Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Upcoming Talks - Boston & Chicago Areas

If you're interested in DNA, I'll be speaking in both Boston (Newton Center) and Chicago (Northbrook) in the next 2 months.

Me speaking in Toronto a few years ago

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Now THAT'S a Large Segment

My parents recently took 23AndMe tests (thanks to them for humoring me yet again).  My mom's came back in record time, while my father's is still processing nearly a week after my mother's finished.  Looking at my mother's matches, there was one that looked really interesting:
My mother's shared DNA with Natalie

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Name-Changing, Town-Moving Zibkis/Zubkis/Zubko/Zubkov/Soupcoffs!

Many people talk about surname changes that happened after their ancestors emigrated to America (not at Ellis Island!).  But most assume that the family name was relatively stable in Europe and that the town from which their ancestors emigrated from was the family town for generations.  While that might be true, sometimes it's not.  As an example, let's look at my 5th great uncle Hirsh Zubkis and some of his descendants.

The first mention I have of Hirsch is in 1811, when he was a 15-year-old living with his father and brothers (no women were mentioned in this revision list) in Uman.
Zibkis Family, 1811, Uman

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

DNA From Which Parent?

Some of the DNA companies will tell you which side a match is from if one or both of your parents have tested with that same platform.  I'd tested with 23AndMe back in 2013, but both of my parents only just tested.  My mother's results came in today, but we're still waiting for my father's.

But since only my mother is in the system at this point, 23AndMe is looking at all of my matches and trying to predict through which parent we are connected.  Well, this might work really well if you're not from an endogamous population, but if you are, it isn't so helpful.
My closest matches on 23AndMe.  Check out the prediction between each relationship--all on the mother's side!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A DNA Connection--Or Rather, Connection_s_!

Back in November 2018, I was going through my 23AndMe results.  Because I'm 100% Jewish, endogamy causes me to have a ton of predicted close matches, so I was concentrated on those with open sharing, so that I could look at the size of our largest shared segment as well as those where known relatives who have tested also shared a large total amount of DNA.  One of the people I messaged was MC.
Message Sent to MC in November 2018

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hungarian Vital Records from MACSE, for English Speakers

MACSE is the Hungarian Society for Family Research.  If you have family who lived in Hungary, it's a great (and growing) resource for finding records on your family.  MACSE has been indexing thousands of Hungarian vital (and other) records which are not indexed anywhere else.  While some limited searching can be done for free, you can join MACSE for $30 a year to get access to everything that they have indexed.  If you have Hungarian ancestry, this is one of the best deals around.  But it takes a bit of experimenting for English speakers to figure out how to best leverage what it has.
Marriage of Pepi Ruttner (my grandmother's second cousin) to Gyula Neuman; August 1945

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Holocaust Deaths - Registered Post-War

Many of those killed in the Holocaust did not have their deaths registered at that time.  However, in many cases, their deaths were officially registered post-war by surviving family members or friends.

Death of Nachman & Perl Feintuch