Frontspiece of first book, published in Lwow (Lemberg) in 1880.
Last three lines of frontspiece
... and I have woven and composed [this book] from written works and from the works of my colleagues and my teachers.  I the young and lowly Yehudah Gershon of Rozdol, currently ab"d of Lysiec (near Stanislawow), a descendant of ... the Hacham Zvi ztlh"h.
He calls himself "from Rozdol" even though he is now Rabbi of Lysiec.  There is great emphasis throughout on his ancestor the Hacham Zvi Ashkenazy.
I would like to thank my wife's honorable uncle  ... M"H Yeroham Steg (nero yair) son of my grandfather-in-law the tzaddik abd"k Skole, and his wife Rachel and their son-in-law ... M"H Mordecai (nero yair) of Wertszkia who assisted me in funding the costs of printing ...
Something on his wife's mother's brother, who helped finance publication of the book.  We also know that Yeroham Steg's daughter Lea married Perla Tanne's son Bendit, so these families are quite intertwined.  Yeroham and Rachel Steg were "the Hungarian branch" of the Steg family.
Introduction - second page
... and I pray to G-d that my only son, the child Yitzhak Isaac who was born on the eleventh of Menahem Av in the year 5737 [1877], will be a wise man and will be enlightened with the light of Torah, as will the other sons who will yet be born - G-d willing - ...
We know nothing further of this son nor of any who may have been born subsequently.  We can only speculate on the source of his name.  It is neither grandfather nor any of the three great-grandfathers.
Foreword - second page
Therefore, my brothers and friends, although I am young and have not yet reeached the age of understanding, which as we know is forty years, for at this time I am thirty-six years old...
This is "evidence" that he was born in 1844, since he was thirty-six years in 1880.  However this overlooks later evidence (see below), including the fact that the book was completed two years before it was published.
Foreword - fourth page
And I called this composition "Mahaneh Yehudah" because it is my first work and my first name is Yehudah.  And also - and this is the main point - to indicate in my work the name of my mother ... Mrs. Jutte Chana, may she rest in peace, who died in 5628 [1868] on the ninth day of Iyyar ...
His mother's name and yahrzeit.
Foreword - fourth page, second column
... and she [his mother] was the daughter of the great and good.  Her father, my grandfather, was the great rabbi ... M"H David Zeev zt"l of Lwow, grandson of the rabbi M"H Moshe Harif z"l who was the grandson of the great writer of responsa the Hacham Zvi z"l (so it is written among the books of his son, my uncle the righteous rabbi M"H Yehudah Gershon zt"l of Rozdol after whom I am named, and so I have heard from the children of this uncle...
Something on his mother's lineage, including specific mention of the uncle after whom he was named.
Foreword - fourth page, second column
... and her [his mother's] two learned and righteous brothers - one, my uncle the rav ... Moreinu HaRav Yehudah Gershon zt"l who was the brother-in-law of the rav ...M"H Yehudah Zvi zt"l of Stretin, and the second, my uncle the rav ... M"H Meshullam Zisha zt"l from Lwow.
His mother's brothers - including the one he himself was named for.  This passage caused R. Meir Wunder to err and assign the name Meshullam Zisha to Rav JG's brother and father-in-law, Moshe.   In fact, Moshe had a son Meshullam Zisha.
Foreword - fifth page
Insomuch as my wife - she should be well - is the daughter of the daughter of ... M"H Yehudah Zvi (nero yair) my teacher and my grandfather-in-law, abd"k Skole, who is the son of the daughter of the author of Beit HaLevi ...
Identification of his wife's family.
Foreword - sixth page
Today, the first day of Pinehas, 15 Tammuz 5638 [1878].  ...Yehudah Gershon son of the illustrious rav Israel Yoel (nero yair) son of the rav ... M"H Pinehas zt"l of Rozdol
Israel Yoel is still alive at this time.  His father was Pinehas of Rozdol.  Rav JG is also called "from Rozdol" but Israel Yoel is not.  Perhaps he lived elsewhere (Skole??) which is why we don't have a birth record there for Yehudah Gershon.  He does not refer to Pinehas as Pickholz, but then he never seems to refer to himself as Pickholz, either.
Foreword - sixth page, second column
And I complete this by mentioning by honorable brother-in-law, son of my brother and father-in-law (nero yair) ... M"H Yitzhak David Pickholz (nero yair) who currently lives in Drohobycz, son of the daughter of my grandfather-in-law the rav ... ab"d of Skole (nero yair) - being on his father's side a descendant of the Hacham Zvi z"l and on his mother's side a descendant of the Ta"Z
Credit here to his brother-in-law and nephew Yitzhak David Pickholz who probably helped finance the book.  This Yitzhak David is currently in Drohobycz but later appears as shohet of Zurawno.
Conclusion of foreword
And since our sages taught that most sons take after the mother's brothers, I have mentioned the names of my mother's two brothers, even though I am lesser than they.  But in any case, there is hope.  Written and sealed on this day about which it is twice said "it was good," Tuesday of Vaera, the twenty-sixth day of Teveth 5638 [1878], Lysiec.
Confirmation of the date the book was completed - two years before publication.  It also confirms that his mother had two (and only two?) brothers.
Article 9
In the year 5624 [1864] when I was twenty-two years old...
He was born in 1842 - not 1844.  The error is due to the two years between the writing and the publishing
Article 12
On this matter, I was honored (when I was twenty-seven years old) by the respected rabbi ... M"H Yitzhak Isaac Safrin of Komarno ... and this is the letter. 6 Teveth 5629 [1869] ...
Another piece of evidence on the age issue.  If he was twenty-seven in 1869, he was born in 1842.
Article 29
I was asked by my student, my sister's son ... M"H Meir Engel (nero yair) from k"k Komarno ...
He had a sister who married Engel and may have lived in Komarno.  From vital records we have learned that the sister was Feige and her husband Mordecai Engel.  We know of two children, Szeindel Jente (m. Samuel Haber) and Meir (m. Gittel Neudorfer).  The couples' children were born from the late 1870's until the mid-1890's.  We have only the next generation but do not know if there are living descendants and cannot specifically identify Holocaust victims.
Article 37
Regarding the question I was asked by my brother-in-law ... M"H Yeroham Fischel Pickholz (nero yair), grandson of my grandfather-in-law the Rav of Skole...
This Yeroham Fischel lived in Synowodsko.  His descendants include the Haftels, the Philadelphia Rappaports, the Langenauers, the Roths and the Helfgotts.
Hiddushei HaGershuni (1890) Mahaneh Yehudah, Part two (1903)
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