923 at age 63. She is buried with her husband in B’Nai Moses Cemetery, Muscatine, Muscatine County , Iowa, USA .

The Hebrew inscription on her side of the stone translates as: Here lies buried an excellent woman, wonderful qualities, upright among women, wonderful heart, compassionate mother Chayah Sarah daughter of Reb Dov Ber died 11 Iyar 5683. May her soul be bound up in everlasting life.

Tsippa Blieden Weinberg

In his Journal, Yeduah, mentions his brother-in-law Zviah Weinberg and that is how we learn of Yeduhah’s sister. Unfortunately he does not mention her name. Yehudah is congratulating his brother-in-law on the upcoming marriage of his son, Shalom. The wedding would have taken place around 1865.

In the Jewish Gen Revision List of 1858, there is a listing of Sholem Vaynberg son of Girsh inZagare.  He was missing. It also shows that he had a brother Eliash, a sister Rochel Matla, and that their mother was Tsippa Rassa. The three of them were expelled. We now have the name of Zviah’s (Girsch) wife who is Yehudah’s sister.

Yehudah's Journal entry to My. Weinberg
Yehudah’s Journal entry to My. Weinberg, his brother-in-law
from the Revision List for Weinberg in Lithuania
from the Revision List for Weinberg in Lithuania

Dobra Blieden Orkin

According to the 1900 US Census, Dobra and Isaac were married about 1858 in Lithuania, and emigrated to the United States in 1890. They settled in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, where Isaac was a picture framer. Their son, Benjamin, was still living with them. (He needs to be added to the family tree above). Not only is Benjamin missing from the tree above, but so are 5 other Orkin children.

1900 Census Record for Orkin Family
Dobra Orkin's Gravestone in Cleveland, Ohio

Deborah died on December 16, 1904, and is buried in Harvard Cemetery, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA

The English translation of the stone is:

Here lies buried A woman honored and modest Mrs. Dobra daughter of Mr. Aryeh/ Leib [abbreviation for] may his memory be for a blessing, died the 6th day of the week, Friday] / 6 Sh’vat 5668 [abbreviation for] by the small count/ she was 60 years of age/ [abbreviation] May her soul be bound in the bond of life.” (Dobra’s mother’s name is not in the inscription. ) Gregorian date is Friday, 9 January 1908 before sunset.

The Orkin Family is reunited - newspaper article dated 1906
from the Plain Dealer Sunday, Mar 11, 1906, Cleveland, OH Page: 8

Thank you to:

  • Patti Allen
  • Laurel Bleadon-Maffei
  • Suzie Dubin
  • Mimi Qunell


  • Information about Yehudah’s Life from his grandson, Jacob
  • Original letters of Joe Bleeden
  • The Journal of Yehudah Bleaden
  • Find-A-Grave for Joseph Bleeden
  • Find-A-Grave for Sarah Bleeden
  • Find-A-Grave for Dobra Orkin
  • 1900 Census Record for Orkin Family on