Saturday, December 31, 2016

Coming to RootsTech?

RootsTech is coming up quickly, and it's still not too late to register at their promotional price!  If you haven't ever been to RootsTech, you're missing out.  It is the largest genealogy conference in the world, with over 200 sessions--and keynote speakers including LaVar Burton (Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the original Kunta Kinte in Roots, and the Reading Rainbow guy), the Scott Brothers (from HGTV's Property Brothers), Buddy Valastro (Cake Boss) and CeCe Moore (Genetic Genealogy guru).

Monday, December 26, 2016

Slews of Sanshucks

A few months back, I wrote about discovering the Brandmans of Krasnoye and how Rochel Brandman and Aryeh Leib Sanshuck were my great-great-great grandparents.  The same set of documents gave me a significant amount of information about the Sanshucks as well.
Birth of Chaya-Pesia Sanshuck; May 6, 1838; Krasnoye, Russian Empire

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

This Makes Your Research Look Easy!

I've been doing a lot of transcription for JewishGen's Subcarpathian SIG (which I'm now leading).  One town, Sandrovo (now Oleksandrivka, Ukraine), was filled with Fuchs/Fux families, all of whom were related.  But the following marriage record took the cake:

A Fux-filled marriage record

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What happened to Mendel Fuchs?

My great grandmother Esther Rutner Joshowitz had a brother Mendel.  I have his birth record--and then I had nothing else.  I didn't know if he died young (but I had no death record) or moved elsewhere.  I also didn't know what surname he used.
Birth record for Mendel Fuchs/Rutner

Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's O-Fischel--You Should Index!

Have you ever volunteered to help transcribe/index records?  While most of the records you transcribe will be useful to others, sometimes you will be surprised to find your own relatives.

While going through newly-acquired JewishGen Subcarpathian SIG records, I didn't expect to see any Rutners.  The books were coming in from a town where I had no known connection (today's Nyzhnya Apsha, Ukraine; formerly Alsoapsa, Hungary), but I paged through some and indexed others.

There was a woman named Brana Mendelovics who gave birth to at least 7 children between 1907 and 1923.  She wasn't (legally) married, but the father who claimed all 7 children as his own was of interest.

Birth Record of Mozes Rutner

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Using Longest Segment in Endogamous DNA Analysis

When you're from an endogamous population, you tend to share a lot of small segments with others from that population--which causes relationship predictions that are significantly closer than they are in actuality.  For example, someone who's predicted to be a second cousin may actually be your eighth cousin in 12 ways.  So in such populations, the amount of shared DNA is not necessarily indicative of the actual relationship.  So what can be done?

I don't really have over 2100 fourth cousins--let alone that many who have tested at Ancestry

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Kreina Dimant Mazurik--Another Tidbit

Back in 2013, I wrote a short post about my grandfather's sister Kreina.  I wrote the little I knew about her--that she was born about 1916, that she married (to David Mazurik) and had a child (Rivka), and that she was killed in the Holocaust, as were her husband and daughter.

Turns out even the little bit I knew wasn't entirely correct--she was actually born in 1915.

Birth Record of Krejna Diment, 1915

Sunday, November 20, 2016

So Close...And Yet So Far Away

Often people look at a match, and if that match doesn't also match cousins on one side, they conclude that the relationship is on the other side.  That isn't always a correct assumption.

Recently, I checked my uncle's kit (my father's brother) on AncestryDNA and discovered a new potential 3rd cousin match.
My uncle's AncestryDNA match with D

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sonia Diamond's A-File

After "only" 16 months, I received my grandmother's A-File.  Some of the documents were contained in her C-File, but there were lots that I hadn't seen before.  [To learn how to order A- and C-Files, see here.]

Sonia Diamond's Alien Registration form; page 1

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #14--Ukraine Trip Wrapup & Trip Tips

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

This wrapup post will address things people have asked as well as tips for taking such a trip.  If you have other tips, please add them to the comments so that future readers can benefit!


Many people asked me if I felt safe in Ukraine.  I felt entirely safe during the entire trip.  The only time I even saw a mention of the conflict with Russia was in shops and at markets in Lviv.
Ukrainians aren't fans of Putins.  They also sell lots of Putin doormats.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #13--Day 9 (September 9, 2016), Part 2

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

As mentioned in my previous post, my 10th great grandfather (Dovid HaLevi Segal "The Ta'Z) lived in Lviv.  He was buried in the old cemetery--which was entirely razed and covered over by the Nazis and then the Soviets.  It is currently the site of a huge market.
Lviv's Old Jewish Cemetery :(

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Genealogy and Medical History--Happy Cancerversary to Me!

Three years ago today, I was diagnosed with cancer.  And I only found out at that point because of genealogy.  (Details about how that happened are here.)  But in retrospect, I could have identified that something was up in my family by looking at death and other records I'd been amassing for years.  (And it looks like the family knew something was up years ago, even before genetics' tie to cancer was discovered; a 1955 relative's obituary requested that donations be made to the family's cancer fund.)

When you collect those names and dates to populate your family tree, you're also collecting your family's medical history.  Look at causes of deaths on death certificates and mentions of places for donations to be given in obituaries.  Is there a pattern down one line of your family?
Medical Genealogy (no, this isn't my family)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fold3's Holocaust Collection

I'd received an email about Fold3's WWII collection being free to search through November 8, so I went to check it out.  While I did find some things on my family who was in the US during that time period (like my grandfather's draft card which I haven't seen anywhere else!), I was very surprised that some of the surnames that I looked for popped up under a sub-collection which I hadn't seen before--Fold3's Holocaust Collection.  While there was not a lot on my father's side of the family, since most of those relatives were killed before they made it to a concentration camp, there were multiple documents on relatives from my maternal grandmother's Subcarpathia side.  Here are just a few examples of what I've found with some quick searching
Flossenburg Concentration Camp Inmate Entry Register--Zoltan Eisikowicz

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #12--Day 9 (September 9, 2016), Part 1

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

On Friday, we toured around Lviv, which is a beautiful city with a ton of history.
In Lviv

There were fragments of Lviv's Jewish past all over.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Family Stories Aren't Always Right

We all have family stories.  Sometimes they're accurate.  Sometimes there's a grain of truth in them.  And sometimes they're just plain wrong.

My great-great-great-great grandfather was Dovid Rutner.  I heard from two separate lines of the family that he was the first Rutner to go to Kolodne, after being sent there by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Riminov to strengthen the Jewish community of Kolodne.  I was also told that Dovid Rutner was the father of (Avraham) Leib Rutner, who was the grandfather of the "other Shmuel Moshe Rutner" who wasn't my great-great grandfather.  The years seemed a bit off (Menachem Mendel of Riminov died in 1815, when Dovid would have been about 21, but perhaps Dovid was a prodigy who was sent to Kolodne just before his mentor's death), as multiple people had a similar version of this story.  Avraham Leib Rutner's death record didn't help to confirm or deny the story.
Death Record for Leopold Rutner, 1900

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #11--Day 8 (September 8, 2016), Part 2

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

Before leaving the mountains, we made one more stop in Kolodne.  When we had been there two days earlier, we were told of a woman named Nanika, whose husband had been a Jewish man named Avrum who had survived the war.  He eventually converted, changed his name to Ivan, and married Nanika.  Avrum/Ivan had died years earlier, but perhaps Nanika knew something about the Jewish community.
In Kolodne

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #10--Day 8 (September 8, 2016), Part 1

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

Mikhael picked us up again the next morning.  Once we heard we were heading to Dulovo (formerly Dulfalva), he said he had a friend in that town, just had he had in Kryva the previous day.  We drove up into the mountains and picked up Mikhael's friend who directed us to the Jewish cemetery.  There was a man in the cemetery with a chainsaw and axe clearing it; he told us that a man named Israelovitch from Kiev had approached the town mayor about cleaning it up, and this man was hired.
Dulovo's Jewish Cemetery

Saturday, October 15, 2016

RootsTech Free Admission Contest

I'm thrilled to be both a speaker at and an ambassador to RootsTech this year.  If you haven't ever been to RootsTech, you're missing out.  It is the largest genealogy conference in the world, with over 200 sessions, the most enormous exhibit hall I've ever seen at a conference of any type, and tens of thousands of attendees--last year they had over 28,000 people!  I'll be speaking on Thursday (date subject to change), so drop by and say hi!

(You can see what I wrote about when attending RootsTech 2016 here.)

So, how do you get to RootsTech--potentially with free admission?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #9--Day 7 (September 7, 2016), Part 2

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

Next, we headed towards Bilovartsi, home of my Vizel family.  We asked for directions to the Jewish cemetery and after driving down a gravel "road," we thought we were there but didn't see any cemetery.  There was an old lady nearby, and we asked her, and she pointed up.  And that's how I ended up going mountain climbing in Ukraine.
View from the Bilovartsi Cemetery

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #8--Day 7 (September 7, 2016), Part 1

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

We started out early Wednesday morning with Mikhael picking us up in the center of Khust.  He asked where we wanted to go, and I said Kryva (accenting the first syllable).  He was confused.  I repeated it several times and finally brought it up on Google Maps.  His response: "Ah, KryVEH!"  Apparently the accent is on the last syllable, and it makes a difference. My Vizel family lived in Kryva and Bilovartsi right across the river.
On the way to Kryva

Sunday, October 9, 2016

mtDNA Was Onto Something!

A few months back, I wrote about how my mother had one exact mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) match (Michael)--and over 200 matches one mutation away, all of whom were exact mtDNA matches to one another.  Mitochondrial DNA mutates so infrequently that having many mtDNA matches who are actually related hundreds of years ago isn't uncommon.  (And as review, mtDNA is handed down the direct maternal line.)

I hypothesized that Michael and my mother were descended from one woman who relatively recently had a mutation that differentiated her mtDNA from the mtDNA shared by those 200+ people.  Michael took an autosomal test to see how closely we were related.  And his results are in.
From Michael's FamilyFinder Results

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #7--Day 6 (September 6, 2016), Part 2

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

At this point, it was mid-afternoon, so there were still a few hours of light left--so I wanted to head towards Kolodne.  We tried to hire the one cab waiting nearby, but the young driver (after checking for Kolodne's location) wasn't comfortable driving into the mountains--so he called an "old man" who knew the mountains better.  When Mikhael "Misha" showed up, he was a man probably in his 40s!  I guess everything is relative.  Mikhael was game for driving to Kolodne, so we set out.
Welcome to Kolodne!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #6--Day 6 (September 6, 2016), Part 1

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

On the overnight train from Vinnitsa to Mukachevo (formerly Munkacs), I actually slept.  The solution: sleep with noise-cancelling headphones playing a white noise app.  I highly recommend that strategy!
View from the train

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #5--Day 5 (September 5, 2016), Vinnitsa

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

While I spent most of September 5 in the Vinnitsa Archive, we also had time during lunch and after the archive closed to see Vinnitsa.
Downtown Vinnitsa

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #4--Day 5 (September 5, 2016), Vinnitsa Archives

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

On Monday, I decided to see what I could find in Vinnitsa Archives.
Vinnitsa Archives by night

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hola, Mi Familia! Somos...Sephardim??

My family's as Ashkenazi as they come.  I grew up eating potato kugel and chulent.  Spicier Sephardi fare was something exotic I saw at friends' houses and didn't associate with my family.  But I just got a recent hint that perhaps we had a bit of Sephardi in the mix as well.  I received the following email (with permission from the author to share):

I got my Ancestry results uploaded on Gedmatch recently and I just found we share a common ancestor.

I believe we are 4th cousins and we share a 3G-grandparent.
My father & uncle's shared segment with María
About me, my name is María.  I was born in Zaragoza, Spain.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #3--Days 3-4 (September 3-4, 2016)

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

Once Shabbos was over, we headed to the Lviv train station for an overnight train from Lviv to Vinnitsa.

My train ticket

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #2--Day 2 (September 2, 2016)

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here.)

We had spent the night in Shklyn, so we started driving through the town.  We saw two ladies on the side of the road, and one of them brought us to an older lady's home. She didn't recognize the name Fine, but when I said my great-great grandfather was Moshe Dovid Fine or Moshko, she got excited.  She said she remembered "Moshko the Jew" and said he was a very nice man.  She would be taking care of her cow, and he would stop and say hi to her.  She remembers when his family would come to visit him in Shklyn.
View from across the road from my great-great grandfather's house

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ukraine Trip Post #1--Day 1 (September 1, 2016)

(To see everything from my Ukraine trip, see here--I'll be posting regularly.)

I'm just back from a spectacular trip to Ukraine, which was more successful than I could have imagined.  I'll be posting details of what I saw here, so stay tuned!

It took a long flight to get to Vienna from Washington, a layover in Vienna where I had time to walk around the city center, and then another flight to Lviv. Did I mention I can't sleep on planes?
Here I go!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Interconnected Vizel Descendants

A few days ago on the ISOGG Facebook group, someone mentioned a new tool by Brad Lyon that allows you to visualize interrelationships between family members.

Below, I looked at descendants of my 5th great grandfather Avrohom Vizel.  The tool takes a Gedcom and generates a chart showing relationships, with dots representing individuals on the year of their birth, giving a vertical timeline.

Descendants of Avrohom Vizel

Monday, August 29, 2016

Introducing genealogyDOTcoach

I'm happy to be a part of a new service called genealogyDOTcoach which is launching today; here's the press release with more details!

New Genealogy Service Poised to Fill Critical Gap in Genealogy Industry

CEDAR HILLS, Utah - August 29, 2016 - A new family history service launched today that will fill a critical gap in the multi-billion dollar genealogy industry.  genealogyDOTcoach (SM) is a new online service that matches up professional genealogists (called Genealogy Coaches) with people who want to have all the fun of making family history discoveries for themselves but just need a little assistance from someone they can trust.

"With do-it-yourself sites like and it has become so easy for anyone to start climbing their family tree," says co-founder, Janet Hovorka.  "But, sometimes people get a little stuck in the process.  The traditional option at that point has been to purchase a 10 or 20 hour research package from a professional genealogist.  Many people can't afford that kind of help.  Others are reluctant to do so because they want the joy of making those family history discoveries themselves.  genealogyDOTcoach aims to fill that gap."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mapping My DNA--August 2016 Update

I've blogged before about using Kitty Cooper's Chromosome Matcher to figure out which segments of my DNA came from which ancestors.  Now that several more relatives have tested, I've been able to include them in my analysis, filling in some more of the blank areas.  Since the last iteration, some cousins tested without my even knowing/asking, so it was a wonderful surprise seeing them pop up on my list of matches--and integrating them into this analysis.

(Are you reading this and related to me?  Want your DNA to be included in a future blog post?  Contact me!)
Mapping My Chromosomes

So who contributed to breaking out into these particular ancestors?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

My Fifth Great Grandfather. Also My Fifth Great Grandfather. Avraham Vizel: Ancestor Deep Dive

Avraham Vizel was my fifth great grandfather in two different ways.  There is quite a bit written about him in the Yizkor book Sefer Maramaros on the page for his town of Bilovitz (also Kis-Kirva and Mala-Kirva; today Kryva).  Avraham (who was apparently called the very creative "Avrum Bilovitzer") is said to originally be from the province of Galicia, nearby Krakow, where he lived with his widowed mother; he was a descendant of the Taz.  While in Galicia, a prominent man in the village was impressed with him and wanted Avraham to marry his daughter--and promised Mrs. Vizel that she would be given money if this would happen.
Bilvaritz Entry in Sefer Maramaros

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Beth's mtDNA--and a Scandinavian Connection??

Beth is my father's second cousin.  A couple of years ago, we didn't know that she existed--but then I matched her nephew Dave with an autosomal test, and we found that my grandfather's aunt didn't die in the Holocaust like we had thought.  (You can read details of that story here.)  Since Beth is a generation closer than Dave to our mutual ancestors, she was willing to do DNA testing--and they ran both autosomal and mtDNA tests, since her direct female line would bring her to Hinda Diamond, my great-great grandmother.

I expected to see multiple Jewish names in her list of matches.

RootsTech2017, Here I Come!

I've had a talk on basic Jewish genealogy accepted to RootsTech!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Some Rutners Post-Holocaust

A few weeks back, I wrote about my great-grandmother's first cousin Ezra Rutner and his children and grandchildren--most of whom were killed in the Holocaust.  But some did survive, and I found reference to them in some documents newly online and searchable via Yad Vashem's database for the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission (under "Lists of Persecuted Persons").
David Rutner Post-WWII

Thursday, August 11, 2016

IAJGS2016, Day 5

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

I started off super-early with a bloggers' breakfast.

Then, off to the Chernigov Guberniya BOF, which is the area which includes Nezhin.  The group is going to start a project to transcribe the Chernigov Guberniya records that have been filmed by FamilySearch.

And then I went to hear Vivian Kahn talk about "Hungarian for Family Researchers."
Vivian Kahn teaching basic Hungarian

IAJGS2016, Day 4

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

First up was Alex Denisenko.  He began by discussing the political geography of the Carpathian area.  Carpathia is literally the geographic center of Europe.  Carpathia rivers separate which rivers run to the Baltic and which to the Black Sea (continental divide).  So it was a center of shipment.  Jews involved in trade migrated there.
Alex Denisenko

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

IAJGS2016, Day 3

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

Ukraine SIG meeting.  Janette Silverman talked about the massive amounts of documents that Ukraine SIG has recently procured from the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP).  She talked about the wonderful response of her request for donations to help fund acquiring these documents.
Janette Silverman Updating about Ukraine SIG

IAJGS2016, Day 2

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

I started the day bright and early at 7:30 (after being awake since 4AM).  I'm a member of IAJGS's Membership Development Committee, which had invited conference attendees who do not have a local Jewish Genealogy Society (JGS) to come talk about the possibility of creating one local to each.  A similar meeting at the Boston conference in 2013 led to creation of JGS Maryland, so hopefully there will be some new societies forming from there!

Then off to my first talk of the day--listen to Schelly Talalay Dardashti talk about "The 'Other' Side of Jewish Genealogy: Sephardic Research."
Schelly Talalay Dardashti Presenting

Monday, August 8, 2016

IAJGS2016, Day 1

I'll be blogging all week--you'll be able to see all my posts on IAJGS2016 here.

My IAJGS conference started on an exhausted note, as I had a 5:30AM flight from Baltimore--and I couldn't fall asleep the night before.  I did manage to get on an earlier flight for the Houston-Seattle leg, but boy was I tired (still am).
Are We There Yet?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Chaim Mordechai Rutner (And his Rutner and Adler sons)

(Note: I'm speaking next Wednesday--August 10--at the IAJGS Conference in Seattle at 4:30PM.  Come listen and say hi!)

There were two Chaim Mordechai Rutners in Kolodne.  One was the brother of my great-great grandfather Shmuel Moshe (there were also two Shmuel Moshe Rutners in Kolodne--and the other Shmuel Moshe was a brother to the other Chaim Mordechai).  The Chaim Mordechai I'm discussing here was born to my great-great-great grandfather Mendel and his wife Ita Farkas around 1857 and died on May 20, 1920 in Dulfalva (now Dulovo, Subcarpathian Ukraine); he was the brother of my great-great grandfather.
Death of Chajem Rutner, 1920

Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Grandfather's WWII Veteran's Compensation

My grandfather, Lou Tolchin, served in the US Army during WWII.  After the war, Pennsylvania gave compensation to veterans--and my grandfather filed for this compensation.  All of these applications are up on Ancestry, so if you have Pennsylvania family, check it out!
Louis Tolchin WWII Compensation Application, 1950 (page 1)

Monday, July 25, 2016

mtDNA Tentative Success

I've had several relatives take mtDNA tests to look at their mitrochondrial DNA, DNA which comes from their direct maternal lines.  Some have hundreds of exact matches--which isn't surprising since mtDNA mutates very infrequently--so they haven't been of significant genealogical use (yet).  But I looked at my mother's mtDNA results and saw something interesting.
My mother's mtDNA matches

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ezra's Children's Journeys

Ezra Rutner was a first cousin to my great grandmother, Esther Rutner Joshowitz.  He was born to Chaim Mordechai & Pessel Adler on June 15, 1878 in Dulfalva, Austria-Hungary (today Subcarpathian Ukraine.
Birth of "Ezre Rutner;" Dulfalva; 1878

Along with his wife Gittel Joszipovics, Ezra had at least 5 children, all born in Dulfalva:
  1. Mendel (born 1900)
  2. Shmuel (1902-1944)
  3. David (1905-1993)
  4. Baruch (1907-1907)
  5. Ruchlya/Roszi (1909-1944)
Ezra died in Dulfalva in 1911, aged only 32 of pneumonia--his profession was that as a farmhand/day laborer.
Death record for "Ezer Rutner," 1911

I have no mention of Mendel after his birth, and Baruch died as an infant.  But what happened to Ezra's other three children?  Unfortunately I didn't discover much of a happy ending.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Golda & Feige

Uncle Izzy Joshowitz, my grandmother Minnie's brother, had told me that he'd had an uncle Isaac who had two daughters, Golda and Feige that he remembered from his childhood in Kolodne.  And I found records fleshing out a bit more of their lives.
Fani Joszovics Birth Registration; 1902

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cousin Jack: Kidnapped, Stowaway, Serial Naturalization Petitioner

My father and his cousin Berly remember a cousin of my grandfather, Jacob "Jack" Landor, who would come to visit the family in Baltimore.  Jack was a Merchant Marine who would appear suddenly with presents for the kids.  My Aunt Susie says that Jack knew that she and my Uncle Sid collected stamps, so he often sent postcards from exotic places from his travels and made sure to have different stamps on them.

I decided to look into him more--and the documents back up Jack's unique nature.

According to my cousin Berly, Jack was kidnapped by a woman because he was a beautiful child; he had the bright blue Diamond eyes (which I have as well).  She said he was taken to what was then Palestine where he mostly lived in orphanages.  Berly recounted by Jack remembered his sister (probably named Basya) as a child and said how Jack always missed her.

So what do documents say?

The first record I have of Jack is a ship manifest.  But this was a unique one--he was the only individual on the page.  He had been caught as a stowaway!
Jacob Landor Stowaway Ship Manifest; 1930

Sunday, July 10, 2016

FTDNA's New Phasing Tool--Ashkenazi Edition

FamilyTreeDNA has a new tool that attributes genetic matches to your maternal or paternal sides.  Roberta Estes has a comprehensive overview here where she also explains how to link your parents' results to yours to generate this sort of breakdown.  Roberta's example shows her matches nicely broken out between her father's side (700 matches) and her mother's side (487 matches), with only 3 matches inherited from both parents.  She also only has a total of 1604 matches--while I have 7053.  Because of endogamy, Ashkenazic Jews' DNA isn't as straightforward to deal with as the general population.
My FamilyFinder Results

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Why I Blog

I put a significant amount of time and effort into this blog.  I try to post twice a week, although that doesn't always happen.  So why do I have this blog--and why do I continue to post?  There are several reasons.

Show It Can Be Done

I'd heard so many people saying that all of the Jewish records were destroyed in WWII.  By demonstrating the types of documents I have on my family, I hope that others see what may be out there.  I try to show that these documents do (in many cases) exist, and researching Jewish ancestors in Eastern Europe is possible.  Because I'm writing about my own family, most of whom were just simple non-famous people, it (I hope) shows people what is possible
The Tolchinsky Family in an 1882 Russian Empire Census--An Example of the Type of Documents Available