Sunday, June 18, 2017

Uncle Leibish's Grandson--With DNA Proof

I've been trying to find my grandfather's Uncle Leibish for a while (see here, here, here, and here).  About 6 weeks ago, I wrote about how I found his grandson.  Well, not only have I met his grandson, but I have genetic proof of our relationship (which also allows me to identify more Diamond-specific DNA).
Me with Uncle Leibish's Grandson

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Off to America!

A few years back, I emailed the few addresses I could find for the small village of Losinovka, just outside of what is now Nezhin, Ukraine.  My Tolchinsky family lived there, and I was hoping to find a contact who could help me with some ultra-local records.  I've since been in touch with a Ukrainian Orthodox priest who has an interest in history.  He was able to tell me that there was no Jewish cemetery in the village, but since the Jewish community wasn't much more than my Tolchinsky family, that didn't surprise me--they'd likely have been buried in Nezhin.  He also has been gracious enough to send me documents about my family when he comes across them in the local records.  The latest was incredible.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Upcoming Talk on Ukraine Trip--Kensington, Maryland

I'll be speaking about my trip to Ukraine this Thursday (June 15, 2017) in Kensington, Maryland.  If you're in the Maryland/DC area, please come!  It's free and open to the public.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Glimpse Into Post-WWI Turmoil

I mentioned in a previous post about how my father's first cousins recalled that we are somehow related to Simon Mitchneck.  In researching Simon and his family, I found many documents, including an application for a US passport submitted by Simon in 1920.  Enclosed in that application was the translation of a letter from his sister Dora.  This letter gives great insight into the hardships that people had at the close of World War I.  This letter was written from what is now Torczyn, Volhynia, Ukraine but which was (at the time the letter was written) part of the newly-formed Wolyn, Poland.
1919 Letter from Dora Mitchneck, Page 1


[Translation of letter received from Poland]

December 6, 1919

My Dear Brothers David, Samuel, Harry, Simon Mitchneck.
May you all fare well.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

150 Years of Rutners in Kolodne

There were a lot of Rutners in the town of Kolodne in what is now Subcarpathian Ukraine (formerly Austria-Hungary and Czechoslovakia).  And it seems that they were there for quite a long time.
1795 Tolerance Tax Census

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Galperin, Halper, Altu--Who Are You?

When my grandfather's Uncle Leibish came to America in 1905, his destination was the home of a man named "Schloime Galperin" at what looked like 30 Kilbern Street in Brooklyn.  I couldn't find a Kilbern Street, and I couldn't find Schloime anywhere, including in the 1905 New York State Census when searching for different variations of Galperin, Halperin and Alperin.  But since Schloime was listed as a friend of Leibish's travel companion rather than a relative (and then Leibish's line just got ditto marks), I didn't spent that much time and effort into a search.
Leib Blaustein and Leib Dimend Ship Manifest, joining Schloime Galperin, 1905


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Lazarus Issues

[Note: As of May 25, 2017, GedMatch has a beta fix to Lazarus which will hopefully be pushed out shortly.]

Lazarus is one of the Tier 1 utilities offered by GedMatch.  It allows you to recreate at least some of an ancestor's genome, based on living relatives who have tested.  It takes two sets of kits--one set consists of descendants of the ancestor whose DNA you're trying to recreate (Group 1); the second set consists of non-descendant relatives of that individual (Group 2).

The utility basically looks at all of the DNA of those Group 1 descendants--some of which is that of the ancestor of interest but some of which is also those of other ancestors--and what segments those descendants have in common with known cousins, nieces, nephews, etc. from Group 2.  Those common segments should all come from the ancestor whose genome is being recreated.  (There is always the possibility, especially in endogamous populations, that you're including segments that are not inherited from that ancestor, but you can also include segments only over a certain size to try to account for that--but that's not the issue being raised in this post.)

I've created Lazarus kits of several of my ancestors.  But recently I've noticed that GedMatch no longer does comparisons of Lazarus kits to others correctly.  As an example, I recreated the genome of my great grandfather, Avraham Tzvi Diamond.  I've included five of his direct descendants (Group 1) and three relatives who are not descendants (Group 2)--a great niece, a great-great nephew, and a great-great niece.
Chart showing relationships.  Group 1 individuals are blue, Group 2 are green, and the kit being Lazarused is purple