Copyright © 2007-2014 Jon Seligman. All Rights Reserved.
Family trees, by their very nature, contain vital data. Where this information concerns the deceased there should be no reason to obstruct public access, but data relating to the living can be abused and misused. For this reason the tree has been divided into a number of sections. The basic information, that is names and dates of birth and death, is displayed in the open part of the site. However, more detailed information can only be accessed with a password. This can be obtained, at my discretion, by emailing me.
The Gillis Family Tree
The Gillis Family Tree
Origins in Kretinga
Solomon Gillis is the earliest recorded member of the family. He was probably born around 1790 CE in the small town of Kretinga. While we unfortunately have no record of his wife, we do know that he had at least four sons, born between 1810 to 1830, and probably a number of daughters.
Menachem, Meir, Bezalel and Moshe Gillis were lived all their lives in Kretinga, but most of their children emigrated to England, Scotland, South Africa, Australia and the USA.
Menachem Gillis was probably the eldest son of Solomon Gillis. Meir was born in Kretinga and had four chidren, Hillel, Nechama, Solomon, Yechezkel Charles and Avrom, from the first marriage and three, Beila Mora, Eliezer and Menachem Emanuel Jr. from his second.
We know least about this part of the family. Some stayed in Kretinga where they perished at the hands of the Nazis in 1941. Like other members of the extended clan, descendents of Menachem made their way to Sunderland and to Glasgow. Also from this branch is Dina Gillis, the only member of the family I have traced who came to mandatory Palestine prior to Israeli independence, where she settled on a Kibbutz.
The descendents of this branch of the Gillis family are today in Israel, England and Scotland.
Why is Some of the Information Wrong and How Can it Be Corrected?
The raw data for the Gillis family tree has been collated from many sources and not all is fully verifiable. Inevitably, the further I retreat from my immediate family, the ability to discover accurate facts and figures becomes more complex. So first of all I apologise if I spelt your name wrong or made you ten years older than you really are, but the next move is up to you. Unfortunately the site is not dynamic and you will not be able to correct information online. So please DO contact me and I will correct all errors forthwith.
The following Gillises and related family have generously contributed over the years to the collation of the Gillis Family Tree.
Norman Gillis z"l
Meir (the Disler) Gillis was the second son of Solomon Gillis. Meir was born around 1810 in Kretinga and had two sons, Bernard Barnett (who changed his name to Bernstein after the Amber produced in Kretinga) and Arieh Leib, and two daughters, Rochel and Rosa from his first marriage to.Mary, and Soloman, Mary and Ethel from his second marriage to Leah.
Barnett Bernstein Gillis he was the first Kretinga Jew to settle in Sunderland, more by accident than design. Around 1860, on leave with his family for the first time from the Czarist army after 14 years of duty, he crossed the Prussian border to Memel and embarked on a timber ship bound for Hartlepool in England. Looking for work, he walked to Sunderland, where he settled, working as a carpenter and glazer, the professions he had learnt from his father, 'Meir the Disler'. The news of Barnett's prosperity spread to Kretinga and soon many others would join him.
Most of the descendents of this branch left for Sunderland, and today this branch of the Gillis family still lives primarily in England.
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The third son of Solomon Gillis was probably Bezalel. Bezalel was born around 1820 in Kretinga and had two known sons, Yechezkel Charles Aharon and Solomon Jacob.
While many of his descendents left for Sunderland, Glasgow and elsewhere, many from this branch of the family stayed in Kretinga, where they were murdered by the Nazis and their Lithuanian neighbours between June and August 1941. Today this branch of the Gillis family lives primarily in England, Scotland and Israel, with smaller sections in Canada, Australia and South Africa.
Moshe Gillis was probably the youngest son of Solomon Gillis. Meir was born around 1830 in Kretinga and had four children, Hillel, Nechama, Solomon, Yechezkel Charles and Avrom.
Solomon made his way to South Africa, settling in Oudtshoorn, a 'dorp' in the semi-arid Little Karoo in the Cape. Solomon had voyaged out to take part in the Ostrich boom of 1870. In an isolated part of Africa a Jewish community developed whose livelihood was based on the fortunes of the Ostrich feather!
The descendents of this branch of the Gillis family are the most widespread. Parts joined their cousins in Sunderland, moving on to Glasgow and Dundee, while others journeyed directly to Australia and South Africa. Today family members can be found in Israel, England, Scotland, USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia.
The Gillis Family of Kretinga