Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ashkenazic Jewish Shared DNA Survey

Ashkenazic Jews and those with Ashkenazic ancestry often share significantly more DNA with one another than would be expected because of endogamy; Ashkenazim all descend from a small group of people whose descendants all married one another--so we're all cousins many times over.  I've looked at how endogamy manifests in my own family (here, for example), but there are many others who have tested pairs of known relatives who could contribute data to our understanding of how having Ashkenazic DNA impacts amounts of shared DNA.

[There will likely be follow-on surveys to gather similar data on Sephardic and other Jewish subgroups.]

I was inspired by Blaine Bettinger's Shared cM Project which looks at distributions of shared DNA between people with specific known relationships.  But Ashkenazim don't always fit into Blaine's bins because of endogamy.  Getting a better understanding of how having Ashkenazic DNA impacts shared DNA should help those who are trying to understand how close an unknown match actually may be.

So I need your help to let me know how much DNA your known relatives who have DNA tested share with one another.  The more sets of known relatives and information we have about the DNA that they share we know, the better we will be able to understand how endogamy impacts how much DNA Ashkenazim share with one another.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Baruch Hersch Rutner's Vacillating Mother

Baruch Hersch Rutner was my great-great grandmother's brother.  Or maybe her half brother.  He doesn't seem to have known which it was himself!
Birth of Burich Hers Rutner, 1871

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Yartzeit of Paul & Sonia Diamond

The day that just ended, the 12th of Tevet, was the yartzeit (anniversary of death) for both of my Diamond grandparents--21 years apart.  My grandparents were both Holocaust survivors who went through incredible hardships, married while living in a Displaced Persons camp, moved to America, and then--in an entirely new country--started a family and a business.
My grandparents, Paul & Sonia Diamond

Monday, December 25, 2017

My 4th Great Grandmother's Maiden Name (aka I'm My Own Grandpa)

My great-great-great-great grandparents were Gershon and Tobe-Rifka Fuchs.  Tobe-Rifka died at some point between 1850 and 1869, and I've not found her death record; records relating to her use both the names Toba-Rifka as well as just Rifka.  I had records relating to several of her children, but none included her maiden name.
1919 Death Record of David Fuchs--mother is simply "Toba Rifka"

Sunday, December 24, 2017

RootsTech is Coming (and so is Purim)

RootsTech is now about 2 months out!  And it's looking to be an exciting year.  Keynote speakers announced so far include Dr Henry Louis Gates, Brandon Stanton (of Humans of New York), and Scott Hamilton.  And then there are the 200+ sessions over four days, the enormous expo hall, and the ability to network with many thousands of genealogists from around the world.  So check it out and get registered!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Two Sisters, Different Surnames

My grandmother's older brother, my Uncle Izzy, was born in what is now Kolodne, Ukraine.  He had told me about his two first cousins, Golda and Feige.  I wrote earlier about finding their birth records as well as Feige/Fani's marriage record and the birth of her children--but at the time I wrote that post, I hadn't yet found anything about Golda.  Well, it turns out that I already had records of some of Golda's children's births--but I didn't realize that at the time.
Birth Record of Aranka/Golda Joszovics

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why, Oh Y?

When you're Ashkenazi Jewish, yDNA tests are often not as useful as they are for Western Europeans--or even Sephardic Jews.  yDNA is passed father to son, so it tracks with surnames; therefore a Williams or a McDonald male takes a yDNA test would expect many matches with surnames of Williams or McDonald.  But most Ashkenazic Jews haven't had surnames for longer than 200 years (some even less), so generally a yDNA test on an Ashkenazic male yields a match list of multiple completely unrelated surnames.

I've tested males in several of my surname lines, and no one had any matches with their own or similar surnames (other than known relatives).  But then a few months back, another Diamond popped up on my father's yDNA kit.
The first match is Uncle Leibish's grandson (my father's second cousin).  The second is this new match