Langsam-Spira Book Contact Letter
Source found at Dr. Michael M. Cohen website - http://www.totse.com/en/technology/science_technology/ltrwrite.html on 10/07/2001.
Here is a typical inquiry letter that I and several cousins have
used in contacting Langsams. We got addresses mainly from phonebooks.
For some of the people, we already had partial information.
We made a spanish translation for south america which paid off.
We got something like a 35% response rate. An important point in
such a letter is to provide a lot of info so that the recipient
knows that this is not one of "those ripoffs". Also, important
to include a stamped envelope! BTW any Langsams out there - feel
free to write. MMC
Dr. Michael M. Cohen
183 Palo Verde Terrace
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
June 4, 1985
Dear Langsam Cousin,
I am representing a group of cousins who are working on a family history
project and we would like to involve you in the project. After a number
of years of research, we have found that most of the Langsams alive today
are related through a man named Pesach Langsam who lived during the last
half of the 18th century in a village in Galicia. The name of the town was
Yawornik (now in Poland). The Austrian government ruled over the area from
1772 until after World War I. Austria insisted that all people under its
rule have last names and so, during Pesach's adulthood, he was apparently
compelled to adopt a last name. Registration was generally handled on a town
by town basis by officials appointed to handle this process. As most of you
know, Langsam means slowly in German. We suspect that Pesach did not move
quickly enough for an impatient official and was consequently dubbed Langsam.
Although the name of Pesach's wife has been lost, we do know that she was
descended from a long line of distinguished rabbis and scholars through
her mother's family. This is a facinating collection of ancestors that
extends back with certainty to Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, also known as
Rashi, who lived in Troyes, France in the 11th and 12th centuries.
We are now compiling a book for family use that outlines our common ances-
toral lines and would be glad to share a copy with anyone who is interested.
Meanwhile, back to Pesach and his wife. They had many children but some
died young. We know about 5 of his sons. What we are trying to do is place
as many Langsams as possible with one of those sons or identify other lines
of descent. Please examine the following information carefully and then
answer the enclosed questionaire. We have enclosed a stamped envelope in
this letter for your convienence.
Pesach Langsam of Yavornik b about 1740
Niece of Rabbi Elimelech of Lisensk d 1786
| | | | |
Shabti David Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Efraim Shmuel Chaim Lieb
1) Shabti had at least one son: Avraham Abba, who, in turn had at least
one son, Pesach David from Malczow. This man had the last name of
Miller, probably due to restrictive marriage laws imposed by the
Austrian government. When a civil marriage did not occur, the children
had to be known by the mother's name and only the eldest son could
legally marry for quite a number of years. However, there is much
evidence that there were also Langsam descendents from this line.
2) David had a son Pesach, who lived over a hundred years. Pesach married
a cousin from the Spira line and also someone else. His children were
Shimon of Meilitz, Nacha, Sholem of Lancut, Meir of Bircza, and Ita.
We have identified descendents of all these children except Nacha.
3) Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech (Spira) of Dynow was a famous hasidic rebbe who
took the name Spira. All of Tzvi Elimelech's sons continued using that
name. We know a graet deal about this family.
4) For Ephriam Shmuel we have identified only one line. He seems to have
had a son Pesach who married Sarah Miriam Tscherlit. They lived in
Blazowa which is a larger town near Yavornik. My great-great grand-
father Chaim Efriam Shmuel, born about 1830 was their son. He married
Miriam Landesman and they had five children, all but one of whom has
descendents in the US. We believe we know about all the descendents
of Chiam Efraim Shmuel, but there may have been other siblings.
5) Chaim Leib 1783-1830 lived in Blazowa and had 3 children: Menachem
Mendel, Mirel,and Yosef Yehuda. Mirel married Yehishua Fish of Dynow.
The Fish family is well documented. The family of Yosef Yehuda still has
many holes for us. We know of 6 children: Asher Zelig who married Roiza
(many descendents in Israel), Efriam (who went to the US, no further
certain knowledge), Nosson Dov Ber (dtr Hannah has descendents in
Israel, dtr Golda, son Tzvi Hirsh of Vienna, and 2 other sons, one of
whom came to US), Berish (son Zalman), Golda, Tzvi Elimelech of Lancut
(son Aaron came to US, son Yakov and dtr Miriam have descendents in
Menachem Mendel of Bukowsk, 1834-1915 had 13 children and perhaps 2
wives. The children were Avraham of Przemysl, Gittel mar Eleazar Fischel,
Pessia mar Ginsberg, Esther mar Lippe Frank, Jacov Josef of Kanczuga mar
Chaya Sura, Channah Mindel mar Chaim Stern of Bukowsk (children took
Langsam name), Yosef of Bukowsk and Dukla mar Hannah, David mar Beila
Orum, Chaim Leib, Ita mar Josef Roth of Sanok, Hinde mar Areh Leib Fish,
Chaya mar Issac Gottlieb of Pruchnik, and Miriam mar Tuvia Rand of
From the five known sons of Pesach Langsam of Yavornik we know of about 1400
descendents. We also have information on a number of other families which we
suspect are connected to Pesach but we lack confirming evidence. Among these
families are: Mendel Langsam mar Sarah both born about 1853 lived at 82
Columbia in 1900 (many descendents in US known), Meilach Langsam of Kanczuga
mar Golda, Etka Langsam of Pruchnik, Mayer Langsam of Linsk mar Feiga Suss-
fein, Aaron Langsam of Sanok mar Molly, Mayer Langsam of Sienawa, brothers
Yehoshua Chaim and Shoel Shrager Langsam (many descendents in US), Isaac ben
Saul 1857-1924 mar Gittel 1857-1923 had 8 children (many lawyers and doctors
among descendents in NY area), and quite a few more. So, even if we can not
connect your family immediately to Pesach of Yavornik, we may have consider-
Please return the enclosed questionaire and help us put the rest of
the puzzle pieces together!
Michael M. Cohen
Your name: __________________________ Hebrew name: ___________________________
Please draw what you know of your Langsam family tree, including any known
links to the lines discussed in the letter. Don't worry about the artwork!
Please tell us something about yourself: marriage, children, employment,
interests, etc. Use the back or a separate sheet if necessary.
I would be very interested to hear from anyone with knowledge or an interest in the Miller family.
My home address is
1374 East 28th Street
Brooklyn NY 11210-5311
Last updated 10/7/01