Why were Mordekhl’s sons like the story of the “Three Little Pigs”?

Our earliest known ancestor so far is Mordekhl.  He was from Old Zagare, Lithuania in a section called Siauliai, Kaunas. ( On JewishGen.com in the All Lithuania Revision List Database – Part 2 it is listed as Town:  Old Zagare, Uyezd: Siauliai, Gubernia:  Kaunas). Mordekhl, about 1805 – 1853, had 4 sons:  Rev (Chanoch) Zundel, Ber, Leib (Leyba)  and Hirsch (Gersh)
  • Rev Zundels branch mostly settled in the Louisville, KY area, although some settle in South Africa.  This is a well-documented branch on the genealogy websites.  Over the years, I have been in contact with at least 8 different people from this branch.
  • Hirsch * (Tsvi Hirsch) married Dora Dvora  and applied for a passport to leave Latvia in 1900 (see Riga Passport and Travel Documents Registration List 1900) . He eventually settled in the United States.
  • Leib *  married Leah and had 2 documented daughters:
    • Sheina Son who settled in Durban, South Africa where her family was raised.
    • Sorah Gita marrried her first cousin Iudel /Judel Blieden, son of Ber. After she died in Lithuania., her husband and children all went to South Africa.
  • Ber is where our branch is descended from.
Ber, Mordekhl’s son,  was married to Shana Fruma Bleeden (possibly a cousin)  in Zagare and they had  at least 3 sons and 1 daughter:
  • Mordechai  (Marcus) – born around 1844, married Asne Liknaitzky.
    • emigrated to Israel and is buried there. He died August 27, 1926.  For more information about Mordechai’s family, check out the Aron’s Sibling’s page.
  • Judel Reuven – married Sorah Gita Bleeden (his first cousin who was Leib’s daughter).  Judel took his family and moved to South Africa. For more information about Judel Reuven’s family, check out the Aron’s Sibling’s page.
  • Sarah Ida (or Ida Sarah) – she married Rev Joe Hotz who took her name of Blieden as his surname.  (Joe was the son of Eliezer Hotz.  One theory is that Eliezer was originally a Blieden and took on his wife’s name of Hotz.)  Rabbi Joe Bleeden, was the first Rabbi in Muscatine, Iowa.  Read his story .  For more information about Sarah and Joe’s family, check out the Aron’s Sibling’s page.
  • Shaya Elia – nothing is know of him after age 20.
  • Aron – our great-grandfather.  For details about Aron and his family, click here.
Just like in the children’s fairly tale, “The Three Little Pigs”, Ber’s  documented sons set off in 3 different directions to find their fortune and a better life: one left for  Israel, one  settled in South Africa, and one came to the United States.  His daughter’s descendants also ended up in the United States.
In May of 1846 on the Tax and Voter lists for Bliden in Zagare, Siauliani, Kaunas, we learn that
  • Ber, son of Mordkhel, was well-to-do and had to pay a Candle Tax
  • Aron, son of Ber, was middle class and also had to pay a Candle Tax.
What is a Candle Tax?  A candle tax was a tax on Shabbat candles and the money went towards Jewish education. For an explanation of other taxes that people had to pay during that time period, check out the LitvakSig explanation of Tax Lists. As Mordekhl’s family spread out and grew, we find many spellings of their last name Bliden.  There is Blieden, Bleiden, Bleedon, Bleadon,  Blyden, and more.
  • In August of 2019, I discovered I had the “wrong” Leib listed on my tree.  It stands corrected above.  The confusion stemmed fro m the fact that Ber had a daughter who married a cousin and the cousin appears to be possibly be the son of a different Leib. The theory is that all of the Leib Bliedens’ were cousins.
  • In early 2019, I discovered a family tree with Tsvi Hirsch on Ancestry.com. I had some nice email exchanges with his great-grandson.
  • Credit for much of the Blieden information goes to Ben Lipkowitz and to Schamroth Rapeport N. The Rapeport Meyer family sojourn in South Africa. 2014
Outstanding Research Questions:
  • What did Mordkhel do?
  • Where was he born?