Monday, August 1, 2022

Ashkenazic Shared DNA Survey - August 2022 Update

Thank you to everyone who has contributed data about shared DNA in people with Ashkenazic ancestry!  I have 6455 data points to analyze, and that should help the entire genetic genealogy community  (I'm still collecting data--you can find out more about the project and how to contribute here).


This iteration looks at how shared DNA will differ depending on how much (documented) Ashkenazi DNA each individual has.

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Probable Relatives Becoming Definite Relatives - Keep Track of Those Stray Branches!

I'll often find a family with the surname that I'm researching, in a place nearby where my family lived, but where I don't know for sure how (or even if!) they are actually related to me.  I keep track of these families and often can connect them into my larger trees later; other times I'm able to prove that they're actually not related to the family I've been researching.  I'm always glad later that I've kept track of these stray branches, because the information is often helpful.

Birth of Yerachmiel Diment; Torchin; 1926

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Chernigov Guberniya Jewish Community Records, 1839-1842

(ADDITION:  Please do not contact me asking me to search for your specific ancestral surname.  A link to the records are below, so you can search for as many names as you want.  And yes, I had to add this because of the number of personal requests I've received--there are over 1000 pages here!)

Two days before the Russians invaded Ukraine, I had sent money to Chernihiv Archives to get records that I thought would contain metrical (vital) records for the Nizhyn/Nezhin Jewish community.  Once the invasion happened, I (understandably!) didn't receive the records.  So I was very surprised to get a recent email letting me know that my records were ready to be downloaded.  And I was also surprised to see what was actually in this (huge) file.

A page of family lists

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Full Siblings Different Surnames - Important Austria-Hungarian Surname Impacts

I've mentioned before that many couples in Austria-Hungary never civilly registered their marriages, or only registered them years after the fact.  These couples had religious weddings, and their communities considered them fully married, but the government considered their children to be illegitimate, and therefore they were given their mothers' surnames.  Multiple successive generations of religious-only marriages could have a major impact on surnames used by children--and sometimes full siblings within the same family would use different surnames.  Without accounting for this, you could miss records and full branches of your family.  Here's how this phenomenon manifested itself in one family.

Judesz Stober/Kaufman Birth; 1892

Monday, May 30, 2022

Giving Them Names - Finding Names of Holocaust Victims

My grandmother was able to tell me about her mother's first cousin, Chaim Fine.  Chaim was killed in the Holocaust--as were his wife and their daughters.  But my grandmother couldn't remember the names of Chaim's wife and girls.  And after watching the Shoah Foundation video of one of her other cousins, he also just mentioned "Uncle Chaim and his children."  For more than three decades, Chaim's wife and daughters have been listed on my family tree as "Wife of Chaim Fine" and "Daughter1 of Chaim Fine," etc.  I've been able to identify and memorialize more distant relatives who were killed in the Holocaust, but these Fine cousins' names were just a huge gap.  But now I am able to give them names.

Fajn Family, 1932

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Look for Obscure Sources Too; How I Found a Written Mention of Shlomo Diment

My paternal grandfather was a Holocaust survivor.  From him and his surviving siblings, I knew they had a brother Shlomo who was murdered by the Nazis soon after his bar mitzvah.  Their older sister Kreina was also murdered, along with her husband and their young daughter.  I've found mention of Kreina in written documents--both her birth record and a form filled out by my great grandfather relating to her schooling.  But other than oral history, I've seen no written document with Shlomo's name.  But now I have.

Diment Family, 1932; 286.1.68 - Lists of residents of Czaruków gmina of Jewish nationality

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Yom Hashoah 2022

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) starts this evening.  For the past six years, I have listed the names of the family members I've found who were murdered in the Holocaust.  In 2020, I listed 454 relatives.  In 2021, I listed 515.  And this year I list 642.

Every year, this list grows as I find new branches of my family--and then find that multiple members of those branches were killed between 1941 & 1945.  This year I found 127 more people--and many other relatives whose fates are as yet unclear.

Publishing this yearly list is my one small way to make sure they are all remembered--all 642 of those currently on this list.

Front Row L-R: Yosef Wollich, Mendel Chechman, Devorah Chechman; Back Row L-R: Sara Fine Wollich, Moshe Wollich, Chaike Chechman.  All were murdered in the Holocaust